Siege of Leningrad
Hunger was a huge problem in Leningrad. Due to the cut supplies, many people starved. To keep themselves nourished, they often had to eat unsavory things such as "library candy", which was made of the bindings of books, as seen in page 52 of the book City of Thieves.
Due to sheer hunger, many had to resort to drastic measures, they ate sawdust bread, zoo animals and even human flesh. This is clearly seen in page 86 of City of Thieves, when Lev and Kolya are almost captured by cannibals.
The siege was punctuated by a very cold winter. Many people scrambled for warmth, burning books and furniture. Water was scarce because the pipes burst in the cold. The cold is clearly shown in page 15 of City of Thieves when the pilot froze to death in the air.
Journal #1-Hardships and Hunger
Life Before War
Life During the War
Lev's life during the war is clearly shown in the book. While he was walking through the streets, he talks of seeing bodies in the street, "...a small body wrapped in blankets... a bloodless bare foot dragging..." on page 42. This shows that life was very difficult during the war. After Lev and Kolya are sent on their mission for eggs, they are sent on mission that lasts about a week, they have to leave the city, only to face the dangers of opposing German troops, leaving Lev with only part of his finger, after the chess match with Abendroth.
Life After War
Journal #2- Physical and Emotional Challenges
The horrors of war in the Siege of Leningrad caused both emotional and physical challenges. In the book, Lev and Kolya run into a sheepdog, which was maimed after it was trained to act as a bomb, resulting in it being shot. Kolya had to put the dog out of itś misery. The second horror of war was the story of Zoya, who was a young girl forced into prostitution. When she escaped, the Germans caught her and cut off her feet in punishment. The final challenge was the chess match with Abendroth. Lev had to kill Abendroth or be killed, and he was struggling on if he could kill him.
The physical challenges of the war stories is a very important side to see. The sheepdog had a physical challenge. The story of the sheepdog was physically taxing to the dog who was wounded, and dragged itself through the snow. The story of Zoya physical in the way that Zoya was mortally wounded by the loss of her feet. The chess game with Abendroth was possibly the most challenging physically. Lev had to kill Abendroth, using a lot of strength to end his life.
The mix of both emotional and physical challenges made war a very difficult scenario to live through, and the characters of City of Thieves are put through a very difficult and scarring series of events.
The emotionally challenging aspects of the war were equally atrocious. The sight of the sheepdog not only upset Lev, but forced Kolya to put it out of it's misery, which as upsetting. Zoya's story was also emotionally challenging, for both Zoya, who was emotionally broken, but the fear it put fear in Lev and Kolya's hearts. Lastly, the chess game was a huge emotional challenge. It forced Lev to kill someone, not to mention that the suspense of trying to figure it out when to kill someone.