Use Of Narrative In John Boyne’s The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

1014 words - 4 pages

Narrative is a rhetorical structure that distorts reality in order to reveal it. This is an eminently evident actuality in John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Through this distortion, Boyne is able to evoke the reader’s empathy, portray the horror of the Holocaust to a younger audience and convey human’s capacity for inhumanity and indifference. This is achieved by Boyne, primarily through the exaggeration of innocence throughout the novel, the content presented to the audience, and the use of a child narrator. Thus, in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, narrative is presented as a composition that distorts in order to reveal.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, significantly distorts the truth of the Holocaust in order to evoke the empathy of the audience. This response is accomplished by the author through hyperbolizing the innocence of the nine-year old protagonist, Bruno. Through the use of dramatic irony, Boyne is able to both engage and involve the audience in the events of the novel. Although it is highly improbable that a son of a German high-ranking Schutzstaffel (SS) officer would not know what a Jew is and would be unable to pronounce both Fuhrer and Auschwitz, (which he instead mispronounces as ‘Fury’ and ‘Out-with’ respectively, both of which are intentional emotive puns placed by the author to emphasize the atrocity of the events), the attribution of such information demonstrates the exaggerated innocence of Bruno and allows the audience to know and understand more than him. This permits the readers to perceive a sense of involvement, thus, allowing the audience to be subjected towards feeling more dynamic and vigorous evocation of emotions and empathy towards the characters. Furthermore, this involvement allows the readers to expand their capabilities to apprehend and imagine the events of the Holocaust, hence ensuring that such events in history remain unforgotten. In this way John Boyne distorts the innocence of the protagonist in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for the purpose revealing the truth of the Holocaust by admitting the audience to envision and perceive aspects of it, as well as experiencing emotion. In The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Boyne further distorts fact to allow for a younger audience to conceive the novel.

John Boyne additionally distorts reality in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for the purpose of portraying the occurrence of the Holocaust to a younger audience. Boyne achieves this intention by distorting the content of the Holocaust, without completely removing its abhorrence and inhumanity. By allowing young boys to exist within the concentration camp as well as permitting the friendship of Shmuel and Bruno to continue for such a prolonged period of time, and even occur at all, makes the concentration camps appear more flexible and less lurid than in truth. Furthermore, the eradication of the aspect of death and torture of the Jews abates the horror and...

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