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What would be considered the Point of View in the unforgettable book "The Book Thief"?

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book-lover | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2009 at 7:12 AM via web

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What would be considered the Point of View in the unforgettable book "The Book Thief"?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 15, 2009 at 9:03 AM (Answer #1)

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This book has a very unique narrator, Death, and he is all-knowing.  This makes Death a third-person omniscient narrator.  However, he does speak of himself in the first person, so he plays a role in the story.  This also makes the narrator a first-person narrator in terms of himself, and a third-person omniscient narrator in terms of the other characters.  It's a rather unique mix that makes for an interesting story.  If you were to combine the two, he would be a hybrid:  an all-knowing first-person narrator, if there is such a thing.  He also throws elements of a second-person narrator in, because he does directly address the audience; he says things like "You will wonder who I am and why I am here."  He isn't a direct character in the book, so isn't a straight-up first-person narrator.  He knows all of the events of the characters' lives and describes them using "he" and "she," so in that sense he is an omniscient third-person narrator.

To simplify:  Death is a third-person omniscient narrator who possesses slight traits of a first-person narrator, since he is sort-of a character in the story's events itself.  I hope that helped a bit; good luck!

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