How do The Book Thief's opening chapters foreshadow children's war difficulties?

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Death introduces himself first of all in Zusak's The Book Thief. If the narrator himself can be taken as a foreshadowing, then one could obviously predict that there will be many people dying in the story because that is who he is. Even the first few lines of the book state, "Here is a small fact: You are going to die" (3). This creates a mood of doom and gloom from the very beginning. The reader also learns that Death likes to notice the colors of the sky at the moment he picks up a soul. The first soul he discusses is a child, a little boy, who dies under a white sky.  It is Liesel's little brother who dies on the train that night during a snowstorm. Her mother must do something with her little boy's body and the train guards are besides themselves wondering what to do or how to help. 

Next, Death describes a black sky during the time he takes a twenty-four year old pilot from a downed plane. "When it crashed, three deep gashes were made in the earth. Its wings were now sawn-off arms. No more flapping. Not for this metalic little bird" (9). A crowd comes upon the plane and a boy gives the pilot a teddy bear, but then Death takes the pilot's soul right at that moment and notices that the sky is "charcoal" (10).

The final section of the book right before part one begins is called "The Flag". It actually shows Liesel after the bombing of Molching when everyone she loves dies--but the reader doesn't know that yet. For Death, though, the sky is red on this day:

"The last time I saw her was red. . . There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked across the redness" (12).

Death then puts the colors from these deadly events together: red, white and black. These are the colors on the Nazi flag--a flag that carries with it all the death and horror of a generation. And in each scene described above, there is a child witnessing, suffering, or dying, which is critical to the foreshadowing of more to come in the story. Therefore, this is only the beginning of more children to come in the story as they live, starve, survive and die during World War II in Germany.

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