Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Essay

Decent Essays
John Boyne has created a sophisticated and meaningful novel in The Boy in the Striped
Pyjamas through his thematic analysis of power which explores society’s perception of authority; his symbolic representation of the fence which starkly exposes Bruno’s ignorance of cultural divisions; and finally, his characterisation of Mother revealing the fraught atmosphere during the Holocaust.
The theme of power is explored in this novel through authoritative figures and their presentation in society.The character of Father displays his newfound sovereignty with ostentatiousness, and Bruno observes this closely. He notes how Father’s actions often lead to an instantaneous response, stating, “Father held a hand in the air, which
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His innocence is so innate that he remarks to Gretel, “I don’t understand why we’re not allowed on the other side of it. What’s so wrong with us that we can’t go over there and play?” Bruno’s innocent perspective contrasts with the cruelty occurring, questioning its value in a time when it was widely accepted. Just as Bruno does not see the fence as a reason for segregation, so too are readers inspired to eradicate the fences of prejudice wherever they exist in society today. The reflection this calls readers to undertake produces a profundity and sophistication in the novel.
The language used to convey Bruno’s misunderstanding of the fence’s symbolism is simplistic. This literary technique, employed by Boyne, assists in portraying the naivety of
Bruno. Bruno’s enquiry of “What’s so wrong with us that we can’t go over there and play?” demonstrates how his juvenility shapes his view of the world, and allows his friendship with
Shmuel to flourish despite their division. Shmuel’s concession that “they were all exactly the same really” illustrates this fact. The boys’ exemplar of friendship provided by their childish perspective encourages the audience to accept everyone, contributing to the insightfulness of the book; and in this way, its meaning and sophistication.
The characterisation of Mother
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