The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as a Genuine Fable 10th Grade

For an author portraying a topic as precarious and momentous as the Holocaust, perhaps the only adequate approach is through a fable, such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. In this novel, John Boyne creates main characters and a narrator that match the criteria of a fable, among other fable-like subject matter choices. Through language and textual features, Boyne weaves a genuine fable that successfully portrays and universalizes a sensitive social topic.

By creating characters that are vague in description, match archetypes or stereotypes, and partake in extraordinary incidents, this novel satisfies the main principles of a fable. The protagonist, Bruno, fits into the archetype of ‘the innocent child’ while the antagonist, Lieutenant Kotler, matches the stereotype of a Nazi soldier but also seems like a folktale villain. ‘He [Lieutenant Kotler] wore the same type of uniform as Father… and looked very serious. ... Bruno could see that he had very blond hair’(pg.19). Most characters lack definitive portrayals: for example, Mother’s and Father’s real names are never given. Also, the realistic likelihood of two protagonists from opposite ends of a social hierarchy meeting every day for almost a year, across the fence of a...

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