The deadly perception of the witness: focalization in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

Débora Almeida de Oliveira, Sandra Sirangelo Maggio


For a better understanding of a given narrative it is essential to be aware of the one who perceives (the focalizer). His beliefs and comprehension determine which characters and circumstances are to be ignored or closely examined through his use of sight, hearing, feeling, taste or smell. Therefore, the issue concerning focalization is relevant to be taken into consideration when a literary work is analyzed. In the present article the work by the Australian author Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, is discussed under the assumptions from the narratological field, especially guided by Gérard Genette, Mieke Bal and Rimmon-Kenan. It is argued that focalization in The Book Thief is one of the main literary techniques which help creating the atmosphere and meaning of the text. 


Narratology; Focalization; Embedded Focalization; Perceptual Focalization; The Book Thief

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