Power Language Essay

Power Language Essay-1
For these women, words are inadequate to describe their grief.Liesel, at her lowest moment, asks, “‘What good are the words? On the other hand, people can be powerless without words.

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So the words, “There’s a Jew in my basement” (244) would destroy the books that taught her the power of words in the first place.

Any words that identify a person as something undesirable to the ruling party carry risk with them.

If people cannot articulate their hatred toward their leader, for fear of personal harm, that leader can use their silence as an indicator of consent, and can feel secure in his position because without words, no one can challenge him.

The second time Hans is harsh to Liesel is when he tells her how important it is to keep Max a secret; he threatens to burn her books.

Max recognizes how “Jew” has also become a dangerous word, and that it endangers not only himself, but those who try to help him.

Jew is a label for those who “violat[e] the German ideal” (110), so those Germans who would help them are practically guilty of treason.

Hitler, an elegant speaker, uses words as a means to seduce, influence, and an entire nation.

Liesel says it most aptly: “Without words, the Führer [is] nothing” (521). We see the reverse phenomenon in Max, who thinks of the words “thank you” not as a humble expression of gratitude, but rather “the…most pitiful words he could…say” (208); to Max, as a Jew in hiding, to say means he is accepting undeserved kindness, and the words only feed his guilt.

These few assigned labels proliferate, gathering increasingly negative connotations, until a single word carries thousands of words worth of cultivated hatred and fear.

Much of Hitler's power as a leader is derived from his skill with words.


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