Kindred, the Book Thief, and Catcher in the Rye : about Humanity
Throughout the trimester we have studied three books that demonstrate the truth about humanity. Kindred, The book thief, and Catcher in the Rye all have truths about humanity. These books demonstrate that even in a cruel world Humanity is capable of showing bravery, even when it means putting their lives in danger. The books also show that humanity is capable of love and kindness towards others. Throuought these three books, we also see that humanity has a dark side, capable of unneeded brutality towards others. Humanity in a cruel world is capable of being brave and loving, but also brutal towards others. Humanity in a world full of cruelty is capable of showing bravery. For example, when Hans Hubermann threw a piece of bread at the Jewish people marching through the streets.
One quote that exemplifies this is, “The Jew stood before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he watched as Hans Hubermann held his hand out and presented a piece of bread”(Zusak 394). This moment demonstrates how courage was still alive and thriving in a time of darkness and cruelty. Hans was beaten after he gave the Jewish man bread. Hans showed courage by putting himself in danger of being beaten or killed, so he could help someone in need. In addition, a real-life example of courage in this time comes from History.com, it is about the courage of the people who hid Ann Frank. Jan Gies and her husband Miep Gies, and a few other employees, Hid Ann Frank, and her family in the attic of their building. These people risked their lives to save others, that is an example of true courage. Hiding or helping a Jewish family was a crime. Which made their actions even more courageous. The Gies family and the employees were true examples of what it means to be courageous. Their brave actions show that humanity can be courageous in a cruel world. In a harsh world, humanity is capable of showing kindness to others.
How it works
Throughout Book Thief, there are many examples of how humans show kindness and compassion towards each other, even in the face of adversity. For example, the bond that Max and Liesel share. In a society where Liesel is programmed to hate people like max, she develops a friendship with him. A quote that exemplifies this idea is from the standover man, “I think we are friends. This girl and me. On her birthday. It was she who gave a gift to me”(Zusack 237). This quote is from the standover man, it is about Liesel. The quote talks about how Liesel was kind to Max, and how she is his friend. This quote demonstrates how in a harsh world, Leisel can still show love and kindness to Max. Even though her society has taught her that she should hate Max. In addition, people showing love towards one another in Nazi Germany was uncommon, but it did happen. For example. In an article from Huff post they interviewed a Holocaust survivor, Dorothy Greenstein, she talked about the random acts of love she received. An example of this from Huff post is, “Hello. I’m a Jewish child. Please, will you save me?” she’d ask. Some turned her away, but many gave her shelter for a night or two, or even for a few weeks at a time”(Huff Post). This is just one example of love shown to strangers. Huff post talks about how random people risked getting themselves in trouble to help an innocent girl. These acts of kindness demonstrate how showing love to others is possible, in a harsh and cruel world.
Random strangers helping Dorothy shows that humanity can show love to others, in a cruel world. In a cruel world, humanity is capable of brutality. Humans at the time of the book thief, specifically nazis, were showing extreme brutality towards other humans. The brutality of humans towards other humans is so bad it disturbs death. This is shown when death says “I am haunted by Humans”(Zusak 550). In this quote, death is talking about how he is haunted about how brutal humans are to their own race. Death is talking about the war and how many lives he had to take, all the innocent Jewish people that died for no reason. The unnecessary brutality that we show to our own species is and should be haunting to all. A real-life example of this is the Nazi party’s intimidation tactics. According to Holocaust encyclopedia, “many members of these units were recruited as auxiliary policemen. They were allowed to arbitrarily beat or kill persons they deemed to be opponents. In addition, the Nazi Party faithful assaulted those they perceived to be enemies of the regime”(Holocaust Encyclopedia).
This quote is explaining the brutal ways the Nazi party kept control over its people. The Nazi party recruited people to publicly beat and kill people, just to make people fear the party. If people aren’t scared the party loses its power. The Nazi party is a prime example of how humans contribute brutality to the world. The horrific acts committed by the Nazi party show the brutality of humanity in a cruel world. Humanity, in a cruel world, is capable of showing kindness towards others. A quote that exemplifies this is “I came here to ask for help, but right now id rather give it. When you feel able to get up, ill help you inside”(Butler 39). This quote shows how, even in Dana’s desperate situation, she can spare time and effort to help other people. In this quote, Dana is showing kindness to Alices mom and helping her, which she doesn’t have to do. In addition, real-life acts of kindness were committed by people who were part of the underground railroad. For example “Assisted by a trusted Jewish sympathizer named Joseph Friedman, Peter made his way to Philadelphia where he received permission from colored churches to post notices that he was searching for his mother”(PBS).
This quote shows one of the many acts of kindness by people who were part of the underground railroad. Joseph Friedman showed kindness and empathy towards Peter and helped him gain his freedom. Hence demonstrating Humanatitys capability to show kindness towards others. Humanity is capable of showing courage, even in the face of adversity and discrimination. A quote that exemplifies courage is, “I grasped it with both hands and brought it down as hard as I could on his head. He collapsed across my body”(Butler 43). This quote was from when Dana was being assaulted by the slave catcher. She had the courage to fight back and knock him unconscious. This shows bravery because a slave beating up a white male was a very big crime, punishable by a beating or death. That’s why Dana’s actions were so courageous. She wasn’t going to let the slave catcher get away with taking advantage of another black woman. In addition, a real-life example of courage in this era is Harriet Tubman. For example, “Tubman couldn’t help herself. She had to go back to rescue other members of her family and friends. Soon she was leading them on the safe routes of the Underground Railroad”(LA Times). This quote shows how Harriet Tubman was a truly courageous person. Even though she was free she still went back to the south, where she could be kidnapped and killed, to rescue slaves. She was risking her life to free others, which is a prime example of humanity’s courage in a cruel world. Humanity in a harsh world is capable of showing brutality towards others.
For example, “I never saw where the whip came from, never even saw the first blow coming. But it came-like a hot iron across my back, burning into me through my light shirt. Searing my skin”(Butler 107). This quote shows the brutal and dark side of humanity. In this quote, Tom is whipping Dana because he caught her teaching Nigel how to read. Tom shows how cruel and brutal he is by whipping Dana as a punishment. After the whipping Dana has welts on her back and is in pain for months. Whippings like this show humanity’s capability of being brutal towards each other. A real-life example of humanity’s cruelty comes from the advocate, “I was severely punished by a board cut full of holes to raise the blisters, then I was whipped with a strap to burst the blisters, which were then salted and peppered,” Thomas Brown said. “This burned me very badly” (The Advocate). This article is about real stories of slave treatment. One quote from a former slave Thomas Brown stood out for its unimaginable cruelty. Thomas Brown tells the story of what happened when he was returned by a slave catcher, for running away. Thomas was treated horribly.
The treatment of Thomas shows Humanities capability of brutality towards each other, in a cruel world. Humanity is capable of showing love and care twords others in a cruel world. A prime example of this is the Love and care Holden has for children. Holden shows compassion and cares towards children by wanting them to keep their innocence. A quote that exemplifies this is “ I saw another F- You on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on with a knife or something” (Salinger 158). Holden wants kids to keep their innocence, so they don’t experience the cruel and harsh world, which shows Holdens love and care towards others. An act of love similar to this is “Nadir Khan, 21, with a group of friends, held large paper hearts and messages of love at the Tuscany C-Train station after anti-Muslim ant-Syrian refugee graffiti was found at the station”(Calgary Herald). Nadir and his friends saw hateful graffiti, so they wanted to change that. Nadir and his friends stood in front of the graffiti with kind and welcoming messages. Nadir and his friends showed the world that Humans are capable of showing love and care towards each other, in a harsh world. Humanity demonstrates bravery while overcoming a traumatizing situation. When Holden was a young teen his Brother, Allie died of cancer.
This is considered a traumatizing event. For example “He’s dead now, he got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine”(Salinger 43). In this quote, Holden is talking about how his brother died, which was a traumatizing situation. Holden punched out the windows in his garage after this event, but Holden got through it. That shows his bravery. Holden needed to be brave to face the death of his brother and overcome it. Holden is proof that even in traumatizing and horrible situations, humanity can overcome it through courage. A real-life example of courage helping someone get through a traumatizing event is Jack. Jack wife was one of the people on United Airlines flight 93. A quote that exemplifies his courage is, “She was so brave and strong that she would’ve been comforting me. I’m sure of that. I think that the message she left speaks volumes to that.” (ABC News). Jacks wife died fighting back agianst terrorist who were going to fly a plane into the white house, which is a very brave act. Jack losing his wife was very traumatizing to him. Jack used the courage to get through the loss of his wife. Lauren and her husband Jack are great examples of bravery.
Jack demonstrates how humanity uses bravery to overcome traumatizing events in life. Humanity shows cruelty towards others to boost self-esteem. Throuought the book there are many examples of this, but one quote that exemplefies this is, “They always looked Mossy and awful, He damn near makes me sick” (Salinger 22). In this quote, Holden is describing Ackley’s appearance. Holdens description of people are very opinionated, and if he doesn’t like them, even if they are a good person, he makes cruel and mean comments about them. Holden makes these comments because he has low self-esteem and ridiculing others makes him feel better about himself. Real life evidence comes from the thought catalog. They can’t have a conversation without bad-mouthing someone or making harsh comments about the people around them” (Thought Catalog). This quote is talking about the common habits of people with low self-esteem. It is saying that some people with low esteem are constantly bashing people around them. This proves that humanity shows cruelty to others to boost their own self-esteem. Humanity in a harsh world is capable of using courage to overcome challenges. Humanity can be kind and loving towards others, even if it means putting themselves in danger. In contrast, Humanity can be brutal and horrible towards each other. The recurring theme in the three novels is overcoming adversity and challenges, through bravery and kindness.