The Book Thief handout

‘The Book Thief’ class work


In order to analyse the key facets of the text, you are to do the following work, in-depth and with quotations, in your book.


  1. Plot
    • Draw a timeline onto which to plot the text’s events.
    • Identify 5 key ‘scenes’ in the novel and discuss their importance (write in paragraphs) and use quotes where necessary


  1. Character
    • Classify 4 characters as major and 3 as minor, and write about each.  You also need to identify how two characters change in the text (discuss with quotations)
    • Discuss the narrator and his personal voice; why has Markus Zusak used Death to present the story and ideas?  How does this help to intensify the message of the story?
    • Discuss how the characters (from above) present the theme of prejudice (use specific referenced examples and quotations)
    • Describe how conflict was used to present the story’s themes


  1. Setting
  • Research Germany under Hitler’s reign.  Look into the politics of the time, the class separation, treatment of the Jewish, the position of women and their roles, and uncover any other important information.
  • Cover some of the similarities and differences between Germany in the 1939 – 1943 and the present day.
  • Discuss the setting of Molching, Germany; write about the way in which the town is ‘separated’ and how the setting is influential in presenting the text’s ideas.
  • List and discuss in-depth the attributes of three locations where prejudice was apparent in the text – use quotations to support your discussion


  1. Theme  

Prejudice and discrimination are the overriding themes presented within the novel, but there are subsets of these themes.  Use the subsets below to find three examples (use quotations and list the page reference) that highlight and add depth to each idea.


Class Prejudice




  • Using the listed themes above, find three examples (use quotations and list the page reference) that highlights each idea
  • Closely analyse one section of the text that shows ONE theme and discuss how it encapsulates and develops this theme (photocopy this)


  1. Symbolism

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colours used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.


Hans’ Accordian


Hitler and his Nazi Party (Mein Kampf, swastika)


  • Using the symbols from the text that are listed above, highlight when and why they’re used (write in sentences and paragraphs)


  1. Markus Zusak and his writing techniques
  • Research Markus Zusak (this background information is important for including in essay analysis)
  • Analyse how the beginning and ending of the text worked together to demonstrate Zusak’s purpose
  • This is a piece of historical fiction.  Discuss the importance of such literature and the effect they have for their readers.
  • Photocopy and annotate one transcript of the novel, explaining the deeper meaning of what’s been said.  Also make notes on the writer’s tone and style.

Posted by bagleyg

Leave a Reply


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: