“No matter how many times she tried to imagine that scene with the yellow light that she knew had been there, she had to struggle to visualize it. She was beaten in the dark, and she had remained there, on a cold, dark kitchen floor.” Liesel subconsciously thought. What author Markus Zusak is doing here is using colours purely as symbols. In reality the scene is light with yellow, however in Liesel’s mind and the mind of myself as I read this, darkness and the colour black is apparent. This is because Liesel has just come to the realisation that she will never see her birth mother again. This makes me imagine a dark, black, bleak scene as black is commonly associated with death, mourning and sadness – all feelings which Liesel is currently going through. “Even Papa’s music was the colour of darkness” Liesel thought. This represents how nothing, not even Papa and his accordion playing, could change things as he is not her real parent – her real parents are gone. In reality however, the scene is lit yellow. “The dark, the light. What is the difference?” thinks Liesel. Here Zusak is showing us that while the mourning goes on, character Liesel had already lost her family and is none the less willing and prepared to move on and carry on – to reach the happy yellow despite the sad darkness that surrounds. This is a key message Zusak is portraying via Liesel.

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  1. These observations are very helpful. Consider the relationship between Liesel’s perception of the world here (via colour) and that of the narrator, Death. There’s a strong parallel. Why do you think this is? What’s the benefit of using colour as a symbol?


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