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There was a quote in The Book Thief and I need help defining what the quote means."The...

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tammels3x | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted April 27, 2012 at 1:51 AM via web

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There was a quote in The Book Thief and I need help defining what the quote means.

"The best word shakers were the ones who understand the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be without words."


What does the quote mean?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 27, 2012 at 2:47 AM (Answer #1)

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This quote is from the fable "The Word Shaker," which Max has written as an allegorical picture of the Fuhrer and how he has attempted to control the people of Germany by planting words of his choosing, words with very limited meaning - "a nation of farmed thoughts." The Fuhrer also planted symbols, and tended his seeds carefully, so that his words took root and grew very strongly in the people. Through these words, the Fuhrer was able to influence and dominate most of the people in the country.

As the demand for more and more words increased, the word seeds grew into forests of trees, requiring people who could "climb the trees and throw the words down to those below." Your quote explains that the best of these attendants, harvesting the words from the trees, were the few who truly understood the power of language and appreciated the need for words to express all the thoughts and feelings that could be conveyed through language.

Of course, in the allegory, the girl stands for those who were not willing to accept the Fuhrer's words as being all that were worth knowing and using, those who would not accept "the lovely ugly words and symbols."



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