Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Colors

            In the very beginning of the novel, Death mentions that he tries to see the colors of the sky as a distraction from the anguished survivors left among the dead. Although a dark chocolate sky is his color of preference, Death does “…try to enjoy every color [he] sees – the whole spectrum…. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps [him] relax” (Page 4). In his three encounters throughout Liesel Meminger’s life described in the prologue, Death sees three colors: red during the firebombing that took place on Himmel Street, black from the night sky when Death collected the American pilot who crashed his plane, and white from the falling snow when Liesel’s brother died. In the prologue, Death discusses that these three colors remind him of the Nazi flag: a black swastika surrounded by a red circle on a white background. Death’s avoidance of misery by observing the colors, rather than the devastated survivors, draws the reader’s mind back to the emblem of Nazism, the main cause of misery throughout the entirety of the story. Much like some of the German people who disagreed with Hitler’s anti-Semitist acts, Death tries to look away from such barbaric behavior but can only arrive at this cause: the tyrannical reign of Hitler. Death’s willingness to try to enjoy every color represents Death’s indecision about whether the human race is completely good or evil.
            This quote is significant to the novel because its underlying meaning expresses Death’s views on the human race: that humans are capable of being good and evil. This quote is significant to me because it has shown me a truth about humanity that, depending on the circumstances, humans’ caring qualities have a chance to shine or vanish.
            This quote can be connected through today’s society through an example of a person who wishes to give money to a charitable organization that supports orphans, easily demonstrating the kindheartedness of humans. However, what if the organization were to keep some of this money for their own personal gain and only send a small portion of it towards the sponsored orphanages? This shows that some humans are also capable of being greedy and selfish; therefore representing that there is kindness and evil in human hearts.

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