A prisoner of war can be defined as somebody who is captured or imprisoned by the enemy during an act of war. Anybody can be a prisoner of war, even an eight year old civilian who is simply caught in the crossfire. Both “Guantanamo Boy”, a novel written by Anna Perera, and “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”, a film directed by Mark Herman, revolve around two key issues relating to the main theme of Prisoners of War. The issues are Innocence of Children and Discrimination. All of the three main characters (Khalid, Bruno and Shmuel) are affected by the war, some more than others, and two of which lose their lives due to it.
The issue of Discrimination is an ongoing problem in today’s society. It is explored in both texts through the unjust treatment of the characters due to their race, gender, religion or other characteristics. Discrimination is shown against prisoners, regardless where or why they are currently being held captive. This has been thoroughly explored in both ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ and ‘Guantanamo Boy’. In the novel, Khalid is asked what other international cities he was planning on bombing? (P.g. 201) It shows how the protagonist was accused of being a terrorist due to his middle-eastern origin. Even though he is innocent, his captors do not believe him because of his physical appearance. This issue has also been explored in ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’. A prime example of this is the comparison between Bruno and Shmuel, the first time they meet. There is an eye-level long shot of Bruno with lush forest as a backdrop. In contrast, there is a high angle, medium length shot of Shmuel sitting in the dirt with the barbed wire fence obscuring his face. This is significant in that Bruno is portrayed as the dominant and well to do character with Shmuel as the poor Jew. Although both Shmuel and Khalid are discriminated against, it is not for the same reason for both of the boys. Presumptions are made about Shmuel because of his Jewish faith...
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