The Book Theif

  The accordion starts off as a symbol of hope and comfort. When she first arrives on Himmel street, her nightmares are only calmed by Hans playing the accordion.   “Some nights, Papa told her told to go back to bed and wait a minute, he would return with his accordion and play for her... She would grin herself stupid, until swearing arrived in the kitchen...”   This represents symbol because it emphasizes the way Liesel would feel when Hans played the accordion for her. When Liesel begins reading to the people of Himmel Street during the bomb raids, she feels she’s giving them what Hans gives her when he plays the accordion–distraction, comfort and hope.   For Hans, the accordion is a symbol of the man who gave it to him, the man who saved his life. That man is Erik Vandenburg, Max's father. For Max, the accordion symbolizes the hope and possibility that he'll survive the Holocaust. It's the link between him and Hans Hubermann, the man willing to risk his life to help Max. When Hans leaves for the War, he leaves the accordion behind. For Rosa in particular, it becomes a symbol of Hans himself. When Liesel sees her wearing it every night, but never playing a single note, she realizes how much Hans means to her “mother”. When Liesel finds the accordion among the wreckage of Himmel Street after Hans and Rosa died, it is a symbol of loss, but one which carries much of her story and life with her foster mother and father within it.

Death, The Book Thief's narrator, keeps the reader focused throughout the book on theme of mortality--we are going to die. This Death has nothing to do with why people die. He's exists because people die. He has the job of separating souls from their bodies and carrying those souls towards wherever they are meant to be going. Set during World War II and the Holocaust, the readers witness the deaths of many innocent people. Death hints in the beginning that most of the characters we come to love in this book will come...