What are some good lines with literary devices or figurative language from the first five parts of The Book Thief?

In the first five parts of The Book Thief, there are plenty of good lines with literary devices and figurative language techniques such as contrast, metaphor, and pathetic fallacy.

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From part 1 of the novel, we have the following quote, which describes a nightmare that Liesel has:

She would wake up swimming in her bed, screaming, and drowning in the flood of sheets.

In this quotation, there is an extended metaphor that has Liesel at first struggling to keep her head above water and then drowning. At first, Liesel dreams that she is somehow "swimming in her bed, screaming." The fact that she is "screaming" suggests that she is perhaps struggling to stay afloat. She then, in her nightmare, seems to be "drowning in the flood of [her] sheets." The implication here is that in her real life, outside of the nightmare, Liesel perhaps feels as she is being overwhelmed and dragged down.

In part 2, Liesel's foster father, Hans, tries teaching her how to read. Describing her struggle to learn how to read, Zusak writes,

She was a girl with a mountain to climb.

Here we have another metaphor. Liesel of course does not literally have a mountain to climb, but the image emphasizes just how much of a struggle it is for her to learn how to read.

In part 3, Death, the narrator, reflects on how difficult it must be to be a Jew in Nazi Germany. He compares Liesel's unfortunate life to the life of Max Vandenberg, and he concludes that

She did have it easy compared to Max Vandenberg. Certainly, her brother practically died in her arms. Her mother abandoned her. But anything was better than being a Jew.

In this quote, Death uses contrast to emphasize how utterly dreadful life was for Jews at this time. By contrasting Liesel's desperately sad life with the life of Max Vandenberg, Death emphasizes just how terrible it must have been to be a Jew in Nazi Germany. It was even worse than having your brother die in your arms, even worse than being abandoned by your own mother.

In part 5 of the novel, Liesel is describing the weather outside for the benefit of Max. She describes the weather as follows:

there is one long cloud, and it's stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it the sun is like a yellow hole.

This quote offers an example of pathetic fallacy, a literary device whereby the weather is used to reflect the mood of the characters or the story. In this instance Liesel's description of the weather, on the surface, seems vivid and childlike. However, the images of a stretched rope and a hole have darker, ominous connotations. The stretched rope suggests a hangman's noose, and the hole suggests emptiness. These connotations reflect the general mood of the story, which at times is dominated by death and hopelessness.

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  1. Quote: "A suddenness found its way onto his lips then, which were a corroded brown color and peeling, like old paint."

Literary Device: simile

Page:part 1, page 16

Explanation: This quote is a simile. It compares two things (lips to old paint) using "like" or "as."

2. Quote: "The book thief had struck for the first time—the beginning of an illustrious career."

Literary Device: foreshadowing

Page: part one, page 22

Explanation: This quote shows foreshadowing, hinting at events to come later in the story (stealing other books).

3. Quote: "Within seconds, snow was carved into her skin."

Literary Device: hyperbole

Page: part one, page 18

Explanation: This quote contains hyperbole, an extreme exaggeration (the snow is hitting her hard, but not actually being "carved into her skin").

4. Quote: "They ignore the reality that a new version of the same old problem will be waiting at the end of the trip—the relative you cringe to kiss."

Literary Device: metaphor

Page: part one, page 19

Explanation: This quote is a metaphor, which compares two things (a new version of an old problem to a relative you cringe to kiss) by saying that they are equivalent.

5. Quote: "...the boy’s spirit was soft and cold, like ice cream."

Literary Device: simile

Page: part one, page 17

Explanation: This quote is a simile. It compares two things (the spirit to ice cream) using "like" or "as."

6. Quote: "...empty hat-stand trees..."

Literary Device: metaphor

Page: part one, page 21

Explanation: This quote is a metaphor, which compares two things (hat stands to trees) by saying that they are equivalent.

7. Quote: "Ash stumbled from its edge and lunged and lifted several times until it hit the ground."

Literary Device: personification

Page: part one, page 21

Explanation: This quote shows personification, which is making an inanimate object (the ash) show a human characteristic (stumbling, lunging).

8. Quote: "There is murky snow spread out like carpet."

Literary Device: simile

Page: part one, page 21

Explanation: This quote is a simile. It compares two things (snow to carpet) using "like" or "as."

9. Quote: "...apartment blocks that look nervous."

Literary Device: personification

Page: part one, page 21

Explanation: This quote shows personification, which is making an inanimate object (the house) show a human characteristic (nervousness).

10. Quote: "But she did love Liesel Meminger. Her way of showing it just happened to be strange. It involved bashing her with wooden spoons and words at various intervals."

Literary Device: irony

Page: part one, page 25

Explanation: This quote shows an example of irony, which occurs when the author says one thing but means the opposite.

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