The Boy in a Striped Pajamas - Literary Analysis Essay

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1213 Words
Date:  2022-03-31


The book by John Boyne is an interesting book to read due to many reasons one of them being the captivating storyline and the Nazis era experiences shared in the book. Personally, some parts of the book easy to associate with. As the book starts, Bruno comes home from school to find the maid Matia packing his things because the family is moving away from Berlin. I closely relate to this situation since growing up my parents used to travel a lot, and the book makes me feel attached to Bruno and the life he has to experience. Moving from one place to another involves saying goodbye to friends and other people you had started or already had connected with but being a child, one has no control over these situations. From the beginning of the book, this gives me a personal connection with Bruno's character. It gave me the need to want to know more about the new place they were moving to and what awaits them. With this feeling I found myself reading the book.

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On arrival at the new place, one is able to picture the new house they have move to. The descriptive nature of the book makes you picture the new house, a weak smaller house than the previous house they had in Berlin. One would have expected since the father had got a promotion at work, they would have moved to a much better place. The sudden change of events within the book makes it more interesting since one is not able to predict what happens next in the book. The suspense created while reading the book makes the whole experience more interesting. From a comfortable environment, Bruno's life changes suddenly to this new experience where the closest view from his window is the Auschwitz death camp. The mention of this infuses fear in the reader's mind.

One can only imagine what the family has signed up for. After reading this section of the book, I could hear voices of the prisoners crying due to pain and torture. I tried to fit in Bruno's shoes as I read the book, a small boy who had never witnessed such things. Having a small understanding of the Nazis era, it is scary to be close to any prison camp under their control. The book manages to yoke the reader deep in the story, and one feels as if they are entirely involved as the observer character within the book as the story unravels. The writer describes the faces of the prisoners as unfriendly and the children unhappy. This is an environment one would not wish for a child to grow up around. Many things come across my mind, such as the parenting skills of Bruno's father and mother. What do they feel about raising their child in such an environment? Wouldn't this affect the child psychologically? Then again the book is set during the Nazis era hence anything was possible, and the books set up clearly paints this picture to the reader.

Despite the fiendish activities happening within Bruno's surrounding he is used as a symbol of good in the world. He is a kind and has an affable heart which makes the reader love the character more. After a few month in his new home, he gets bored and starts adventuring along the fence separating his home and the concentration camp where he encounters a small boy in striped pajamas. The boy seems despondent, and this catches Bruno's attention. The curious nature of Bruno leads the reader to know more about the boy who informs him that they are in Poland and not German. The boy also informs him that they share the same birthday and his name is Shmuel. As the story continues we get to learn more about Bruno's character which influences one's views towards the activities taking place in the camp.

The book also manages to play around with the readers feeling towards the different character, for instance when Shmuel is asked to clean the things required for Bruno's father party, Bruno meets him, and a moment we all expect the boys to have a good time together things do not turn out as expected. Bruno gives him a piece of chicken which is such a kind gesture, but no one has a clue what is about to happen. When Shmuel is found he innocently says that Bruno gave him the chicken, but Bruno declines to have ever met him. This caught me unaware as a reader and suddenly changed my view towards Bruno. For most of the readers, no one saw this coming. The book is full of surprises, and this is one of the greatest surprises of them all. Throughout the book, we see Bruno as the light in such a dark world, but his actions in this part of the book completely jolts most readers. The book keeps our mind close to reality, unlike most books where the main character is portrayed a consummate character with no slipups. At this point of the book, we are curious what is to happen next, and such turn of events in the book kept me as the reader, glued to it.

After such turn of events, one hopes that Bruno will redeem himself and indeed he does. He offers to help Shmuel from the situation he and his father are in. This is an admirable show of braveness. Bruno's act of going into the camp in disguise of another person is a show of loyalty. This contradicts the readers' emotions, one minute Bruno is acting such an inhuman person and the next thing he is acting the hero. The connection I had so far created with the characters got me worried what was to happen to Bruno now that he has made the decision to go into the camp. There are feelings of fear and adoration of the boy's actions. But the reader is left with a dilemma wondering whether Bruno's actions are the right thing to do or will he put himself in danger. It feels bad to see a child doing the right thing as per the human nature is concerned while the adults fail to embrace such moral codes.


So far from what we have learned throughout the book is that something unexpected is to happen and the unexpected thing leaves the reader hankering to know more of what happens when Bruno is in the Camp. This suspense offered to the readers makes one want to read more so that one may learn what happens. The chain of events lead the boys to a gas chamber, and neither of them realizes what is about to happen. Fewer details of what happens is explained, but we are left filling the gaps of what happens. This breaks the heart of the reader, I hardly believed what just happened. There is no happy ending. The book is full of emotions and manages to end with an emotional climax of pain and anger. It is such an interesting book to read and reflects a lot on the nature of the human beings. After reading the book, I would comfortably recommend another person to go read the book since it has such an enthralling storyline.

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