Show MoreFriendship is not something that has adapted overtime. The desire to seek out and surround us with other human beings, our friends, is in our nature. Philosophers such as Aristotle infer that friendship is a kind of virtue, or implies virtue, and is necessary for living. Nobody would ever choose to live without friends even if we had all the other good things. The relationship between two very different young boys, Bruno and Shmuel’s in the film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an example of the everlasting bond of a perfect friendship based upon the goodness of each other. This film portrays one of humanity’s greatest modern tragedies, through heartache and transgression, reflecting various themes through out the movie. Beyond the minor…show more content…
With little left after Bruno and his family are forced to leave their comfortable life in Brelin and move to the countryside due to the promotion of his soldier-father, the adventurous boy becomes anxious and curious to explore his new surroundings (Herman, 2009). Even after being scolded on multiple occasions for wandering too far, Bruno finds himself meeting another eight-year-old boy. But this was not just any other friend, this boy was trapped in by an electric barbed wired fence, his head shaved completely and was dressed in what looked to be striped pajamas, according to Bruno. Shmuel was a Jewish boy, trapped in a camp specifically ran by Bruno’s father. After multiple trips and days of playing and talking, the two children become friends, and not long after did Bruno begin to understand the severity of Shmuel’s circumstances. Bruno begins to question the righteousness of his Commandant-father, resulting in consequences due to the “forbidden” friendship, not just for the two boys but also for their families.
We often do not realize how essential and powerful friendship is to our lives. Aristotle claims that no individual would chose to live without friends even if the individual had all the other good things in life. He found that friendship is a virtue that is needed and desired by humans in order to reach a peaceful state of mind (Aristotle, 1999). For
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas continues a literary tradition of exploring the evils of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child. In the same vein as Jerry Spinelli's Milkweed, this novel contrasts the dichotomy of man's inhumanity to man with man's capacity to care and love.
Author John Boyne has said that he believes that the only way he could write about the Holocaust respectfully was through the eyes of a child. He does so masterfully in this novel, demonstrating how Bruno and Shmuel maintain the innocence of their childhood in spite of what is happening around them. Boyne acknowledges that the only people who can truly comprehend the horrors of the Holocaust are those who lived through it. Boyne's novel gives a voice to the victims, especially the millions of innocent children who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
What makes The Boy in the Striped Pajamas so effective is that rather than examining the big picture of the Holocaust and its atrocities, the novel instead focuses on individual relationships and gives readers an intimate portrait of two innocent boys seeking the same thing: friendship. Readers are cautioned, however, that even though the novel is about two nine-year-old boys, the novel is most definitely not geared toward this age group. The novel's devastating conclusion is not only beyond children's ability to comprehend but also in defiance of their worldview.
Interestingly, Boyne classifies The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as a fable, a story that bears a moral lesson. This is a fitting category for the novel as it imparts many lessons. Among these valuable lessons, perhaps the most significant is the final sentence which suggests that "nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age." It forces readers to confront the grim reality that hatred, discrimination, and intolerance remain potent forces in the world. Readers consequently consider their own prejudices and actions, perhaps wondering if they have been guilty of mistreating others. Additionally, some may even consider what their role might have been in the Holocaust: bystander, resister, perpetrator, or victim.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has received much acclaim. The novel won two prestigious awards in Boyne's native Ireland: Children's Book of the Year and People's Choice Book of the Year. In addition, the book was short-listed for numerous awards, including the Ottakar's Children's Book Prize, the British Book Award, the Paolo Ungari Prize, and the Border's Original Voices Award. Additionally, the novel spent 80 weeks at number one in Ireland and topped the New York Times best-seller list. The film adaptation, released by Miramax in 2008, received many independent film awards and much critical praise.