Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Death?

“At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound I’ll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.”
- Death
If The Book Thief is a story about a young girl in Nazi Germany who steals books, learns to read, and eventually houses and befriends a Jew with her adoptive family, why is it narrated by Death? How does Death’s narration make the story better? What does Death provide that a first person narration or an unknown omnipresent narrator could not? In short, why Death?

To get feedback and assistance with these questions, I plan to ask my coworkers. I work at a library, so I think I will definitely gain a more helpful literary perspective from them.


  1. That is a very good question, and it has a lot of potential to be analyzed. Do the characters in the book ever talk about Death? Is it a recurring theme, or does it never come up? I'm excited to see what you come up with!

    1. Thanks for the other questions. They really made me think.
      They never talk about Death specifically as a character, but the topic definitely comes up (it is Nazi Germany after all).

  2. I think that's a good direction to go in. When I read The Book Thief, I thought that the most intriguing thing about it was the fact that it was narrated by Death. I think that maybe it's set in World War II and because Death can provide a different perspective on war than we usually see.

  3. You know, I guess I don't always think about why the narrator is the narrator, but have always just accepted that they are there. Interesting thought process here...