Archive for the ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ Tag
I opened my email to find a pleasant surprise. Kalum had sent me a link to Glogster as he had decided to complete his Biopoem homework as a glog. It is always great to see students using their initiative by thinking of what would be the best tool to use to complete a task. We will be using glogs later in the year but I haven’t even talked about that yet.
I enjoyed reading Kalum’s Biopoem because he was able to choose someone with a minor role in the book and show clear understanding of her character.
Thank you Kalum!
Bruno’s mother is a very interesting character, Vera Farmiga who played her in the film says this of Elsa,
Elsa doesn’t think. She doesn’t think for herself, she doesn’t think deeply. She chooses to be oblivious, concerning herself only with the safety of her family and her position in society – everything else is beyond her periphery. She’s a sort of accomplice and assistant to her husband’s ideals, his desires, his morals and his ambitions. But as she starts to open her eyes to what is unfolding, as she starts to explore for herself, there is a gradual decline of tenderness, trust and respect for her husband. And eventually she stands up and says No! Eventually, she condemns what’s going on. She even tries to get her husband to see the evil that he’s responsible for. But it’s too late . . . She has intuitions; she knows that people are being horribly mistreated. But she doesn’t look; she doesn’t want to see it because seeing it would implicate her husband, and it would implicate herself.
Writer John Boyne explains why he wrote the novel in the form he did:
It goes without saying that a work of fiction set in the time and place of the Holocaust is contentious and any writers who tackle such stories had better be sure of their intentions before they begin. This is perhaps particularly important in the case of a book written for children. For me, a 34-year-old Irish writer, it seemed that the only respectful way to approach the subject was through innocence, with a fable told from the point of view of a rather naive child who couldn’t possibly understand the horrors of what he was caught up in. I believe that this naiveté is as close as someone of my generation can get to the dreadfulness of that period.
This cautionary tale is about two boys, one the son of a commandant and the other a Jew, who come face-to-face at a barbed wire fence that separates, and eventually intertwines their lives. The novel is set during the Holocaust, Bruno is only nine-years-old when his father is transferred from Berlin to Auschwitz. The house at “Out-With,” as Bruno calls it, is small, dark, and strange. He spends long days gazing out the window of his new bedroom, where he notices people dressed in striped pyjamas and rows of barracks surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Bored and lonely, and not really understanding the circumstance of his new existence, Bruno sets out to explore the area and discovers Shmuel, a very thin Jewish boy who lives on the other side of the fence. An unlikely friendship develops between the two boys, but when Bruno learns that his mother plans to take her children back to Berlin, he makes a last effort to explore the forbidden territory where the boy in the striped pyjamas lives.
We have read and discussed the novel now so what do you think the moral or message of the novel is? What new insights and understandings does John Boyne want the reader to gain from reading this story?
10 Kim has read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas over the last two nights and I have been very impressed with their insightful discussion of the novel. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas depicts a fictional friendship set during World War II. Bruno, the son of a newly-promoted Nazi officer, moves with his family from a comfortable life in Berlin to a lonely existence in the countryside. An adventurous boy with nothing to do, Bruno ignores his mother’s instructions not to explore the back garden and takes off for a “farm” he has seen from his bedroom window. As he approaches a barbed wire fence, Bruno sees Shmuel, the boy in the striped pajamas, on the other side, and an unlikely and life-changing friendship develops. Author John Boyne describes his novel as a fable and explains, “considering the serious subject matter of this novel and the fact that I would be taking certain aspects of concentration camp history and changing them slightly in order to serve the story, I felt it was important not to pretend that a story like this was fully based in reality (which was also the reason why I chose never to use the word “Auschwitz” in the novel). My understanding of the term “fable” is a piece of fiction that contains a moral. I hope that the moral at the centre of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is self-evident to readers.”