The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Trying Themes of 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' College

John Boyne’s most famous novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is an intricate story about two boys that meet at a concentration camp during the Second World War. In this novel, several themes are made evident, such as the innocence of childhood, prejudices, fear, regret, and boundaries. However, perhaps the most interesting, yet subtle, theme is that of silence.

Silence, stillness, and secrets are all interconnected throughout this literary work. As the protagonist’s father is the “Commandment” of the German army, the majority of his duties are hidden from his family. This is taken to such extremes that the family moves to Poland, without telling the children where they are moving to or the reason behind it. There is an overall silence throughout the family, particularly when it comes to the work of the father. The children are taught at an early age to simply respect his duties and to not question his decisions.

As the story continues, Bruno develops a close friendship with a refugee named Shmuel. Shmuel is the Hebrew equivalent of the name Samuel, meaning strong. This fact is quite interesting in relation to Shmuel’s role in the story, particularly in his role in the friendship between the two boys. Due to the differences...

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