The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

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Fredrick Nietzsche, a renowned German philosopher, believed that one of the strongest governing drives that humans possess, is their desire for power. Essentially when we closely examine the idea of power in literature, we see that much of the conflict in novels is about power; the struggle to gain, maintain or redress the balance of power. The need for power is a reality of life; to use or abuse, to claim or deny, own or disown, to marginalize or empower. This theme is omnipresent throughout literature about the Holocaust. Hitler and his struggle for power and dominance are infamous. Novels and films set in World War II often examine the issues of power in terms of race, age, gender and social class. One such novel is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. An Irish novelist, Boyne is acutely aware of the issues of power and dominance as he grew up during the time of The Troubles between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Boyne uses the narrative conventions of style and characterisation in his poignant and moving novel to explore and expose the power relationships of race, gender, age, social status and politics in the novel.

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Topic Sentence:
Style - Point of view eg. Boyne uses third person limited point of view to expose the power relationships of in the novel. Point of view Expansion:
As we see the world through the eyes of innocence and we as readers are positioned through the use of the limited point of view to examine the world of Nazi Germany during WWII so that step by step, alongside Bruno we come to the realisation of the extent of the abuse of power that took place. Boyne uses third rather than first person point of view so that we know more than the character at all times so that we can maintain objectivity and through this objectivity make a clear judgement about what is occurring abuse Example:

Example of racial inequality (Kotler to Pavel about finding the tyre in the shed) OR
Example of gender imbalance (Father silencing Mother or grandmother) OR
Example of conflict due to youth and power expectations that youth do not challenge authority (Bruno being told by Father or Kotler… when I was your age Bruno…) Explanation:
Further explanation of example/quote
Concluding sentence:
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Topic Sentence:
Style – Use of literary devices – puns and foreshadowing eg Boyne uses puns to emphasise the abuse of power in the novel and expose the marginalisation of the Jews. Expansion:
Boyne’s deliberate use of puns clearly …..
Example:
Fury and Out-With and Schmuel and the Hopeless Case
Explanation:
Further explanation of example/quote
Concluding sentence:
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Topic Sentence:
Style – Use of dramatic irony eg Boyne uses dramatic irony to disown the abuse of power and own the ultimate consequences of this type of power struggle in the novel. Expansion:

Example:

Explanation:
Further explanation of example/quote
Concluding sentence:
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Topic Sentence:
Style – Use of symbolism and recurring motifs eg. Boyne uses symbolism and recurring motifs in the novel to reveal the abuse of power and to reclaim power for those who have been ultimately denied that power by virtue of their race Expansion:

Fence represents racial prejudice and hatred
Striped Pyjamas represents loss of identity and personal dignity Juxtaposition of Schmuel’s Star of David vs Father’s Nazi Swastika (p127) Juxtaposition of two trains heading towards final destination of Auschwitz symbolic of inequality of power between those who are powerful and those who are marginalised Example:

Quotes about one or two of above
Explanation:
Further explanation of...
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