What are the three ways Death uses specific colors in the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak?

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As a character in The Book Thief , Death is a keen observer of the natural world and is particularly interested in the ways that the environment indicates novel events, as well as the expected daily and seasonal variations. Three of the ways that Marcus Zusak shows Death considering color...

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As a character in The Book Thief, Death is a keen observer of the natural world and is particularly interested in the ways that the environment indicates novel events, as well as the expected daily and seasonal variations. Three of the ways that Marcus Zusak shows Death considering color relate to the natural world, human-caused events, and emotional states; the latter are sometimes personified.

Four colors that are discussed from Death’s perspective are blue, red, black, and white. The daytime sky should be blue, and Death notes occasions when it does exactly match expectations. The importance of the observation becomes apparent through the contrast with red, the color of flames, which goes against expectations for the sky. As the smoke spreads and the fire burns through things, leaving ash, the results are black (and sometimes gray); although fires occur in nature, the type, size, and intensity of the war-related fires Death witnesses are impressive. The gray ash suggest to death the souls of the murdered Jews. White is used to indicate winter; beyond the usual snow and ice, this means the as emotional winter or loss of hope that is part of human reaction to dead loved ones, such as Liesel for her mother.

The awareness that Death shows of the nuances and the meaning he invests in color are crucial parts of the author’s strategy to humanize him, rather than make him a one-dimensional villain.

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