Essay on The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Decent Essays

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
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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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