Comparing the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Life Is Beautiful

910 Words Mar 27th, 2013 4 Pages
“Analyse, evaluate and compare the techniques used to dim the horror of the real life events discussed in the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and the film Life is Beautiful.”
The Holocaust was a distressing time in history and is not a story everyone can absorb. Both the book, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas written by John Boyne and the film, Life is Beautiful, directed by Robert Benigni, are based upon the real life events of the Holocaust but with a difference. They made clever use of different techniques to dim and censor the reality of the events and interpret it in a more tolerable way. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas depicts the life of a young nine year old boy named Bruno who is the son of the Commandant of the Auschwitz
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“You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun.”
These factors contribute to the next technique: innocence. This technique is heavily portrayed in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but is also shown in Life is Beautiful. Because of the perspective of a nine year old, there are many accounts of misunderstanding and obliviousness. For example, innocence is demonstrated through Bruno’s mispronunciation of words such as Auschwitz and The Führer (Hitler); instead, he alters them into “Out-With” and “The Fury.” This shows Bruno’s unawareness that Auschwitz is actually a slaughterhouse built especially for the Jews and that The Führer is the leader of the Nazi Party, the one who started all this. Life is Beautiful contains a slightly different version of innocence. Guido uses his childlike innocence and imagination to protect his own son’s innocence. This is shown particularly well when Guido uses this game (in the camp) to explain features of the concentration camp, for instance, when Guido explains to his son that “The guards are mean only because they want the tank for themselves.”

Another significant technique used (particularly for Life is Beautiful) is humour. Robert Benigni made clever use of humour in contrast to the reality of The Holocaust as demonstrated by Guido in a comical scene where Guido ‘rescues’ Dora from her wedding party on his uncle’s horse that had been vandalised by fascists. When
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