Today I am going to talk to you about how the colours can be perceived in the book thief. In the text, Colour imagery is used in a symbolic, physical and spiritual way which really shows the deeper meaning of the story. The author Markus Zusak really captured the reader by having the colours as such a key part of the book. He used the different colours to represent so much more than just a colour. He uses black to perceive the idea of diversity. It also perceives the idea of a jew hiding in the dark. He uses white to perceive the idea of being cold. He also uses red to perceive the idea of the Nazi flag. These mean so much more than what you may initially think but deeper you go the more you will understand.
I Believe the author used black colour symbolism to perceive the idea of diversity. Rudy a ten-year-old German boy decided to cover himself in black charcoal and run around the field pretending to be Jesse Owens. Because he grew up in the era of Hitler this was considered to be wrong as Hitler didn’t agree that black people were equals. Unlike then in today’s society, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing to run around a pretend to be Jesse Owens right? But back then it was different and the young boy that he was it didn’t matter to him that Jesse Owens was black but that Jesse Owens was the fastest man alive. He didn’t let his race defined who he was. This all comes down to the era and authority that Hitler had above everyone and what he said trumped all their rights, values and beliefs. From this, I can perceive that the Author is trying to show that because of all the authority that Hitler had over people he was able to push his beliefs and values on his people even though they weren’t necessarily right. He got the idea into people’s head that racism was good and that people like Jesse Owens who was black should not be treated the same and not be condoned for their achievements. But Rudy was different as he was only a young boy he didn’t understand the idea of racism he didn’t look at Jesse Owens and see that he was black and looked away. But he looked at him for achievements and being black didn’t bother him because he didn’t understand that he was considered to be ‘Different’. Which he wasn’t but the society around him had been lead to think this.
The colour black is also used to perceive the idea of a jew hiding in the dark. This is perceived when Max is hiding in the Hubermanns basement from the Nazis so they wouldn’t take him away as he was a Jew. The lines that tell the reader this are “A small black room, in it sits a jew. He is scum. He is starving. He is afraid. Please try not to look away.” These lines tell the reader what it is really like for max hiding in the small black room hiding from the outside world not being able to move no more than around the room and given whatever little food Rosa could give to him as well as feeding her family. The black to me represents the gloomy feel to the room the darkness as they could not turn a light on cause then people will know someone is hiding out in there. The black also makes me think about how he is hiding out and must have this constant feeling that someone find him. The black also perceives the feeling of darkness not knowing what will happen to him or the Huberman’s if they find him. The colour black represents such a gloomy depressing feeling. Being stuck in the basement knowing that you could be taken at any minute must have been torture on his mind. Let alone the room making him feel so cold and miserable and lonely knowing what might happen if they find him.
White colour symbolism is used to perceive the idea of being cold. This is perceived when Rudy jumps into the freezing river to get Liesel’s book that had been chucked in there. ” He stood waist-deep in the icy, Decemberish water.” This quote gives the reader the idea of how cold the water was by referring it to “Decemberish water.” Which shows it is referring to winter water in the northern hemisphere around December which shows how cold it would have been. The colour white to me also represent loyalty. This appears when Rudy is willing to jump into a freezing cold river and risk his health for Liesel’s special book. He didn’t take long for him to jump into the icy cold river to collect Liesel’s book this showed real loyalty toward Liesel. White colour symbolism is also used when Liesel’s brother Wener Meminger passes away on the train and he is buried covered in the snow. This also perceives the idea of being cold because of the aspect of him lying in the cold hard ground covered in snow.
Red colour symbolism is used to perceive the idea of the Nazi flag. The flag appears throughout the book but not always in a physical sense. The flag in a sense carries a burden from all the blood and tear it represents. In the book, there is a chapter about Hitler’s birthday. Where the Huberman’s can’t find the Nazi flag and they begin to panic. There is a line that represented all the power that the flag had over them which was “They’ll come for us, Mama warned her husband. They’ll come and take us away. They. We have to find it!” These lines are so powerful because as authority the red flag represents it was so much more than just flag but also blood, power, and the danger it carries with it. These represent the burden of blood that it holds when it’s in favour of all the thousands of innocent people who died just because Hitler had so much power. Power also represents the idea of red because of all the power the flag holds. The flag is a symbolism of Hitler in the sense of his power that reflects onto the flag. To show that what he believes is right and the blood he has shed is for his people. The colour red in the flag represents a lot more than just a flag by the lives of millions of innocent people who lost their lives, due to power.
This book has taught me that we all perceive the book differently. Because I may take one point of the book and take it one way and you take it another way right? You might not think the black, white or red represent the same thing as I do and that is okay because we are all diverse. We don’t share the same attitudes and values we don’t all take the colour black and think its means diversity or a jew hiding in the dark. You might but not everyone does you might perceive black as death or you might perceive the colour white as Liesel’s brother in his grave covered in snow. No matter what our opinions are in the book thief there is no right or wrong answer. Because it is what you perceive in the book thief not what everyone else should perceive. Thank you for listening and I hope you learnt something from what I perceive from the colours in the book thief.