A) To construct and deliver a seminar on a topic, issue, idea conflict (use of language, character etc) that has been presented in a text this year.
*You must present at least two different perspectives or interpretations/viewpoints of this aspect in the text.
Seminar – COLOUR IN THE BOOK THIEF
What I see is not what you see. What I hear is different to what you hear. What I feel will never be what you feel. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak shows us different characters perspectives on colours throughout the novel. The colour relates to them personally but it does not relate to them all in the same way. So, “Some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a colour…well I’m here to tell you that it is.”
Point One: “First up is something white. Of the blinding kind.” When the reader meets Liesel her story starts on a blank slate, it is pure white. Liesel is such a closed book, we know absolutely nothing about her. We learn that the two people she dearly loves leave her, one through death and the other through abandonment. Liesel catches her younger brothers last breath, as she sits on the train he suddenly is no longer looking back at her in his kind and earnest eyes. This young ten year old girl has never felt so alone, Werner is being laid to rest in a foreign place beside a railway: “It felt as though the whole world was dressed in a blanket of snow”, Liesel’s perspective of white is majorly summed up by this hyperbole. Her perspective of white is that it shows pathetic fallacy as the environment covered in white around her represents the sadness and anger that she feels during the scene at the beginning of the book, Werner’s funeral.
“I studied the blinding, white snow sky… I practically inhaled it, but still I wavered, I buckled. I became interested.” the colour white is Death’s distraction to Werners passing as he becomes interested in Liesel and the connection between her, her brother and the white that surrounds them all. Death is the narrator in the novel and his perspective of white and colour in general sense is that each and everyone of us that die are important. Death notices all of the colours that he is exposed to when someone dies, and this represents that persons significance. Werner seemed to die a day where the world was still pure white, Werner was pure white he represents this young innocence before the world turned upside down in Liesels eyes. “Needless to say I holiday in increments. In colours”, it is these moments of a persons passing that death enjoys. These colours are a saviour to him, but they are also a proof that humans are worth living but Death does not know that until Liesel passes away.
Point Two: “You see, people may tell you Nazi Germany was built on anti-semitism, a somewhat over-zealous leader and a nation of hate fed bigots, but it would have all come to nothing had the Germans not loved one particular activity – to burn. The Germans loved to burn things. Shops, synagogues, Reichstags, houses, personal items, slain people and of course, books.” Red is the colour of blood, violence, anger, danger and fire. Red is the prominent colour on the Nazi flag and it was this sign of just pure hate. Much of the novel’s symbolism also comes from books, the two symbols of red and books plays together into a scene in a Nazi campaign, which takes place in the middle of the town. Books are stacked high and set alight to burn to ashes, to burn what the people hate. This historical perspective causes the reader to work harder to understand the text. World War II is an era that holds a lot of back story which is suggested that the reader understands. The historical perspective of the book burnings went further and beyond Liesel’s story, this scene communicates the desire of genocide towards the mass group of Jewish people. The flames of red were the start of this mass destruction. The Germans wanted to drain all the bad blood and they certainly did. The colour red subtly explains the idea of blood being spilled on the streets like a vein bursting. Without people there is no life blood through the towns and cities and during the war this blood was heavily spilled out, the people were killed in many bombs dropping over them. And then the other half of the blood spilled was the genocide, the mass destruction of the Jews in the population of Germany.
The other perspective of the colour red, comes from the light hearted character Rudy. His perspective of red creates a paradox within the novel to remind us of love. Through Rudy’s perspective we see that love is still shared throughout times of hardship. “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you. A boy who loves you.” Liesel was adamant that she shared no love for Rudy like he did with her. Rudy’s perspective of red is so different, it is about the hunger that drove him to do many things, Liesel was one of his ways to fill his hunger. Yet Liesel felt that she had no one to love or that anyone loved her. Hans and Rosa fell in love with her as a little girl and although Rosa sometimes struggled to show it she cared for Liesel. It is when she sees Rosa, Hans and Rudy lying motionless on the rubble she loses her mind because she no longer has them by her side. She loses her mind by the fact that she thought she would have had them forever. Liesel learns that she loved them, she loved Rudy. Just like he loved her.
I believe the authors purpose may actually be to show how different people or in this case characters perceive various symbols in their lives. Most things in our lives have connotations where we see one thing relating well to another but when it comes down to it everyone connotations are actually quite different because again what I see is different to what you see. When Death decides to collect your soul, the living around you should remember you for who you were, the things you accomplished and everything special. Death was proved wrong by Liesel, he suddenly understood that humans were worth living. “I’m in most places at least once, and in 1943 I was just about everywhere”. Death followed Liesel, he follows everyone and eventually he will catch up on you. Whether Death is the colour of white, red, black and so on I have learnt that he will be the one colour that is stuck with you, he will be your colour that gives him a holiday.