John Boyne uses narrative voice and a variety of other literary devices to convey the main ideas of prejudice and discrimination, power of friendship and innocence in his novel “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (BITSP)”. Boyne’s novel portrays the story of a young German boy in Nazi Germany who befriends a Jewish child residing in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The author explores prejudice and discrimination, power of friendship and ideas of innocence in his novel. Boyne uses third person limited narrative, dramatic irony, juxtaposition, setting and symbolism to convey these ideas in his novel.
Boyne’s novel uses these techniques to create these ideas, giving us an insight into the experiences of the Jewish people during Nazi Germany. John Boyne explores the theme of prejudice and discrimination in his novel through his use of narrative voice, dramatic irony and juxtaposition. In Boyne’s novel, Shmuel is discriminated and is sent to a concentration camp, while Bruno enjoys the luxuries of upper class Nazi Germany, even though they are of the same age. Shmuel was discriminated as he was Jewish, while Bruno enjoyed luxuries as he was the child of a high-ranking Aryan officer.
Boyne uses third person limited narrative to show us the perspective of the characters on the world around him. For example, in Boyne’s novel, when Shmuel sees Bruno in the pyjamas, he thought that “It was almost as if they were exactly the same really”. This quote strengthens the idea that the Jewish minority at the time of Nazi Germany were discriminated against. This narrative voice in turn creates dramatic irony, to show us the perspectives and beliefs of a young innocent child in a much more sinister reality. By using dramatic irony, he emphasises how pointless the discrimination against the Jewish people were.
Bruno is originally jealous of Shmuel, as he believed that “You get to have dozens of friends and are probably playing for hours every day” This quote supports the idea that dramatic irony is used in Bruno’s perspective, as he believes that Shmuel plays in the camp everyday. However, this use of dramatic irony gives a darker sense to the reader, of the actual reality of the camp. The author uses juxtaposition in his novel, to show how little difference there was between the Jewish and Aryan race, and how meaningless the discrimination against the Jewish people were.
Boyne uses juxtaposition in this thought provoking statement. “What exactly was the difference? And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas and which people wore the uniforms? ” This excellent quote explores the ideas of prejudice and discrimination, and manages to leave the reader pondering about the cause for the Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. The way Boyne wrote this novel shows the reader clearly the author’s position on the discrimination and prejudice the Jewish people faced in Nazi Germany. John Boyne explores the theme of the power of friendship in this novel through narrative voice, setting and symbolism.
In BITSP, Bruno and Shmuel, two unlikely people from different ends of the social structure of Nazi Germany become the best of friends. They manage to become best friends, even though one of them is in a concentration camp surrounded by barbed wire. By using third person limited narrative, the author is able to elaborate and emphasise more on the power of friendship. This also makes the friendship seem more realistic and believable. Near the end of the book, Bruno says to Shmuel “You’re my best friend, Shmuel.
My best friend for life. This quote strengthens the idea that friendship is unbreakable, and gives us insight into Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel. Boyne uses certain settings to reinforce the power of friendship. In the excerpt, there is a certain sentence that gives the reader a sense of the power of their friendship. In the excerpt, it says that “A dot in the distance became a speck and that became a blob and that became a figure” This quote depicts the idea that the setting where they meet daily is far away, and that the boys travel long distances just to meet each other.
In the book, the fence dividing the Jewish people and the Aryan people symbolises the imaginary rift that the Nazi Party had created. When “Shmuel reached down and lifted the base of the fence” it symbolised the two boys breaking the imaginary rift, with the power of friendship. This quote supports the idea that the power of friendship is more powerful than anything else. In the end of the book, Bruno and Shmuel die in the gas chamber holding hands, showing that nothing can break the power of friendship. John Boyne explores the theme of innocence in his novel through narrative voice, dramatic irony and juxtaposition.
A famous quote by Thomas Grey is ‘ignorance is bliss’. For Bruno and Shmuel, ignorance would have been bliss, as they had been thrown into a dark and sinister time and place unwillingly. For most of the book, Bruno and Shmuel had innocent theories about their experiences. However, towards the end of the book, they started having more sinister theories about Auschwitz. By using a third person limited narrative voice, the author is able to emphasise the innocence of the young children. Boyne uses this narrative voice to suggest the boys’ innocence.
For example, in the book, Bruno states, “I don’t understand why we’re not allowed on the other side of the fence. What’s so wrong with us that we can’t go there and play? ” This quote suggests that Bruno is innocent, and does not know the true purpose of the camp. He also believed that the fence was preventing them from going to the other side, and not vice-versa. Dramatic irony is used all throughout the book, to show us the truth through an innocent young boy’s mind.
When Bruno gets injured, he asks Pavel “If you’re a doctor, then why are you waiting on tables? This quote strengthens the idea that Bruno has an innocent mind. Bruno cannot comprehend why a doctor would become a waiter, but the actual reason is clear to the reader. Pavel could not practise as a doctor, as he was Jewish. The author uses juxtaposition to emphasise the innocence of the boys’ minds. When Shmuel and Bruno meet for the first time, they find out that they have the exact same birth date, when Bruno says, “My birthday is April the fifteenth too. ” This quote highlights the idea that Bruno and Shmuel are not very different.
They live on the opposite ends of the Nazi Germany society, yet they do not understand why. It is evident that Bruno and Shmuel do not understand the differences. They have an innocent mind, and do not believe that race is the cause for this segregation. Boyne has placed two innocent children in a much more sinister reality. As has been explored, John Boyne uses narrative voice and other literary devices to convey the ideas around prejudice and discrimination, friendship and innocence in his novel “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”.
He conveys these ideas through techniques such narrative voice, dramatic irony, juxtaposition, setting and symbolism. In the end of the book, the author states that “Of course this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age” Boyne refers to the current conflicts and issues currently happening, and implies that these events are still being mirrored. Boyne has written an extremely intricate and though provoking novel.