THE INDIVIDUAL VS. SOCIETY A theme universal to all of literature . . . and a look at how it relates to The Book Thief THE INDIVIDUAL VS. SOCIETY The individual vs. society is a universal theme in all of literature. When you’re looking for a theme or need a paper topic to write about, you can always write about the individual vs. society! Why? Let’s take a look at what it is . . . THE INDIVIDUAL We are all individuals in this world, with our own unique thoughts, beliefs, and personalities You’ve heard that one single person can truly change the world, and that is the power of the individual. Think of: Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi Mother Theresa and, even Hitler Turn to someone next to you, and tell them one very powerful person with good intentions and also one with bad intentions. SOCIETY Each of us also, all around the world and in all of time, has lived in a society. What is society? At the most basic level, society is whenever two or more people live in a community, and there is nobody that lives on a deserted island. SOCIETY It would be pretty easy if the world consisted of just you; you could do whatever you wanted at whatever time you wanted and there would be no problems, unless of course you got in an argument with yourself! But the truth is whenever there is more than one person, we must learn how to get along, work out problems, and learn to live with one another. THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY When we have good, powerful people with good intentions, we have a strong society. But as we all know, unfortunately, not everyone has good intentions, and even when people share good intentions, they often have different agendas and intentions in what they want in the world and how it should be. THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY There are many problems that arise between the needs and wants of the individual and the larger society. In your family, maybe you want to watch one TV show and your brother wants to watch another one. Yes, this is a problem, but there are also more serious problems out there! THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY Turn to a student next to you and discuss with him or her two key instances you can think of when an individual and society have come into conflict, one in real life and one in a book or movie that you have read or watched. THE HOLOCAUST AND INDIVIDUAL VS. SOCIETY Now let’s talk about how the theme of individual vs. society relates to World War II, the Holocaust, and The Book Thief. THE TWO WORLDS OF LIESEL In The Book Thief, there are many instances when the smaller, personal world of Liesel comes into contact with the larger German society of World War II and the Holocaust going on around them. You will receive a quote related to individual vs. society and work with a partner to analyze the quote.