The Book Thief Max’s Books
The Book Thief critical essay Tallus Gibson Liesel acquires many books throughout living in Molching with the Hubberman’s but three that stick out are Mein Kampf, The stand over man and The Word Shaker. These three stuck out because they represent so much to her behind the actual words in the books. They are metaphors for Max and how important kind words are for combatting hateful ones. Just like Hitler said he would rule the world with his words, Liesel defends herself and max with the same words.
As Liesel is helping Max to hide from the Nazi’s, Max is in turn helping Liesel realize the importance of words. The stand over man is a book that Max wrote for Liesel using the blank pages of Mein Kampf. These two books use juxtaposition to help shield max from the Nazis as well as connect Max and Liesel in a better way. Mein Kampf is a book written by Hitler, which is a metaphor for the world that they live in; Hitler has made the words in his book come true. The Hubbermans come up with a brilliant plan to use Mein Kampf as a disguise for max when the Germans check their house.
Max hated the book so much that he ripped all of the pages out and wrote his own story on the inside called the stand over man while keeping the important book cover. Mein Kampf means “My struggle” in German and that’s what the stand over man is about, Max’s struggles and fears in his life. Max knows that Liesel loves books so he thought that communicating to her though writing a book would be the most effective way for Liesel to understand him. The Word shaker is another book that Max has left for Liesel, but this time it’s about Liesel and her way of using them.
The word shaker is full of stories and sketches, written and illustrated by Max himself. A word shaker is someone who can use the true power of words to hypnotize or indoctrinate people into believing what you say. Max see’s Liesel as a word shaker because they both knew how powerless a person could be without words. Liesel’s immense compassion for Max is so boundless that it is more powerful than Hitler’s hateful words and cruelty. Liesel and Max’s friendship proves that words of sincere love effectively combat the harsh words of Hitler.
Mein Kampf, the stand over man and the word shaker all play a very important role in Liesels life and are a metaphor for her and Max’s friendship. In the stand over man and the word shaker Max makes the connection to Liesel clear but in an indirect way; meaning there is more to the books behind the actual words. Markus Zusak, the author of the book thief uses juxtaposition in order to show the integrity of the metaphors in these books. Max may not be the smartest individual but with the help of Liesel has learned so much about words and their importance in the world.