Symbolism of Books in Markus Zusak's Works

When Liesel steals her first book, she quickly discovers the power comprised within the stories and words, which aids tremendously in her later growth.

By the end of 1939, Liesel Meminger was advancing in her reading and writing skills, notwithstanding her failure in the classroom.

This reveals how Liesel is a determined and passionate individual, and when anything is set in her mind, she goes forth with it. She is a very eager and brave soul, prepared to persevere despite major setbacks.

“On the night of September 19,” an air raid was causing everyone in the Fiedler’s basement to have panic and fear. Liesel opened one of her books and began to read, and shortly afterward everyone had silenced except for Liesel, as she spoke the words of the Whistler.

When Liesel first arrives to live with her foster parents, she has difficulty allowing herself to be vulnerable, yet when she reads to a silent gathering of adults, she is opening herself to the anxiety and fear of others, while learning to express and transform her own panic and distress.

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Liesel also finds a way to easily converse her terror, angst, and fear with others, something she nor anyone else never thought possible.

Her reading in this basement also shows how much Liesel has grown and matured from the very beginning of her stay on Himmel Street. The same illiterate girl who was struggling in the past to pass her English class is now reading to a gathering of families.

When Max lay sleeping on Liesel’s bed, she read The Whistler to him.

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Liesel proves to be a caring, sympathetic, respectful, gentle, and considerate individual. Not only does she surrender her most private area in which she rests at night, but she also spends her time reading alongside the ill Max. Without realizing, Max and Liesel create a growing affection for one another because Liesel believes the capability and potential in which words of compassion and love can help, in which case really do help Max.

When Liesel writes the story of her life, she ends with the powerful line, “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

This line proves to us how Liesel has evolved from a powerless girl to a powerful woman. It shows how after all the suffering that Liesel has experienced, she can finally truly realize how the power of words can be manipulative. Yet Liesel still continues to live her life attempting to write for a good purpose, trying to master the art of writing for a benevolent use.

To conclude, books have greatly affected the advancement of Liesel’s ongoing life.

Books and stories hold vast importance throughout Liesel’s stay on Himmel Street, which suggests that they are one of the most influential ways in which individuals bond with one another.

Out of the many relationships that Liesel has formed throughout her stay in Molching, the most critical is with Max Vandenburg. Their relationship (as well as many others) begins and strengthens over their love of books. As Liesel observes Max sitting with Mein Kampf, she works up the courage to ask him about the book she has always been curious about. Discussing the book has allowed the two individuals to become comfortable with one another, as it allows a trusting bond to form between the two. It also gives the two something to discuss with one another, even though they share an interest in the book for different reasons.

Their relationship with one another deepens even more when Max writes two books for Liesel, The Standover Man and The Word Shaker. These different sketches and storylines allow for Liesel and Max to survive through the difficult years that come alongside war, using their love, friendship, their appreciation for words, and their creativity to power through the suffering and pain that they are surrounded by. By connecting with one another through their shared enthusiasm of various stories, they develop traits within each other that allows them to have more resilience.

The author’s message about relationships is that a strong friendship can truly overcome all. Throughout Liesel’s life, the people she cared for most faced challenging obstacles that they had to manage to overcome because they have developed compassionate relationships with others.

Ultimately, Liesel’s words and books always find a way to connect and deepen her with someone else.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Symbolism of Books in Markus Zusak's Works. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from

Symbolism of Books in Markus Zusak's Works essay
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