In the pages 7-9, I believe white is represents a sense of loss and the sadness of losing her innocent brother. White may also represent the coldness of winter but also the coldness she feels of losing her brother. This is evident in the quote,“It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it has pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice. As you may expect, someone has died.” This quote suggests Germany is in a cold winter where food and resources are limited creating hard times. From this we can take the train was so cold and such a miserable environment due to Werners death, times are so hard, you can no longer travel in a safe environment unless you have money. This suggests the colour white may represent times of struggle, not just dealing with Germanys lack of resources but also losing loved ones, these ideas are both things that people struggle with mainly emotionally but also mentally. In the quote, “ some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a colour…..well I’m here to tell you that it is.” we learn that death is able to see colours differently from a humans perspective, death is capable of feeling the overwhelmingness of Werner’s death, the white snow surrounding death everywhere. However this white environment in page 7 can be viewed as the beginning of Liesels maturation, this moment is where everything in her life falls to pieces, she is in immense struggle and times of hardship. But this moment is the moment that shapes liesel into the person she becomes towards the end of the book, all starting with this white environment. Suggesting white may represent loss and struggle, but it may also portray a blank slate for Liesel an opportunity. 

In the pages 10-12, the quote, “Next is a signature black, to show the poles of my versatility if you like.” from this quote we learn that the definition of black is the opposite of what white represents. White stands for purity, innocence and good, then we can work out that in these pages black represents evil, impurity and scheming. When the quote says “next is a signature black” which may be indicating the nazi sign on the flag is their main symbol which can suggest a revolutionary symbol that leaves its mark on the world through darkness causing pain. 

In the pages 13-15, I believe red represents blood and danger. Red is a huge part of the nazi flag which to me suggests dangerous power and frightened people. “The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs and pepper, streaked across the redness”. Especially in these pages red suggests the scene of Liesel losing her loved ones to the red illuminated sky from the bombs. Red particularly represents the horrific events of bombing and the feeling of uncertainty and being scared. When red appears so does destruction, for example the book burning and the bombing. To me red suggests anger and fierceness. This can be applied to Liesel, because throughout the book we see many occasions of Liesels anger and fierceness with confidence. Liesel may feel anger from the book burnings where there is the colour red evident, also the bombing of her street and losing her family, another place where red is yet again seen. Because red is the main part colour of the nazi regime flag, this may suggest that it hangs like a moving cloud of death over the war.

When death says, “They fall on top of each other. The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.” These three colours can be compared to the nazi flag which involves these three colours. Red is the colour of blood and suggests danger and death, because the nazi flag consists of such a huge amount of red this may suggest to Liesel the feeling of loss and the experience of losing her parents.  White represents the sadness of death and the innocence of the people who died, white lies in the middle of the nazi flag, outlined as a circle, this may indicated a circle of dead innocent people to Liesel, it may suggest Liesel sees her mama and papa and Rudy, all the innocent people she loved who died at Hitlers demands. Finally black represents the terror of the nazi regime, the horrible violent soldiers and Hitlers goosebumps causing speeches that left people frightened. Black may be seen to Liesel as a representation of Hitlers humane ideas and philosophies. Black represents the distinctive nazi sign of the flag which strongly makes it visible from afar, to Liesel this may make her feel angry at the thought of the darkness that Hitler brought upon her life.

“He (Rudy) smeared the charcoal on, nice and thick, till he was covered in black. Even his hair received a once over.” Rudy covers himself in charcoal pretending to be the sprinter champion Jesse Owens, this is hugely questioned by the reader because Rudy shows qualities of Hitlers “ideal” race, blonde hair with blue eyes, these being exactly what Rudy obtain. This is a significant moment that portrays Rudys innocence in the lines “do you have to pay to be jewish”, after his father informs him that he should not want to be this skin colour all be jewish, in the lightest way possible without getting into politics. Rudy hugely symbolises innocence in this moment, it proves his compassion for others despite any reputation, bottom line it show Rudy does not judge one, and this was hugely seen here because although Jesse Owens was African American he had no clue what that meant. The powerfulness of the colour black can be seen here, its strength to influence the best of people at the worse possible times, for example Rudys family being at risk of being labelled to be a minority lover.

“Everything was so desperately noisy in the dark when he was alone. Each time he moved, there was the sound of a crease. He felt like a man in a paper suit.”  From this quote we learn the darkness/ colour black can be powerless to the sounds of the darkness. This can be compared to jewish/ dark skinned individuals who are represented by the darkness, showing the powerless aspect they all obtain. This may be compared to the jewish and dark skinned people that went into hiding from the Nazi regime, the darkness was over ruled by sound, possible sounds of creaks, breath, footsteps, anything the smallest sounds could become the only thing on ones mind in the darkness. 

“And now, we say goodbye, to this rubbish, this poison….The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences. On the other side, beyond the blurry heat….you didn’t see people. Only uniforms and signs.” This quote quotes an important moment in German history, a moment where Germany wanted to rewrite their history cleansing them self of the past by burning books of any risk. The “white paper”, suggests the books were innocent, like an interview with a holocaust surviver when he stated “What danger can a book do”. This is emphasised in this quote because it marks how the books were not the reason for Germanys history and by burning them this would not create an opportunity to rewrite history but only to mark yet another moment in Germanys history. The “orange and red” flames were thought to be superior and strong and by throwing innocent books into the flames this would suggest the nation to becoming exactly what the orange and red flames were, superior and strong. This can be compared to Hitlers “superior race”, where blonde and blue eyed people were superior and people with brown eyes and dark features were seen to be suspiciously jewish, by throwing the books in, from this moment on they would collect up the non superior race of jewish and place them in a camp, so the superior race were left to make Germany “superior and strong” once again, just as Hitler used to say “Make Germany Great Again” 

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  1. Great work thus far, Peta! Clever analysis of this imagery and symbolism 🙂

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