The of this story through Hitler’s use of

The literary
element “Diction” is the key to understanding the theme of this novel. Diction
and theme are key elements in The Book
Thief. Markus Zusak’s story The Book
Thief is a powerful novel about a girl, named Liesel Meminger, whose life
changed just by finding a book in the snow. As Liesel learns to read, with the
help of foster father, she begins a relationship with books and words. She
begins to steal books from wherever there are books to be found. Zusak’s story
reveals the theme that the way the author portrays
words in this story shows how the power of words can affect someone’s survival.
Diction is important because it reveals the theme through Hitler’s use of words.
Diction is significant because it also reveals the theme through Max’s use of
words, and lastly Liesel’s use of words. In Markus Zusak’s the Book Thief
the literary term diction is significant because it helps a reader understand
the theme in different ways.

            The way
Markus Zusak uses “Diction” in the story The
Book Thief helps the
reader to illustrate the theme of this story through Hitler’s use of words. The
word choice of this book reveals that Hitler
is a physically weak man. Hitler was described as “a strange, small man” (445).
It promotes the idea that Hitler is physically weak. He had to use his words to
outsmart and trick people in order to survive. The purpose of this word choice
seems to show that Hitler is being a hypocrite because he is a very small and weak
man. That is often not the feeling created with the antagonist of the story.
This word choice is important because even though Hitler was small his use of
powerful words was big. The word “strange” is being unusual or hard to
understand. When one is “small” that can mean tiny, minor or unimportant, which
is ironic because Hitler thinks that way of the Jews. This word phrase seems to
purposely pit the reader even more against Hitler. Therefore, diction causes
the reader not to like this character. “She was listening contentedly to the
torrent of words spilling from his mouth. His sentences glowed in the light”
(20). This proves that he charmed people with words. Words were the only power
he had. Without Hitler’s manipulation and mindset, he would not have survived. A
reader forms the idea that the purpose for this word choice seems to be that it
creates an emotional understanding of Hitler’s manipulative ways. This word
choice leads a reader to feel sorry for Liesel and everyone else who is
listening. In this word phrase the author describes Liesel to be “listening
contentedly”. When someone “contentedly” listens, they are usually listening
with satisfaction or happiness. The word “torrent” is a sudden or violent
outpour of words or feelings. This choice of words shows the reader just how
cruel and scheming Hitler is. The diction causes the reader to feel sorry for
Liesel and dislike Hitler. Hitler’s use of words was beneficial to his

reveals the theme through Max’s use of words in many ways. When Max was sick, he used Liesel’s
words to keep him awake which helped his survival. “Then I’ll read to you. And
I’ll slap your face if you start dozing off. I’ll close the book and shake you
till you wake up. He sat in bed and absorbed the words” (334). A reader gets
the idea that Liesel is a compassionate person when it comes to someone she
cares about. The purpose for this phrase seems to be that it creates an
emotional liking between the reader and the character Liesel. The word “slap”
is to hit or strike someone violently. This notifies a reader that Liesel would
even be violent to her friend, Max just so he wouldn’t die. The word “absorbed”
is to take in or assimilate. When someone is absorbing something, like information
ideas or explanations, they usually are digesting or taking in whatever they
are receiving. This informs a reader that Liesel’s words made it easier and
more comfortable for Hans, which was beneficial for his survival. Death
explained to us in the novel how someone else’s words helped Max’s survival. “It
was only two words he ever tasted. Mein Kompf. My struggle-the title,
over and over again, as the train prattled on, from one German town to the
next. Mein Kampf of all the
things to save him” (160). Max used someone else’s words to his advantage,
having Hitler’s book allowed him to survive. The reason the author chose this
word choice is because it builds an inner connection between a reader and Max. This
word choice shows how a book about Hitler’s struggles indirectly saved a Jew.
Therefore, this word choice leads a reader to feel sorry, but also happy for
Max. The word “tasted” can mean experience the flavor of or have experience of.
This tells a reader that Max experienced the words of Hitler’s book. Even with
his hate towards Hitler he “tasted” the words and experienced them. Overall,
Hitler’s words saved Max.

The way Markus Zusak uses “Diction” in the story The Book Thief helps the reader to illustrate the
theme of this story through Liesel’s use of words. While everyone was in the
air-raid shelter Liesel was reading a book. “Hans Huberman came closer and
called out, and soon, a quietness started bleeding through the crowded
basement. By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel.” “The youngest kids
were soothed by her voice” (381). The words calmed everyone. It was a life or
death situation, and Liesel’s words helped calm everyone. This lead to
everyone’s survival being comforted. The author chose these word phrases
because it goes to show just how effective words can be in any situation. The
word “bleeding” in this situation can mean the quietness started to go through
and affect everyone. Everyone in the room got quiet to listen to Liesel. This
tells a reader that people were starting to get calm and listen to the words
from Liesel’s mouth. The word “soothed” means to relieve or ease. This informs
a reader that the kids were being relieved of their fear. Liesel’s words
affected her and everyone in the basements survival. Liesel survived an unexpected bombing while reading her
book. Words saved Liesel’s life. “She survived because she was sitting in the
basement reading through the story of her own life” (498). The reason the
author chose this word phrase is because it proves that words helped Liesel
survive. This all shows how words can affect a person’s survival. The word
“survived” means you manage to keep going
in difficult circumstances or you continue to live or exist. This makes a
reader feel happy and proud of Liesel. The
diction in this word phrase reveals the theme that strength of words can affect
someone’s survival. Liesel’s use of words helped her survive.

In Markus Zusak’s novel the
Book Thief uses the literary element “diction” to reveal the theme through
Liesel’s, Hitler’s, and Max’s use of words. I have learned that authors uses
diction to obtain different reactions from the reader. I have also learned how
powerful words really are through reading this book.















Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New
York :Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.