Narrative Style and Foreshadowing/ Textual Features Questions for The Book Thief

question

On page 5, when Death says “It’s the leftover humans. The survivors…. I can’t stand to look at,” why do you think he feels this way and how is this quote relevant throughout the story (Zusak, 5)?
answer

The survivors of horrible events have often been through much hardship and pain that will likely never leave them. Death can’t stand to know survivors exist and that he couldn’t relieve them of their pain by doing his job. This quote is relevant because the main character of the story is a survivor of many events, including her borther’s death and the last bombing of Molching.
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When Death says “I am haunted by humans” as a final note in the book, why does he feel this way and what does this feeling drive him to do (Zusak, 550)?
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Death is haunted by humans because he wonders how they can continue life with the sad events that occur. He is surprised how humans can find purpose to keep living through negative events. He is also haunted by the fact he can never be a human; his life is already cut out for him for eternity. Death is driven to narrate a story about Liesel Meminger to explain to readers how he is haunted by humans and the events in their lives he cannot change or control.
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How did Death display dark humor throughout the book and why was the use of dark humor important?
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Death displays dark humor throughout the book, especially in his bold paragraphs. The use of dark humor also tells the reader Death has a dark, yet pondering personality and he is not a mindless collector of souls.
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When Death says “I must agree. What had Papa done?” in response to Hans feeding bread to the Jew, why is it significant he agrees with Liesel’s worry (Zusak, 395)? How is this an example of foreshadowing?
answer

Since Death agrees to Liesel’s worry, readers know events will be caused by Hans’s choice to offer bread to a Jew. Death knows of all the events that occur in the story, and he is foreshadowing there will be negative consequences for Hans’s choice.
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On page 174, Death says men who think they are running at other men are often really running at Death. Why do you think Death says this in context of the story?
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Death says this particular line when he is telling the story of Hans’s involvement in World War I. He includes the line here to explain how the Great War had many casualties and how the men fighting were young and patriotic, but often they did not prevail.
question

At the beginning of each part of the story, Zusak places a list of events that occur in that part. Why do you think Zusak writes in advance what is to happen?
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Zusak writes the list of events to tell the reader what is going to happen because of Death’s opinion on foreshadowing. Death does not agree with keeping parts of the story secret since it’s the events that lead up to it that matter.
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Why do you think Death foreshadowed the bombing of Himmel Street multiple times throughout the story?
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Death foreshadowed the last, devastating bombing of Himmel Street many times because it was the largest event that occured at the end of the story. Death does not believe in keeping large events secret since he must explain how the story led up to that point, so he foretells the bombing many times.
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When Death includes certain definitions of words from Liesel’s Duden Dictionary, how are the words relevant to the context of each situation?
answer

The words are important to the situation because often they describe the way a character is feeling at the time or they explain the tone of the story at the current situation.
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Why do you think Death narrates Liesel’s story specifically instead of the story of someone else?
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Death narrates Liesel’s story specifically because Liesel was a young girl growing up in very difficult times in Nazi Germany. She had many challenges in her life, such as her separation from family, having to hide Max Vandenburg, and losing all her family and friends to a bombing. However, Liesel kept on living and Death is fascinated by this. He believes the story has a good underlying message of not giving up.
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Why does Death narrate a section of the book in part 5 with dice as symbols? What was significant about the seven-sided die?
answer

Death narrates part 5 with dice symbols because that part of the book contained many risky events that had effects later in the story. The event with the seven-sided die was when Germany invaded Russia. This event was bad luck but people knew it could happen. Now, it was even harder to hide Max Vandenburg in the basement without getting caught.

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