The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak is a powerful novel following the life of Liesel Meminger during the harrowing years of Hitler's reign over Germany. The Book Thief portrays many heart wrenching themes, reinforced through strong symbols such as color, Hans' accordion, and books. These ideas are surround mortality, hope, and the power of words, are important to Zusak's novel and to society due to the way they connect with each other to help us understand character's lives and reflect on our own.
The symbolism of color in The Book Thief was evident throughout the entire novel. It is used as a very powerful tool to represent the life and death engulfing Germany in regards to mortality, one of the novels key ideas. Death is used to narrate the novel using colors to describe the skies and souls in the moment he comes to take people spirits away, which is very powerful. Death states "Summer came for the book thief, everything was going nicely. For me the sky was the color of jew". This quote is relevant as death associates moments with color, and in this instance death uses colour to portray an entire race of people which is relevant to modern racism in todays society, and how colour is relative to life and death in historical periods like Nazi Germany. In town bombings the sky has been described as blood red, plane crashes explained to be black but for the death of Jews in Germany that summer, it was so severe that death has no color to associate with it. He can no longer find the color of the souls for his distraction from the conspicuous death and loss engulfing him. This quote is also ironic, as in one half it explains how summer was going nicely for Liesel the German child with her childhood progressing colourfully, when in contrast the colors are symbolic of all the deaths occurring and loss Germany is encountering. This symbolism of color conveys to the reader how severe the situation was in Germany, how many lives were being lost due to race or 'colour' and how hard the narrator Death was having to work.