The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Project Created by: Jedeiah Dickerson
Annotated book review
In the historical fiction novel The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne, nine-year-old Bruno must explore his new environment in order to gain an understanding about the fence separating his family and these people in striped pajamas. The author did a great job keeping the readers entertained and on there toes!
Bruno’s journey begins in the city of Berlin, Germany, 1942. He was living a perfect life until he received news that he, his sister, Gretel, his Mother and Father were moving away from Berlin. Bruno is devastated and refuses to try to like the idea of moving. Bruno‘s family moves to a strange area that is known as “Out-with” or Auschwitz. Bruno dislikes every aspect of his new home. Every time he tries to make the best of his situation, it’s “not allowed”. He is constantly missing his friends and family back in Berlin, and wishes to go back to his real home. This feeling continues for a while until one day he decides to go against his parent’s rules, and go exploring outside of the house. He comes across the gigantic fence that he only sees from his window, which separates his family and these people with striped pajamas. As he approaches the fence, he meets a little boy named Shmuel. They find out they are the same exact age and share the same birthday. As their conversations evolve, they both learn a lot about each other’s drastically different lives. Bruno and Shmuel continued to sneak away from their chaotic worlds, daily, to spend their evenings together, and eventually becoming best friends.
Bruno finally starts to enjoy his home at “Out-with”, but as soon as he does, he receives new news that he and his family are moving back to Berlin. This is unfortunate for Bruno, because he knows that he might not ever get to see Shmuel again. So, they day before Bruno moves, he and Shmuel think up a risky plan. They decide that Bruno will dress up like Shmuel, so, he’ll be able to experience life on Shmuel ‘s side of the fence. Everything runs smoothly until something happens when... Sorry, I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens next!
In my view, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was a great book, but I had a few problems with in. In some points in the book the author wasn’t as clear as I wished. The author wrote in the view of Bruno and spelled some words as if a nine-year-old actually spelled them. For example, “the Fury” would show up quite frequently in the book and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to say. I actually had to research some words the author wrote so I could comprehend the book correctly. Another problem that I had was the ending. I was sort of confused about the end to the point where I had to reread it multiple times to try to understand what happened. In fact, I didn’t understand what happened at the ending until I watched the movie after reading my book. Things like this threw me off, while reading this novel, making it hard to understand.
The novel might have had some issues with it, but I loved many aspects about it. I loved how Boyne kept leading readers to what would happen next, and then writing something unexpected to add some suspense to the story. I also liked how the author incorporated historical events to the novel. It added to the whole effect of the book. I also loved his whole writing style. I was completely engaged in this book and it encouraged me to be more interested in history. Also the author made it a relatable to the readers. For example, Bruno didn’t want to move Berlin because that was all he knew. His whole family was there. I know that’s how I felt when my family moved. I also really liked the overall theme to the book. The theme I received was to not be so negative about change and give new things a chance, because you might actually enjoy it. I think Bruno learned that it’s okay to switch things up, because you can experience and learn new things that can help you grow as a human being.
Overall I think that this book was a fantastic book! It constantly kept me on my toes and it was certainly page turner. I think the author did a great job of engaging the readers and getting the theme across. It really showed readers to give change a chance. I give this book a four and a half, and I highly recommend The Boy in the Striped Pajamas!
Historical Accuracy Analysis
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a fantastic historical fiction novel. Though the question is, how accurate is it? So, I took it upon my own hands and did a little research myself. I found out that this novel is actually pretty accurate. For instance, the author, John Boyne, described the clothes Shmuel and the other Jews wore perfectly. In the book, the Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp wore gray striped tops and bottoms, which had a number and a start on them, with a matching hat. When I researched what Jewish prisoners wore in the 1940’s, they wore the exact same thing as the Jews in the novel wore. Also, in the novel, the part that Shmuel was in, there were only men and boys there. So, I researched if men and women were separated during the Holocaust. I then found out that men and women were separated from each other during the Holocaust. I found a lot of other things that were accurate, like the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”, the concentration camp was surrounded by an electrical fence, the camp was located in Poland, etc.
This novel wasn’t completely accurate. It had a few hits and misses with its facts. For example, Shmuel was nine years old and did a lot of labor at the camp. I found out that children had to be at least twelve years old to be able to work at the concentration camps. If the children were too young or too weak to work, they were often killed. I also did some research about the electrical fence that surrounded Auschwitz. I discovered that it would have been impossible for Bruno to get under the electrical fence, and if he tried, he’d immediately be electrocuted. Plus, Shmuel wouldn’t have been able to deliver clothes to Bruno, because he would have been caught. There would have been too many soldiers and guards at the camp for Shmuel to deliver clothing to Bruno, let alone sneak away to get to the fence. Even though The Boy in the Striped Pajamas had some inaccuracy in its history, it was over all accurate.
Holocaust: Death Marches
During the Holocaust, Germans did many terrible things to Jews in many ways. Particularly, Germans killed millions of Jews in many ways. One of the known ways Germans would kill Jews by taking them on Death Marches. These “marches” killed thousands of Jews at a time. Germans would start off by evacuating prisoners. Once they were evacuated, they weren’t told where they were going. All they knew at the time was if they made a little mistake, they would automatically be killed. During the marches, Jews were forced to march at a run. Some people who were very ill or too weak to stay with the crowed lagged behind. If a soldier spotted a weak Jew, they were immediately shot and killed. Prisoners were taken on at most eighty mile marches. Most of the time, only a fourth of Jews would survive. For all the prisoners that survived, they were either taken to camps deeper in Poland or Germany to be gassed, beaten to death, or worse. If Jews weren’t killed at the end, they would praise God silently that they were alive.
Work Cited Page
"AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU." News / Museum / Auschwitz-Birkenau. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Digital image. Booksamillion.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2016.
Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. N.p.: David Fickling, 2006. Print.
Death Marches. Digital image. Ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Museum, n.d. Web. 9 May 2016.
History.com Staff. "Auschwitz." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 01 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.
Memorial Museum. "Death Marches." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.
Memorial Museum. "Forced Labor." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.
Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Death Marches." About.com Education. About.com Publishers, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 May 2016.