An Essay on The Choice Between Right and Wrong
Commonly, society wonders, “Are humans born good? Are they born evil? Alternatively, are they born both?” This century-old debate tied to religious texts, or other obscure ideologies, will never be answered. Logically, being either good or evil is naturally impacted by someone’s decisions, easy as that. Putting this into the perspective of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, any action, any movement, any word written could classify as a critical, life-altering decision. Just before the climax in WW2 Germany, any breath could be your last, and any movement could result in torture or even being tossed into a concentration camp. For our characters, life gradually becomes more and more dangerous.
The view on various affected groups is notably diverse, and the judgment of if they are excellent or immoral is up to the reader. Some of their actions certainly have more influence than others on the future. Things to consider are the timing and the pressure faced by the one making this choice. One character is continuously thrown into new situations leading directly to his anti-climatic demise. Hans Hubermann, the welcoming foster father of Liesel Meminger, does a remarkable job as his adoptive daughter’s right-hand man.
While his wife carries herself in a much more abrasive manner, down to her actions and language used, he carries a sense of security whenever Hans is around. He symbolizes to Liesel that everything will be okay whenever he is around. The reader can observe when this occurs throughout reading based on the behavior Liesel exhibits, how she composes herself, and most importantly, her emotions. Of course, when Hans makes his nightly departures, her discomfort is evident. One decision that led to his leave was when he offered bread to Jewish people imprisoned by the Nazis while marching through their town. This is one of many tough selections he has had to make.
His selflessness shone brilliantly during this event, and while it was exceptionally looked down upon and would lead to Hans facing a penalty, he did not consider it. He had the choice between ignoring innocent, suffering people or trying to lend some aid. The motivations behind this seem very clear. One influence can be pointed to Max, a Jewish person who secretly sought refuge in the basement of Hans’s home. This was a particularly hazardous obligation to commit, but it also displays Hans’s character.
Throughout the book, Hans acts out against what the Nazis enforce and commits a more formidable offense against them with each new action. Hans continuously exhibits the nature of his great essence, starting with painting the defaced doors of Jewish neighbors to then hiding a close friend’s son in his basement.
The consequences of his commonly down looked behavior were a whipping in the middle of the street, being gazed at with more suspicion by the Nazi party, having to go fight in the war, Max up and leaving, and so many other more minor details. All because of one piece of bread and an act of humanity, The Domino Effect as it is more typically referred to. Moreover, of course, this was not the last of it. With this new position fighting firsthand in the war, Hans gifts him a handful of injuries, not often discussed mental trauma, and ultimately ends him under the even more watchful eye of the Nazi Party.
Each particular outcome could do a number on a human, but Hans gets to undergo them all. At first, the primary reaction he bears is disappointment. Hans thinks he should have never even thought about committing such a thing. As Liesel puts it best, “No, Papa. You are just a man” (Zucask 402). To conclude, Hans Huberman’s acts of kindness give a crucial example of how in a time of the merciless battle, not even kindness can be the defeater of evil. His unique deed caused a sudden downward spiral in his own life. This shows the absolute power one’s choice can make, but can we always make the right one? Only Death knows.