Essay on Resistance in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Alphonse Elric from Full Metal Alchemist says, "humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost." In the novel, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak portrays the multiple transactions humanity experiences but in return, they put their self at risk for defying others of higher power through some of those transactions. For example, the older character's transactions with people of lower stature, the young adults' dangerous interactions and the children's exchanges with the enemies all defy the Nazi party. Therefore, through their transactions, the characters of all ages show forms for resistance towards the Nazi regime. 

First of all, the adults' exchanges with people of lower status shows defiance towards the Nazis. Hans Hubermann is an adult citizen who shows resistance through his acts of kindness towards the Jews. When a parade of Jews march down Himmel street, the surrounding crowd begins to torture and ridicule the Jews. Hans Hubermann suddenly gives walks up to one of the fallen Jews and shows an exchange of bread for a sense of peace and thanks in return. The narrator states, 
“the Jew [stands] before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he [watches] with everyone else as Hans Hubermann [holds] his hand out and [presents] a piece of bread, like magic... he [buries] his face between them and thanks him” (Zusak 394). Hans helping the Jew is highly defiant of the Nazi's morals and regulations since Jews are the enemies of the Nazi regime. They are considered the lowest of the low and any form of aid towards them is an offense to the Nazis.
Correspondingly, Ilsa Hermann also demonstrates forms of resistance through her transactions with Liesel. Ilsa sees Liesel steal a book from the bonfire however she doesn't tell anyone and instead allows her to read in Ilsa's personal library. By not telling the authorities about Liesel's crime, she gainsa friend in return. After Liesel steals the book and Ilsa sees her, Liesel goes to her house to pick up laundry but instead, 
“she [comes] and [stands] with an impossibly frail steadfastness, she [is] holding a tower of books against her stomach and her navel to the beginning of her breast. She [looks] so vulnerable in the monstrous doorway... come and see it [says]” (Zusak 133).

Ilsa Herman's serious offense for not reporting Liesel shows high resistance towards the Nazi regime since stealing a book from a book burning is a major crime. Allowing her to read in her library is another crime since she is married to the mayor and she is allowing a child read in their home without his knowing. Therefore, the adults are opposing the Nazis through their interactions with those of a low stature.

Secondly, the dangerous exchanges the young adults make defy the Nazis' regulations. Max's transactions with Liesel shows major resistance towards the Nazi party. He paints over Mein Kampf and writes his own story over it to give to Liesel. This strengthens their bonds and gives a better understanding between them. The narrator states, “during that week, Max [has] cut out a collection of pages from Mein Kampf and paints over them in white”, he also continues, “on the paper that [has] bubbled and humped under the stress of drying paint, [does] he begin to write the story” (Zusak 223). 
Evidently, Max painting over Mein Kampf and writing over it is a huge violation against the Nazi regime since Mein Kampf is the main foundation and view point of the entire party. He shows complete disrespect towards the Nazis beliefs and even replaces it with his own words.
Likewise, the exchanges between Walter Kuger and Max show resistance. They have been friends for many years and as a friend, Walter helps Max escape from the Nazis which further builds their friendship even after so many years. After escaping, “for the next two years, he [remains] in hiding, in an empty storeroom. It [is] a building where Walter [has] worked in previous years” (Zusak 194). Walter helping Max not only escape but hide is a crime punishable death since Max is a Jew. 
Hiding a Jew during these times is against the Nazis' regulations and if caught can result in major consequences however Walter acknowledges these risks and hides Max anyways. For these reasons, it is indisputable that the young adults are showing forms of defiance against the Nazi party through their transactions.

Finally, the interactions between the children and the enemies of the Nazi regime shows defiance. Rudy portrays resistance through his exchange with an enemy pilot. When Rudy and Liesel discover a fallen opposing plane with a pilot, Rudy gives the pilot a teddy bear for a thank you in return just as the pilot dies. Death narrates, “he places the smiling teddy bear cautiously onto the pilot's shoulder. The tip of its ear [touches] his throat. The dying man [breathes] it in. He [speaks]. In English, he [says], 'thank you'” (Zusak 490-491). Rudy displays an act of kindness towards an enemy of their nation and during a war, any form of kindness to the enemy is considered a form of disrespect to their country. 
Additionally, Liesel and Max defy the Nazi regime through their transactions with one another. They are good friends and often tell each other their dreams in order to strengthen their friendship and gain a greater understanding of one another through their transaction of words. In Max's story, The Standover Man, he says, “one night, after my visual nightmare, a shadow [stands] about me. She says, 'tell me what you dream of.' So I [do]. In return, she explains what her own dreams [are] made of” (Zusak 333-334). Liesel exchanging conversations with Max over their dreams defies the Nazis' rules since Max is a Jew and having polite conversations with one is prohibited. Anyone caught having relations any relations to a Jew is a traitor to the Nazi regime. Thus, the kids are opposing the Nazis through their exchanges with the opposition. 

In conclusion, the characters of all ages' transactions defy the Nazi party. Evidently, the 
transactions between the people of lower class and the adults, the young adults' exchanges and the children's transactions with the adversaries portray resistance of the Nazi regime. People can't gain without losing something of their own, whether that be their valuables or their safety. It is up to the people to decide what they are willing to give up in order to achieve.

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