The Book Thief Anti Hero Study

NB: As this book takes 50 years to read, I have not yet finished it, however I feel I know enough about to start a report about it.

The thing that stands out to me in most prominent anti hero texts is death. From what I have found there is usually some death and/or destruction.The book thief is narrated by death. Bit of a no-brainer really.

Has death ever not been a villain? In all circumstances, death is an unwelcome geezer. Even when somebody begs for death, and feels it necessary to speed up his encounter with said death, death is always blamed, like he stole something. No matter if a humans soul is handed to him, he stole it. End of.

The book thief changes the way people think about death, as him narrating demonstrates he is doing the most important job on earth, that he isn’t happy about it but he has to do it. Death saves people, people long for death, imagine no death? The world would be a much gloomier place, and would be full of useless 800 year olds…

This mixed view about him automatically slots him in the pretty much endless list of anti heroes. Some argue he does good and find comfort in his hands, many argue he does pure evil.

Death, like many other anti heroes, feels that he has a different, or sometimes higher viewpoint of all things. Death sees things everyone else can’t see. This is common of an anti hero. Some see ghosts, some see visions in dreams, or have people communicating with them inside their head. Death just sees everything, with unbiased eyes, he describes his unbiased eyes as being able to see rainbows in the colour grey. He looks at everything like they are colours, this is another difference that the character has to humans.

Henry Olonga: Blood Sweat and Treason

This book is an autobiography written by Henry Olonga, a Zimbabwean Cricketer. It follows the story of his life, and the one incident that would morph into his identity.

Most people know Olonga as the man that wore the black armband in a world cup cricket match to mourn the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. He did this despite the Zimbabwean player code which stated that players could not bring political views onto the field, and certainly not demonstrate the views on the field. The man he protested with was the Zimbabwean national captain, (and most valued player) named Andy Flower. Andy was white, Henry was black. Their move showed that both races were in union, and inspired all people in Zimbabwe to stand up to the oppressor, a certain Robert Mugabe.

The consequences of the two players actions were that they were both dropped and were forced to flee the country. They both moved to England after constant death threats from the Zimbabwean government directed at both the players and their families.

Maybe Henry is not the most classic of anti hero’s but I think the mixed reaction that Andy and Henry got from the rest of Zimbabwe drew great comparisons with those views that are commonly directed at the more classic anti heroes such as Donny Darko







John Martyn- The Man, The Legend, The Monster

The intro of many John Martyn tunes are melodic, chirpy, masterful, folky and honest. I cannot recreate a literary version of that for this intro as I haven’t had enough lifetime sadness, my heart hasn’t been filled with deep, dark regret, anger and most importantly, I haven’t drunk and smoked to depths that the human body physically can not repair.

It seems that these are the recurring themes of every person behind most of my favourite songs and records personal life, which is a harem of enchanting, haunting and surreal to hear as a young musician looking at their inspirational hero’s for inspirational hero-like idea’s, phrases and events. This is disconcerting as the people that drive you and inspire you do all the things that the people around you and in control of you, say are wrong. Most confusing of all, these musicians seem most proud of it and had their most personal, happiest moments whilst in this state of mind ad physical activity that is too dark in in the depths of emotion, too feverish for any responsible up bringer to encourage.

John himself is the perfect example of this, he was often described as  violent , selfish and horrible to be around. People literally couldn’t stand being around him. Yet he is proud to be that kid of person. Not one thriving off sadness but certainly not driving out pain upon impact. John uses the word ‘carthartic’ a lot to describe his music and why he wrote it. He feels it right to experience mental pain and breakdown, and using drink and drugs certainly helped John get to the bottom of his sadness.An direct quote from the documentary was “If he wasn’t drunk or high he was trying to get drunk or high, constantly” This was coming from his first wife Beverly Martyn, another folk singer who was the subject of many an enchanting love song written by John up untill 1980. Then on he had to push Island records to release the dark disturbingly sad and deep records following his break up.

Yet he is proud to be that kid of person, and he has had many bad things happen to him, to name a few: The horrible breakup of his first marriage, the death of his second wife, being horribly drunk and stoned every night, his leg being amputated, death of a child, not aloud to see his many children. These paved the way for some of the greatest, musically most honest, and  emotional songs ever written, that i would dream to have the capacity, skill and way with language to write…but I don’t want to ever go through any of those things John has. These songs make John an anti hero because they help others, including himself, to release pain and travel to a mental state of content, happiness, or to simply get lost in the music and feel a spiritual standstill within your whole body, which in my opinion, is why I listen to music.

But I feel music you make isn’t your music if it is not honest. You cannot put on a musical toupee and become someone else for your music. But then how can you judge what is honest? Which brings me back to these exploreable but in no way fully answerable questions:

Do you have to experience physical or mental pain to feel happy and content?

Do you have to experience sadness or pain and suffering to write honest mystical songs?

What is by define, an honest song?





In sport, the main objective is to succeed in what you specialize in. In Amateur sport, the way you do this is often by talent or by pure skill over theirs.In professional sport, however, it’s more about margins of error, the little things you do wrong, but mostly, confrontation. Confrontation, whether this be by sledging an opponent,or by going out of your comfort zone. When being attacked or confronted, the player doing so will always be looking at your strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. In sports like cricket and football, teams pay money for opponents to be analysed, to try and get an upper hand when coming up against them. One example of someone being analysed, would be, a footballer, people like Messi, get analysed all the time! What foot they use, signature tricks, stuff like that.

The one problem for me in this, is that everything gets a little mechanical. Thinking and common sense goes out the window. An example would be, the England cricket team playing South Africa last Summer. At that time, there was a lot of hype going on in the media about it being the no.1 series, as whoever won would go top of the world rankings. As a consequence of this there was a lot of analytical work put in to each South African batsmen about where they we most prone to getting out to, where their comfort areas were. The 1st test was played at the Oval cricket ground in London. The bowlers knew there plans right away, but didn’t make use of the natural resources around them. Great swinging conditions that could of taken the wickets of the under prepared South African batsmen were not utilized as the bowlers bowled in areas that troubled the batsmen in the past in different conditions and different circumstances.

On this occasion the South African batsmen prevailed and England’s hopes of winning the match were left in shatters by Hashim Amla scoring a mammoth 311* as South Africa romped to victory securing the No.1 spot in the world rankings.

One other thing England didn’t take notice of was that the margin of error for some of the targets were very short, and that batsmen can adapt too. A great example of this would be Graeme Smith. Through out his career he has be shown to be tentative outside his off stump. He is a human, and has a brain, so he quickly worked out that he could cut off he angle be moving outside off stump then hitting through leg side. Although these are professional sportsman, they do have some margin for error. An example would be Joe Root, his weakness is just on his legs, but the margin for error is quite high, the angle carries the ball further down the leg side, he can leave it for a wise or easily flick it for 4.

Also, going around the county circuit is this philosophy about comfort zones. The standard philosophy is simple really. The more you come out of your comfort zone, and confront more challenging situations, the more your comfort zone will expand. Another way of putting is your stretch, and skills , your most important is your stretch to expand.

By  Henry Howeld