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Edmund Fung

2nd, B day

Mid-term Compare and Contrast Paper

Max and Tom

Max and Tom are two very distinguished characters in The Book Thief and To Kill a

Mockingbird yet they run across the same fate. They run the same fate that others gave to them.

These two characters were not randomly chosen to be compared but were picked instead because

they both drove the stories to show the depths of humans. Although one is a Jew and the other is

Black, we may still find a lot of equivalency in them by how we and others look and change them

both inside and out.

Max is from the early 1900’s in a large city in Germany called Stuttgart. He eluded the Nazis

by running to Molching, Germany by invitation of help from a friend. He was Jewish. Tom is from

the late 1900’s in a small county called Maycomb, Alabama. He was a very nice man, probably one

of the nicest in the city. He was Black. They both diverge very much by different background

aspects. Their location itself puts them across the globe. Their lifestyles will appear distinct due to

who is around them. Max’s lifestyle is conservative and loneliness, while Tom’s is working for

money to keep up his family. They ethnicity sets them apart from the society and from each other.

Through the climaxes of both books, both characters had their fate chosen by the public. How their

fate was choosen and what it was was completely different. One had a trial and died, and one was

in a mass murder but lived. Tom lived in a society of “free speech and fair and speedy trial” but

either way, the public choose what was believed. His sentence was to death by a jury. In the prison

he tried to escape so he was instantly killed. Max had no trial, instead he marched with lot of other

Jews and were killed at random. The public, due to social discrimination, chose his fate.

Surprisingly, he didn’t die. He survived in time. Later in life after the war, he came back and met

Liesel again. The difference was that Max’s fate was melted along with others so that he was part
of one but he was luckily not chosen to die. Tom was singled out as one and there was no way to

chose someone else for him. In Germany, the place where Max lived, the general public all thought

that Jews were bad and had no sense of justice at all. Where Tom lived everyone was suppose to

be equal but they were transitioning from a prejudice society to a justice society. Therefore it was

not odd to discriminate even though it was no secret that it was wrong. Tom and Max lives in two

different worlds where nothing could be the same and where a trial means nothing and a mass

murder would be safer.

Humans. It seems as if we not only control ourselves but also the ones around us. Scary but

true. We, humans, as a society can lower a person’s humanity or humanness. Max and Tom’s

humanity have been lowered through our community. This is something that only they would find to

be shared between them while we take ours humanity for granted. Although the two settings are on

different continents, the general idea floating in the air was discrimination. Both characters were

discriminated no matter what were the results. They were sorted based on their identity. The

population wanted a perfect country of perfect people. Therefore Max and Tom’s torture was to

remove them from society because they are not perfect. They were not wanted. In fact, somewhere

in all their labels, death was likely to be one of them. As the general public hated them, they both

have loved ones. For Max, he had as much people to love him as possible since he was kept

secret. Rosa loved him by making pea soup and food for him. Hans was the person who was the

primary link for Max to even stay in the Hubermann household. Liesel was the most loving of all.

She took care of Max especially when he was sick. Max called her the Standover Man. Tom had

two main people who adored him. His wife loved him a lot and she needed him for the money he

earned. Atticus was the other. He was the one who fought for Tom in the trial. Atticus also

comforted Tom in the jail. Tom’s trial’s jury was all white man who was biased and set Tom to be

guilty. Although Tom did nothing wrong, others in the society made him guilty for who they wanted

him to be. Unfair trial happened so much it seemed like breathing air. Max actually had no trial, but

the fact which pulled him in with the Jews and were made to die was unfair and unjust itself. Both
Tom and Max were treated without righteousness, which would later turn into hatred. If Tom and

Max looked in to each other, it would have seemed as if they looked into a mirror.

Tom is Max. Max is Tom. It is how we put it. We can say Tom is directly opposite of Max, but in all

words can say, Tom and Max are and can be related in ways through inner spirits but maybe not by

the outside label that has been stuck on them. In finality they are the same within as with the rest of

humanity, but yet different from what we and others have turned them into.

After all, it’s just humans. Against humans.