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Conflict. The influence of conflict in 'The book Thief'. by Anna Cameron. conflict itself:. Conflict is a natural occurrence in every human beings life and is usually viewed as a negative improper way of dealing with situations.

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The influence of conflict in 'The book Thief'

by Anna Cameron

conflict itself:

Conflict is a natural occurrence in every human beings life and is usually viewed as a negative improper way of dealing with situations.

I believe in ‘the book thief’. Markus Zusak is trying to refine that belief and show us a different way of expressing his characters and helping us discover who they are as people, through conflict.

He does this with the characters of Max and Liesel.

He uses three different forms of conflict:

Inner Conflict: conflict within yourself (emotions, feelings).

Outer Conflict: physically fighting someone.

Conflict against idea’s: opposing an idea or opinion that you do not agree with.

Inner Conflict:


Liesel’s inner conflict revolves around he feeling of alienation and aloneness.

She feels abandoned by her mother and unloved when she is left with the Hubermanns.

“Nothing changed the fact that she was a lost skinny child in another foreign place with more foreign people. Alone.”

These feelings manifest in her dreams.

“In the enormous mileage of sleep she had never felt so completely alone”

Liesel fights against her inner self to conquer these feelings of alienation.

Teaches us that she is a strong willed child and helps Liesel to develop as a person and fight for her happiness.

Inner Conflict:


Max’s inner conflict revolves around the abandonment of his family and the injustice he is suffering and imposing.

“If only he’d turned around for one last look at his family.. Then perhaps the guilt would not have been so heavy”

Max suffers against the injustice of the Nazi regime and hates how he is forced to endanger the Hubermanns lives to survive.

Like Liesel his inner turmoil manifests itself in his dreams.

“Liesel Meminger and Max Vandeburg would go about their other simularity. In their separate rooms they would dream their nightmares”

This teaches us that Max is a very caring family orientated person who’s will to survive is very strong.

Outer Conflict


Liesel fights only once in the book but this fight is a sentiment to her brewing anger over her families destruction.

“ He was set upon he was slapped and clawed and obliterated by a girl who was utterly consumed with rage”

This shows the point at which Liesel's inner turmoil had reached, that she has to fight to rid herself of it.

It also shows that Liesel is a strong independent individual.

It shows us that although she is caring, she is not one who wouldn’t fight for her rights, even her survival.

Outer Conflict


Max is a stubborn character who views fighting as an emotional outlet and has trouble expressing these emotions through words.

“When death captures me, he will feel my fist on his face”

This is another example of Max’s stubborn will.

Max also releases his inner turmoil about the injustice he is suffering under the Nazi regime by imagining fight scenes between him and the Furher (Hitler).

“ In the blue corner.. We have the champion of the world.. The Furher.. And in the red corner we have the Jewish rat faced challenger.. Max Vandburg”

This shows that Max is a fighter and would rather be fighting for his freedom but his sense of self preservation won’t allow him.

Conflict Against Idea's


Liesel opposes the idea that Jews should be dehumanized as they are a lesser breed of people.

“She noticed the strangled expression in Max Vanceburg's face, she had seen him afraid but never like this”

This shows her feelings of compassion towards Max and her understanding of his fear and her dislike of what is creating the fear, the idea that Jews should be dehumanized,

Liesel makes a stand against these idea’s by inadvertently showing which side she had taken.

“She returned to Max’s side again”

This happens when the Jews are being marched through Molching by returning to max’s side she is showing that she opposes the Nazi regime itself.

This shows us that she is a strong young woman with a good sense of right and wrong. It also highlights her stubbornness.

Conflict Against Idea's


Max struggles against the idea that he is any less of a person than a non-Jew and opposes the idea of dehumanization.

“As we speak he is plotting his way into our neighborhood.. He is infesting you with his family and he’s about to take you over”

This shows how Max feels trapped and condemned by this idea.

Hitler says this to the crowd during one of their imaginary fights, it shows how Max is fighting the idea. But after Hitler says this max is then beaten on by the entire crowd, this shows how even though he is fighting the idea he feels conquered and outnumbered.

This shows us that Max is a strong individual with every right to live and if it is possible he will fight to achieve survival. It also shows us that he has strong morals and is very understanding of the world around him.