Essay on “Thief” by Markus Zusak

Essay on “Thief” by Markus Zusak

The Idea and Definition of Family

While reading the book “Thief,” one would identify that the key themes reflected in the plot are family and love. Author explores the idea of family, when one is not just being born and being taken care by some people. It is more about love and feelings towards these people, who are responsible for upbringing. The protagonist of the book is Liesel, who reflects the idea that during Nazi Germany, family could be characterized as a broken unit. Being an orphan, the girl was made to live with Hubermanns against her will. However, her brother could not face such changes and her sister being taken to another family. The only girl’s connection to her past is the souvenir “The Grave Digger’s Handbook,” which she had stolen from the day of funeral. The girl did not think of the meaning of the book. She thought that it was something with the higher meaning about her past and her brother.

The life in a new family cannot be called a bed of roses. The girl does not perceive the world like her foster parents do. However, later their relationships are settled since Liesel calls her foster father Papa, irrespective of her relationships with Rosa Hubermann, her foster mother. However, the girl has strong ties with Hans Hubermann, who helps her to forget about the nightmares with her dead brother. Moreover, the foster brother even reads the book stolen from the funeral and plays accordion to calm Liesel down. The boy was not afraid to stay with Liesel for the whole night, though the girl was screaming all the time.

Zusak was able to depict the real love and trust. However, Rosa Hubermann was characterized as a mean and harsh foster mother who used to abuse Liesel with no reason. However, the reader can see the change of her character when Max Vandenberg came to live with the family. He was a Jew who escaped from the Nazi regime. Thus, mother becomes a more sympathetic personality both to Hans and to Liesel. Foster mother even called them with gentle names, which has never been done before.

The book reflects the lesson that irrespective of your origin, one can still be perceived as a family member. Though the family risked life and limb by caring for the Jew boy, Max Vanderburg, he becomes a true family member being taken care of. Zusak strives to show that people can create a real family with everyone, regardless of one’s origin. The gap in communication is seen between the Liesel and Rosa Hibermann, the latter finally realizes girl’s affection to reading books.

The ending of the book shows that relationships between family members are perfect, whereas Liesel cannot imagine her life without foster parents – Hubermanns. The girl perceived their house as her home. However, again her family is ruined due to the bombing in Molching.  The girl is again adopted by another family – the Hermanns. Zusal depicts how German families became stronger, though adopting new family members and ability to resist to the Nazi regime.