Narrative arcs and the prototypical “Plot Diagram” are essential for building literary comprehension and appreciation. Plot diagrams allow students to pick out major themes in the text, trace changes to major characters over the course of the narrative, and hone their analytic skills.
The Book Thief is a historical fiction novel written in 2005. The story centers on the life of Liesel Meminger, a young German orphan raised by foster parents during the rise of Hitler and the beginning of World War II. The author chooses Death to be the narrator, as he is able to convey the scope of suffering of the Holocaust as well as describe the emotional story.
Create a plot diagram for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Include the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. To modify, students can create a diagram that includes introduction, beginning, middle, and end.
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger growing up in Nazi Germany during WWII. The book is narrated by Death, who is witness to the suffering, cruelty, courage, and kindness of humanity, of Liesel, Max, and their family and friends.
Hans and Rosa Hubermann foster Lisel due to her mother's poverty, her father being a political prisoner, and the death of her 6-year-old brother. At 9 years old, she adjusts to a new family and friends amidst tremendous loss and during the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Liesel is illiterate but steals a book found by her brother's grave. Her new Papa teaches her to read and her love of words grows. She and Rudy steal more books. The beauty of words is shown alongside their terrible power, illustrated by deadly propaganda. The Hubermanns do not dare speak openly against the Nazis out of fear, but they hate them and hide Max, a Jewish man.
Max and Liesel become very close while he is in hiding for years. They share their traumas, hopes, and love of words and storytelling. Through a tragic circumstance, Max has to flee the basement. The family doesn't know where he is until Liesel sees Max being marched to a concentration camp.
Missing her dear friend, Liesel begins to write her own story in the basement. It is an act that saves her life when her neighborhood is bombed and all she loves are lost. Liesel is cared for by the kindly Mayor's wife before being miraculously reunited with Max after the war.
Death finishes the story by describing how, after a long life with a husband (Max?), children, and grandchildren, Liesel passes away peacefully in Australia. He carries her soul away and gives her the book she was writing wherein he learned her story: The Book Thief.