Fear consumes all. Merciless, it never leaves without a scar. The power of the human mind is amazing, but also damaging. One can dream of flying, pretty oceans, and happiness. But one can also envision nightmares and worst case scenarios. As the Buddha claims, “Rule your mind or it will rule you”.
Below are quotes from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and an image from Alice in Wonderland that speak volumes about the human brain, and how no obstacle seems unconquerable in comparison to persistence, perseverance, and sheer will.
“ It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding” (Zusak 79).
“And it would show me, once again, that one opportunity leads directly to another, just as risk leads to more risk, life to more life, and death to more death” (Zusak 83).
Let's talk about this image to our left. Like I mentioned above, fear takes over our bodies and brain. Nothing seems possible. But why does our imagination have the power to create an unfortunate reality? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that the only way to cure fear is to replace with its counterpart, and only threat; courage, also known as having belief that it is possible. The image shows the Mad Hatter’s clever remark to Alice showing fear and doubt. This remark is the epitome of knowing how to be fearless; believing you can. I mean yeah it’s cheesy, but that doesn’t hide the fact that it’s true. You might just surprise yourself. Relating this image to the first quote, the power of the brain when one envisions a reality is emphasized. If one truly believes and persists, I mean what is there to stop them? The first quote confirms even through adversity, humans hold the capacity to overcome. With the image, this secret to this obtaining this capacity is revealed; fearlessness. Switching gears to the second quote, this quote is a little bit more realistic in comparison to the other 2 optimistic devices. Even though courage means a victory in one’s mind, it doesn’t necessarily a victory over any obstacle. Sometimes failure occurs. Risk is constant, and death is inevitable. In the image, Alice doesn’t want to take a risk in fear of dying, realizing that risk may lead to the ultimate risk; losing her life. She knows if she fails, she dies. But what carries her on through her battle and victory? That initial courage and decision to do it anyway. Yes, that sounds stupid. “I could die but let’s try anyway in the small possibility that I won’t die! CHARGE!” But Alice didn’t die. Her valiant attitude leads her to victory, which is the point. Risks will be there and death is always trying to creep on your door. But guess what? One good punch and fear won’t come back, and that impossible task that you once thought was impossible is now, you guessed it, possible. Imagine all the things one could accomplish with persistence and relentless will. We all possess that power, it’s just the action of tapping into that power.
Now setting aside Alice in Wonderland, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is impeccable. There were so many quotes that touched me, but then again I’ll cry during any book or movie that includes a semi-decent character dying. But in this book, everyone dies. It’s set during the Holocaust, and Liesel (the main character) really made me think about those big idea topics such as tenacity and audacity. The selected 2 quotes are REALLY hard to explain without spoilers, but given the setting, the reader can assume what occurs relating to the topic of human endurance. In connection to the second quote, the book presents scenarios where various characters (Liesel, her non-biological parents, etc.) realize the ultimate risks of certain actions, but instead of basking in fear, step up to the plate and do the right thing. Big and small actions of courage are shown, and these actions’ overall impact influences the characters’ morality and their ability to see the hidden beauty in a time of absolute horror.
I can’t stress how many times the word ‘perseverance’ can be applied to this book. The first quote shown above is a prime example, but there is a multitude of others. Zusak really doesn’t shy away from the reality of the Holocaust, and I appreciate his beautiful portrayal of Death (Death is seen as an indirect narrator). Death and the Holocaust are words that always have to be mentioned together. But also a necessary concept of the Holocaust is, I say it again, perseverance. This book reveals the how corrupt and devastating the human mind can be. But it also emphasizes the astonishing human capability to never give up, even when death is one breath away.
Please check out this book! I pinky promise that you will NOT be disappointed. This book is a masterpiece waiting to be understood.
Check out the movie trailer if you feel like it→ https://youtu.be/92EBSmxinus