THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS
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 book: the persecution of the Jews, and man’s inhumanity to man.
The book explores an issue in which people can relate to even today: the detachment in the relationship of family members. It is set retrospectively during World War Two, at a time when family detachment had become a way of life for many, as not only the Jews, but the German families where divided. Using a third person narrative style concentrating upon a nine year old boy, Bruno, this detachment is subtly exposed through his relationship to his family. By having an issue that is still a main concern in today’s society it engages the reader as it relates to something they know and understand about. “Don’t interrupt your mother when she is talking” (pg 7) The mother uses sharp commands to enforce an order, not allowing Bruno to “break the rules of politeness” (pg 7) when all he wanted was some answers. The reader is put into the position of this boy Bruno to understand the lack of communication within his family. The atmosphere created by the book re-enforces the concern of isolation and lack of communication within the family. The rule about Bruno’s father’s office “Out Of Bounds At All Times And No Exceptions” (pg 44) uses capital letters to show the extent...
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