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Quotes from Death in The Book Thief

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  • 0:04 Death in 'The Book Thief'
  • 0:24 Who Is Death?
  • 1:24 Death in War
  • 2:29 Death's Dissatisfaction
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

Who is Death in ''The Book Thief'' by Markus Zusak? In this lesson, we'll look more closely at the narrator, Death, through some of his interesting quotes. You'll come to see that Death might not appear as you would imagine!

Death in The Book Thief

If ''death'' were a person, what would he or she be like? Do you picture someone dark and scary? In The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote the character of 'Death' to be approachable, misunderstood, and even a little funny.

In this lesson, we'll learn about the character through some of Death's quotes. Let's see if Death is as terrible as we would imagine.

Who Is Death?

Let's begin by looking at quotes where Death describes himself:

  • ''You are going to die. I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic…I most definitely can be cheerful...''

  • ''It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms...I will carry you gently away.''

  • ''I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.''

Death doesn't go out to kill; he's the side effect of deathly situations.

  • ''I do not carry a sickle or a scythe. I only wear a hooded black robe when it's cold. And I don't have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance.''

It's surprising how Death describes himself, using words like ''cheerful'' and ''gentle.''

  • ''Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.''

Death in War

Let's now turn to quotes dealing with war:

  • ''I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They're running at me.''

Death talks of men on the front line when they run at their enemies.

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