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Published: 08-09-2019

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The Analysis of the Themes in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

John Boyne’s most famous novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is an intricate story about two boys that meet at a concentration camp for the duration of the Second World War. In this novel, numerous themes are made evident, such as the innocence of childhood, prejudices, worry, regret, and boundaries. Even so, probably the most interesting, however subtle, theme is that of silence.

Silence, stillness, and secrets are all interconnected all through this literary function. As the protagonist’s father is the “Commandment” of the German army, the majority of his duties are hidden from his family members. This is taken to such extremes that the loved ones moves to Poland, without having telling the children exactly where they are moving to or the reason behind it. There is an general silence all through the family members, especially when it comes to the function of the father. The young children are taught at an early age to just respect his duties and to not query his decisions.

As the story continues, Bruno develops a close friendship with a refugee named Shmuel. Shmuel is the Hebrew equivalent of the name Samuel, which means powerful. This truth is quite exciting in relation to Shmuel’s part in the story, especially in his part in the friendship in between the two boys. Due to the differences in between the two, Bruno is needed to not mention his new friendship to anybody. Following he makes a Freudian slip in a conversation with his sister, Bruno is forced to cover his tracks: “’ I have a new buddy,’ he started. ‘A new friend that I go to see each day. And he’ll be waiting for me now. But you can not inform anybody.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Because he’s an imaginary pal,’ said Bruno, attempting his best to look embarrassed…” (155). regrettably, this is not the only time that Bruno lies about his partnership with Shmuel. Although the two are talking when Shmuel comes to clean out the glasses in Bruno’s kitchen, they are caught by Lieutenant Kotler. Shmuel easily admits that the two are friends, whilst Bruno claims to have never spoken with or noticed Shmuel in his life. Nevertheless, his decision to cover up their friendship does not sit properly with him: “[Bruno’s] stomach churned inside him and he believed for a moment that he was going to be sick. He had never ever felt so ashamed in his life he had in no way imagined that he could behave so cruelly. He wondered how a boy who thought he was a very good person genuinely could act in such a cowardly way towards a friend” (173–174). While the two young boys do not have a thorough understanding of their circumstances, they are intelligent adequate to know that there is anything a lot more strong than a fence that is keeping them apart. Hyde created an intriguing point concerning this scene: “This incident suggests how silence imposed from the outdoors – by Lieutenant Kotler’s intimidating and threatening presence – could act so as to stifle Bruno’s sense of agency and his spirituality, thereby major to a sense of disconnectedness with his buddy Shmuel” (98).

By contrast, silence and stillness are not constantly portrayed as damaging factors in this novel. Near the finish of the book, Bruno disguises himself in the “striped pyjamas” and attempts to help Shmuel in discovering his father. When the soldiers gathered up the Jews for their march, Bruno took a great step of boldness in regards to their friendship: “He looked down and did something fairly out of character for him: he took hold of Shmuel’s tiny hand in his and squeezed it tightly. ‘You’re my best friend, Shmuel,’ he stated. ‘My best pal for life’” (212-213). Even though the boys remained in the gas chamber, not being aware of what to expect, they nevertheless clung to each other: “…the area went quite dark and somehow, in spite of the chaos that followed, Bruno identified that he was nonetheless holding Shmuel’s hand in his personal and nothing at all in the planet would have persuaded him to let it go” (213). Hyde’s statement on this scene was quite intriguing:” Of all the approaches in which they could have reacted in the midst of the chaos and the horror that was about to take location, Bruno and Shmuel chose silence. They stood holding hands, affirming their connectedness (irrespective of their really distinct racial backgrounds)…” (98). This scene represents the truth that silence has a strange power more than words and that it is not always necessarily to speak in order to communicate.

The innocence of a kid and the power of silence in both optimistic and damaging aspects are recurrent themes throughout John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Boyne does an exceptional job describing the relationships that Bruno has with his loved ones and with his new friend Shmuel. The two boys are sensible for their ages, as they have the power to look beyond the items that separate them and to form a bond that words cannot break. These two young boys are a excellent instance of correct friendship and overcoming obstacles.

Hyde, Brendan, Karen-Marie Yust, and Cathy Ota. “Silence, Agency And Spiritual

Improvement.” International Journal Of Children’s Spirituality 15.2 (2010): 97-99. Academic Search Premier. Net. 8 Feb. 2013.
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