Essay On The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne Essay

1023 Words5 Pages

A world in which old men can be degraded and abused, a world in which people wearing dirty, unwashed, striped uniforms are not seen as being oppressed, a world in which a starving boy of identical age yet vastly different physique is seen as simply being unfortunate - such a world cannot exist. Or can it? In the world of Bruno, this is precisely the way the world is.

John Boyne's book "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" invites the readers to embark on an imaginative journey at two levels. At the first level, Boyne himself embarks upon an imaginative journey that explores a possible scenario in relation to Auschwitz. Bruno is a 9 year old boy growing up in a loving, but typically authoritarian German family in the 1930?s. His father is a…show more content…

At the end of the book Boyne shows the personal disintegration that can occur when a person is forced to confront this disconnect ? in the case of the book, with the realisation by Bruno's father that his son has actually gone into the camp and has suffered the same fate as Schmuel and his people.

Boyne also undergoes an imaginative journey in this book as his past childhood imagination inspired him to create a novel that explores the necessity of imaginative journeys. It is interesting to note that this story is totally remote from Boyne?s own experience. Research on Boyne indicates that he was brought up in a stable family where his father worked in the insurance industry and his mother was a home-maker. There is nothing to indicate that any part of his personal background could have contributed to the terrible realism portrayed in this work. One clue as to the source of his imaginative journey may be found in the fact that, as a child, he was an avid reader who loved fiction such as Enid Blyton and the Narnia series.

The closest we get to fully understanding Boyne?s imaginative journey comes from an interview with where he states: "As an Irishman growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I was only too aware of the divides --- the fences --- that existed in my own country, and that caused violence and killing for families throughout Northern Ireland for too many years. And while those problems have for the most part been solved,

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Essay on The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

808 WordsOct 21st, 20104 Pages


Essay Question: “Books that engage directly with contemporary concerns and issues will always involve a reader”

Through the study of the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, it is clear that the concerns and issues, as well as the style and structure of a text, are what determines the reader’s involvement. In addition, the issues of the past (particularly those about war) still remain concerns today. The issues amplified within The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas include detachment in family relationships which can lead to disastrous consequences, and the withholding of information from the youthful and innocent which can create dangerous situations. Along with these, is the main issue of the…show more content…

Because she too is alone at Auschwitz she replaces her friends and companions with dolls, therefore leaving Bruno with no one but himself and in need in company. “I’m going back to my room to arrange my dolls” (pg 38). It is his family’s detachment that leads him to create new bonds with Shmuel, a Jew from the other side of the fence, which in turn leads to a horrific ending. This ending captures the reader because of the intensity and power in how it is written. If John Boyne had narrated the story in any other way, the effect would not have been quite so horrific and potent. This along with the main concern of the book captures the reader’s attention, encouraging them to read on.

A major concern of World War Two which remains relevant to wars today is man’s inhumanity to man. Religious persecution is still common at present (Serbia, Northern Ireland etc) and it is magnified in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas through the naive observations of Bruno. His father’s understated comment “those people... well they’re not people at all, Bruno” (pg 53) ironically explores the horrifying detachment for those who he is mass murdering. It is the father’s emotionless statement and Bruno’s innocent lack of reaction as well as the horrifying truth of the murder of 2.5 million Jews which creates a contemporary concern. In addition the way this comment is written creates enormous reader involvement as they see

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