Narrative Techniques in the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Essay examples

905 Words Mar 19th, 2013 4 Pages
Narrative Techniques in
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a novel by John Boyne. This novel is set during World War 2 and explores themes such as prejudice, racism, war, innocence and friendship. What sets it apart from other novels is that it uses a third person limited point of view, and mostly depicts events as they are seen by a young and naïve boy. This was one of the main narrative conventions that engaged me in this novel.

The point of view is the most interesting and important narrative convention of this novel. It is written in third person limited mostly from Bruno, the young boys, perspective. This means it does not use ‘I’ or ‘we’ but we do get to find out what the main character is
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He merely parrots back things that he has heard others say as he thinks this is normal and he has no way to know otherwise. One particularly poignant example is “‘Heil Hitler,’ he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying, ‘Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon.’” p.54. This made me as a reader wonder wether I would be blind to the harsh reality if I had been raised in that way. I think that this is one of the most important things Boyne wants this novel to make us think about.

In parts of the novel Bruno begins to actually lose his innocence and learn and understand more about the world around him. For example, when he is talking to Maria about his father and she starts to speak to him about her earlier life he “realized for the first time that he had never fully considered her to be a person with a life and a history of her own,” p.60. This process is not fast enough as this innocence still leads to his early death in a gas chamber. However, he thinks that he is just going on a march while he was trying to help his friend, and this means that he is not afraid. His innocence acts like courage, and shields him from fear while placing him in danger.

There are also symbols and comparisons made in the novel. Mostly these are during interactions between Bruno and Shmuel, and often they are very unrealistic, and do not further the plot but instead are there just to make a point. For