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Summer Reading Response Essay

1. “His manner
The quiet air around.

When he turned the light on in the small, callous washroom that night, Liesel observed the strangeness of her foster father’s eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. Like soft silver, melting Liesel, upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot.” The significance of this passage is the description of Hans Hubermann’s eyes as the color represents his worth and personality. It contributes to the characterization of Hans Hubermann. His eyes are described as “made of kindness and silver”. Silver represents riches and valuables and as seen later in the story, Hans Hubermann is someone that is very valuable and close to Liesel’s heart. He also demonstrates a quiet kindness as he agrees to take in Max regardless of the dangers that lie within harboring a Jew in those times.

2. “She remained on the steps, waiting for Papa, watching the stray ash and the corpse of collected books. Everything was sad. Orange and red embers looked like rejected candy, and most of the crowd had vanished. She’d seen Frau Diller leave (very satisfied) and Pfiffikus (white hair, a Nazi uniform, the same dilapidated shoes, and a triumphant whistle). Now there was nothing but cleaning up, and soon, no one would even imagine it had happened.” The colors in this passage, orange, red, and white, signify the destruction and death that was happening all around them at the moment even though the destruction was to a pile of books.

It represents the turmoil in Liesel’s life and more to come. The “corpse of collected books” seems like a sort of foreshadowing as in the end, piles of corpses from Himmel Street. Then how everyone was completely ignorant to the burning of precious books, they are ignorant to the mistreatment of the Jews. The author’s use of similes joined together with heavy diction such as rejected, corpse, sad, and dilapidated leaves behind a mood of morose sadness.

3. “After a few seconds, he manages to scratch his head (the rustle of kindling) and he looked at her. His movements were fragmented, and now that they were open, his eyes were swampy and brown. Thick and heavy.” The author decides to focus on Max’s eyes and uses the adjectives swampy, brown, thick, and heavy. It gives the feeling of a person who has gone through much in his life. Also shown later in the book, brown represents a kind person who is close to the earth.

Max always has Leisel give him the weather report as he cannot leave his hiding place to see outside. He is always kind to Liesel and even writes her a book for her birthday. His swampy, heavy eyes describe him as a person who has gone through sadness and suffering for the sole reason that he is a Jew. 4. “They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-colored clouds, beating like black hearts. And then.

There is death.”

This passage is especially powerful in the way the author creates the mood and tone through the diction and description. The simile that describes the clouds as beating black hearts gives the feeling of death and evil. Black as a color represents death and evil. “There is air like plastic” gives the picture of the air suffocating the people that dwell within it. 5. “As he stood, Max looked first at the girl and then stared directly into the sky who was wide and blue and magnificent. There were heavy beams-planks of sun-falling randomly, wonderfully to the road. Clouds arched their backs to look behind as they started again to move on. “It’s such a beautiful day,” he said, and his voice in many pieces.

A great day to die. A great day to die, like this.” The sky was described as blue and magnificent although the situation juxtaposes with the brightly described day. The author successfully adds in a piece of irony through the contrast of making the day beautiful while Max is think about what a great day it is to die. The cloud described as looking back gives the feeling of something of immense importance that is about to happen. The colors give off the mood of happiness and the imagery going with the sun create an image completely wrong for the situation.


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