1) What purpose do colours serve for the narrator? Why does the narrator need distractions?
Death’s life is very repetitious. His sole, unending purpose is to find the souls of those who have passed and lead them to whatever is next, beyond this world. To help distract himself from the terrible tragedies and sadness that surrounds death, he likes to fixate his thoughts on the colour of the sky. He lets his mind wander as he focuses on every single detail in the sky, its shades and colours, as well as it’s “multitude of shades and intonations” (Zusak 4). Death needs to be available at a moment’s notice, so these distractions are important in order to keep up work ethic and determination in his line of work. Before reading, “Death” is thought as something cruel, unforgiving, and final. However, in character form, Death is seen as a compassionate and relatable figure. This makes it understandable as to why he chooses this escape; no one would be able to do the same job indefinitely without variety or change.
1) What impression does death give of himself? Do you feel you can trust him as a narrator? Why or why not?
Since the start of the book, Death has been very relateble. He has the same feelings and emotions as a human, and has expressed sympathy for Liesel and her situation. He experiences both sadness and joy, and at some points, depression. Like a normal person, he finds the need for distraction due to his never-ending job. He often fixates on the colour of the sky at the time of each death. To me, Death does not seem content with his job, and the work he has to do. He doesn’t want to have to be a catalyst between life and after-life, but he knows that he is the only one who will be there to do the job. Zusak’s take on Death is interesting, as it is not the evil, malevolent, wicked character we all expect.