To what extent is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak worthy of being deemed ‘Great Literature?’The Book Thief is a relatively recent fictional novel written by Markus Zusak which tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl, and her life throughout the Second World War. Wrought with tragedy, the narrative is told from the point of view of Death, offering a unique insight into human life. Despite how contemporary the novel is, it has received droves of critical acclaim and is often considered to be one of the best books of modern times. But can it be considered ‘great’ literature?There is often debate about what ‘Great’ literature actually is, which is important to consider. For the most part, however, based upon the canon, great literature was originally written by white, Anglo-Saxon males, who are often now dead, as these people were the group who had the political and social power, so in the times when many of the novels were written their views and experience were considered dominant, so they essentially determined what was ‘great’ literature.Order now
However there are many issues with the canon as, although it provides a foundation of what ‘great’ literature actually is, it is widely outdated and is therefore not representative of the rapidly evolving writing styles of present day authors, as well as the habits of readers and the types of novels they enjoy. It becomes even more irrelevant when the fact that ‘great’ literature will not be the same for everyone as different people will have different opinions about whether or not a piece of work can be considered ‘great’ literature.The Book Thief shares a lot of themes with many classic literary novels and indeed those which are relevant to all society. Death is present both in the. .ears it could not be considered ‘great’.
Regardless many of its themes are those which are likely to have timeless relevance to society such as war and love, which it also shares with the novels that are generally assumed to be ‘great’ literature, implying that it possesses timeless characteristics as well as the fact that various other aspects suggest that it should be considered ‘great’ literature.I believe that The Book Thief should in fact be considered ‘great’ literature despite its issues concerning how recent it is due to its universal relevance. Furthermore, at this point in time the fact that Zusak does not fit into the canon is almost irrelevant, as the canon is not and should not be a representation of ‘great’ literature in today’s society and is one of the least important factors when considering whether or not a novel should be considered great.