Tuesday, 31 July 2012

John BOYNE (2006) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
By Vanesa Porras Arbeláez, 2º E.S.O. A
Bruno was the youngest son in a wealthy family from Berlin. Due to his father’s work in the army he has to move Auschwiz. Bruno is not happy with the move as all his friends are in Berlin. When they arrived, he didn’t know what to do. He was bored all the time as he didn’t know anybody and his sister did not want to play with him.
One day he left the house alone and went to see the fence he had been watching for days through his window and met a boy named Samuel, who lived on the other side, and became friends with him. Samuel has cropped hair and is always wearing the same pyjamas.
Bruno does not know what life is like behind the fence. He is very naive and believes it’s some sort of a game and, as any curious boy, he wants to go inside. The day Bruno's mother decides to go back to Berlin he goes to say goodbye to his friend. Through a hole in the fence, Samuel gives Bruno a pair of pyjamas similar to the one he is always wearing, and Bruno follows him in. When he doesn’t return home his parents are worried. His father sends soldiers to look for him and when they only find his clothes lying next to the fence of the concentration camp his father realizes the horrible truth. From that moment on he stops caring about everything.
I think the main theme in this book is the innocence of childhood. Bruno and Samuel share a great deal in common but perhaps what is most obvious is the childhood innocence which characterizes both boys. Bruno is unaware that his father is a Nazi commandant and that his home is in the outskirts of Auschwitz. Samuel, imprisoned in the camp, doesn’t seem to understand the severity of his situation. When his father goes missing, Samuel does not understand that he has gone to the gas chamber. Both boys are very naive and do not understand their current situations, which puts them in danger later on in the book when Bruno crosses the fence and goes into the concentration camp.
War and discrimination are the other themes present in the book, the situation in which Bruno and his family are living, next to a concentration camp and yet denying what is happening in front of their eyes. They discriminate Jews and use them as servants. They are taken into concentration camps, where they are tortured and forced to work and are killed in gas chambers. Bruno and Samuel live surrounded by this world. Yet, they are completely unaware of the gravity of the situation, which makes them the only two characters in the book that do not judge anyone by their race and simply become friends because they like each other.
I would not recommend this book to young children, as it can be tough, but I would recommend it to teenagers and adults as they may find it a bit more interesting and less hard. I think it’s a book that deals with a very delicate topic, such as the Nazi times, and sensitive people may find it harsh.

This book has been recommended before. See 27/07/, 20/01/ & 21/01/2012

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