The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Reads: 387  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An enthralling analysis on the haunting 2006 novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Submitted: November 06, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 06, 2014

A A A

A A A


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

John Boyne’s haunting 2006 classic novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, contains some of the most emotionally straining themes a book can possibly present. Themes that include friendship, loyalty, innocence VS experience, naivete, curiosity, and death all mixed together to form one positively tragic yet completely brilliant masterpiece. My heart was left clinging to each and every word as Bruno discovered and played out all of these themes until it destroyed him in the end. For me, I believe the most substantial themes in this heart wrenching story to be curiosity and innocence VS experience but I will further elaborate and mention all themes at one time or place.

Innocence VS experience. Which side would you rather be on. We all must be on one or the other and the question is -- which will destroy us in the end. Innocence is to be pure, thoughtless, curious and ever searching for the good in others. With experience, you trust what you know or what you’re told is true. You don’t question as much because you have stronger knowledge of what will keep you safe and in higher standing with society. You choose to impress. Bruno strongly expressed innocence. He was entirely unaware of the situation but found Shmuel and did exactly the opposite of what he was told -- he became a friend to the Jew. In my mind, I see those with experience to be more naive than the innocent. The innocent voice their ideas and opinions. They are slow to let their thoughts be swayed by others. They think everything through in their “naive” way and decide for themselves. Whereas those with experience immediately trust what others say and are brainwashed by it. They go right along with whatever they are told and are naive enough to believe that they are doing the right thing.

Curiosity kills the cat. Unfortunately, in this case it killed our beloved protagonist, Bruno. We undertook Bruno’s journey with him and watched him grow into a much wiser young man than most of the adults claimed to be. He made a few mistakes along the way -- some of which include him betraying Shmuel when lying to Lieutenant Kotler about their friendship, and not fully understanding and empathizing with what Shmuel was telling him about his unfortunate life. We also saw him make some of the wisest, kindest decisions anyone could make -- sneaking away to meet Shmuel every day even though he knew of the possible punishments, offering to help Shmuel find his father, and clinging to Shmuel to the very end without the slightest desires of letting go. Curiosity is the whole leading point of the story. It brought him to meet Shmuel, to continue seeing Shmuel, to question the government’s opinion on Jews, and to eventually lead him to his death. He only wanted to explore. He only wanted to know what was so bad about the Jews and what made them different. He only wanted to find Shmuel’s papa. He only wanted to know why they were being crammed into a small room with so many other men… Curiosity defines Bruno and this story. Curiosity makes it real.

In the end, this story is difficult, heart breaking, empowering, and makes me feel regret. I regret that this story was ever inspired by true events. I see father’s regret at being a part of it all and it just makes me wonder how many others lay awake at night feeling empty and filled with nothing but regret at what they’d done. This is a forever classic that will be read one hundred years from now and one hundred years from then -- a constant reminder of what took place. An innocent “naive” boy who just couldn’t understand it all is shaping our future and will keep us from committing the same wrongs and causing history to repeat itself but after all nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.


© Copyright 2020 LilianConstantine. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Commercial Fiction Articles