I am here today to talk to you about John Boyne’s novel, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. The author has effectively used textual features to examine the human impact of the Holocaust. It’s a touching tale of an odd friendship between two boys in horrendous circumstances, during the 2nd World War. Bruno, a nine year old German boy and Shmuel a Jewish boy of the same age innocently develop a friendship which never should have happened.
Most people would agree that the Holocaust is one of the most sensitive subject in the world history. I believe that the only respectful way for the author, was to write about the Holocaust through the eyes of a child, who couldn’t understand the terrible things that were going on around him. The real truth is that only the victims and survivors can honestly understand the horror of that place. John Boyne explicitly informed the readers about the hardship and torture the Jews were enduring in the camp.
How would you feel if the basic human rights have been taken away from you?
The author has effectively used the “Fence” to represent the division between the Germans and the Jews. This clearly shows us that the main idea of the book was about racism. How the Nazi’s tortured, abused and killed Jews for no reason. This was seen on page 142-149, when Lieutenant Kotler was very angry with Pavel because he spilled wine while serving during dinner time. This was also seen when Shmuel got hit and ended with a black eye when he ate some food that Bruno offered but completely denied it when questioned by Kurt on page 169-175. This is also seen on page 53, when Father told Bruno that Jews aren’t people, “ Those people... well, they are not people at all, Bruno. ”
In my opinion, John Boyne’s novel, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas has a deep effect on the readers. He has used different language techniques to persuade and inspire the reader to make social changes. Characterisation was used when Bruno feels that Shmuel is his twin, but the boys are different in many
ways. Also dramatic irony was used when Bruno thought that it was unfair that Shmuel had many friends, while he had none. Finally metaphor, was used when Bruno said to Maria, “ If you ask me, we’re in the same boat. And it is leaking.” (page 58).
John Boyne kept talking about the people on the other side of the fence. He described how they looked very sad, weak and the way soldiers treated them badly, without feelings. The author described these people as fragile, sick, sad, thin and always with dirty clothes. Furthermore, these young boys and men always wore the same striped pyjamas, never washed and looked pathetic. Jews were also treated badly even when they traveled in trains, “The trains was horrible, there were to many of us in the carriages for one things. And there was no air to breathe. And smelled awful.” (page 129) The German train was of luxury with all the comforts.
Finally John Boyne has effectively used the textual features to examine the human impact of the Holocaust, and reminded the audience how cruel the world is!