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An Examination Of How Naivety Is Created To Convey Innocence And Explore Complex Issues In The Boy And In Striped Pyjamas

1028 words - 5 pages

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is an entirely unique book. It follows its main character, Bruno, as he undergoes a big change in his personality and understanding of his environment. In the beginning when he moves to Out-With, he starts off an innocent 9 year old boy, completely oblivious to all the horrors going on just behind his back. Upon seeing the Jews and the huts on the other side of the fence, he concludes that it’s an ordinary town full of ordinary people. When he sees a soldier terrorising a group of Jews, he assumes it must be a rehearsal for some kind of play.For a large part of the book Bruno takes this unsuspecting view on almost everything he encounters; and through this ...view middle of the document...

Bruno’s journey really begins when meets Shmuel, a Jewish boy on the other side of the fence. As their friendship blooms and they start talking, he eventually starts to gain more of an insight into the horrors that go on there. Perhaps this starts even when Bruno first sees Shmuel; he’s thin, pale and gaunt, which says a lot about the conditions there. The pair eventually start talking about how Shmuel came to be at Out-With, and so Shmuel regales Bruno with the hideous things he’s recently been through. And amazingly, Bruno initially seems to think he’s had it just as tough as Shmuel. He unwittingly interprets Shmuel’s horrible experiences – such as hating Out-With and fearing Lieutenant Kotler – and connects them to his own experiences; he doesn’t like Out-With as it only has 3 floors as opposed to 5, and he finds Lieutenant Kotler cocky and annoying. It soon becomes clear that the boys have absolutely nothing in common, but Bruno’s failure to understand the situation means he makes the most ludicrous connections.In spite of their differences, both boys were born on exactly the same day: April 15th 1934. John Boyne probably did this deliberately to emphasize how different the boys actually are and how their surrounding environments have shaped them, because Shmuel is infinitely more mature than Bruno. But fleeting references throughout the book suggest that perhaps Bruno knows on a subconscious level that humans are being mistreated on the other side of the fence. When Shmuel says to Bruno, “You don’t know what it’s like here”, Bruno quickly asks Shmuel...

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