Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Love

The Book Thief focuses on characters who are learning to love in the face of great hatred. There is also romantic love in the novel. Of course, it's an innocent childlike romance that tragedy cuts...

Literature and Writing

The title suggests that literature and writing will be an important theme of this novel. The Book Thief is framed by various other books, not the least of which is protagonist Liesel's memoir, The...

War

The Book Thief is steeped in war. It's set primarily between 1939 and 1943 in Nazi Germany. Both the Holocaust and World War II are going on at this time. Warfare shapes the characters' lives and i...

Mortality

Death, The Book Thief's narrator, keeps us constantly focused on mortality. To be clear, this Death has nothing to do with why people die. Rather, he's exists because people die. He has the task of...

Identity

Identity is a tricky business in Nazi Germany, especially if you are Jewish. To stay alive, a Jewish person must stay hidden. Being hated and persecuted takes a big toll on a person's identity, esp...

Criminality

The Book Thief might challenge our ideas about crime and criminality. What if the laws of the land require its citizens to commit crimes against humanity? That's what's going on in Nazi Germany dur...

Language and Communication

In many ways, the Holocaust was a war fought with words. It relied on mass communication technology to convey its message of hate and to mobilize a nation in its service. But, The Book Thief focuse...

Suffering

You'll notice suffering from page one of The Book Thief. Cold, hunger, emotional and physical abuse, guilt, the horror of the battlefield – all these play heavily into the suffering of the ch...

Courage

The characters in The Book Thief exhibit great courage in the face of great adversity. It takes courage for the Hubermanns to take in Max Vandenburg, a young Jewish man. It takes extreme courage fo...
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