Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the boy in the striped pyjamas

novel 2006
historical drama-film 2008


Bruno is a 9-year-old boy growing up during World War II in Berlin with his loving mother and father.[2] He lives in a huge house with his parents, his twelve-year-old sister Gretel (whom he refers to as a Hopeless Case) and maid servants called Maria and Pavel. His father is a high-rankingSS officer who, after a visit from Adolf Hitler (referred to in the novel as "The Fury", Bruno's misrecognition of the word "F├╝hrer") and Eva Braun, is promoted to Commandant, and to Bruno's dismay the family has to move away to a place called Out-With (which turns out to be Auschwitz).
When Bruno gets there, he feels a surge of homesickness after leaving behind his family, grandparents, and his 3 best friends for life: Karl, Daniel and Martin. He is unhappy with his new home. It only has three floors, there are always soldiers coming in and out of the house and there are no good banisters to slide down. His father's new office has a sign which reads: Out Of Bounds And No Exceptions. Bruno is lonely and has no one to talk to or play with and the house is so small that there is no exploring to be done. However, one day while Bruno is looking out of his window he notices a group of people all wearing the same striped pyjamas and striped hats or bald heads. As he is a curious child, Bruno asks his sister who these people are, but she does not know. His father tells him that these people are not real people at all, as they are Jews. Gretel has changed from a normal young girl into a strong Nazi with the help of her tutor, Herr Liszt, but Bruno does not seem to take the same stance as Gretel. He still prefers adventure books to history books. There is also a soldier called Lieutenant Kurt Kotler who is violent in his ways and shows his disapproval to the Jewish prisoner, Pavel. Pavel works around the house and is always treated badly by Lieutenant Kotler. One day Bruno falls off his swing and Pavel helps him dress the wound. Bruno, in his naivety, asks if his mother should take him to a doctor, meets a reply from Pavel saying that he is a doctor.
Bruno finds out he is not allowed to explore the back of the house or its surroundings, and his mother forbids him to do so. Due to the combination of curiosity and boredom, he decides to explore. He spots a boy on the other side of the fence. Excited that there might be a boy his age, Bruno introduces himself and finds out Jewish boy's name is Shmuel. He was taken from his family (his father came with him, his mother and his siblings are at home) and forced to work in Auschwitz. Almost every day, they meet at the same spot. Soon, they become best friends. Bruno and Shmuel even shared the same birthday. They are basically the same person born into different circumstances, one a Polish Jew, the other a German. Over the course of the book, Bruno shows a great deal of naivety whilst his friend Shmuel seems to have more knowledge of his surroundings as he has felt the suffering first-hand.
Bruno's mother persuades his father to take them back to Berlin after a year at their new home, while the father stays at Auschwitz. The story ends with Bruno about to go back to Berlin with his mother and sister on the orders of his father. As a final adventure, he agrees to dress in a set of striped pyjamas and go in under the fence to help Shmuel find his father, who went missing in the camp. The boys are unable to find him. Then the boys are mixed up in a group of people going on a march.
Neither boy knows where this march will lead. However, they are soon crowded into a gas chamber, which Bruno assumes is a place to keep them dry from the rain until it stops. The author leaves the story with Bruno pondering, yet unafraid, in the dark holding hands with Shmuel: "...Despite the chaos that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go."
In an epilogue, Bruno's family spent several months at their home trying to find Bruno, before his mother and Gretel return to Berlin, only to discover he is not there as they had expected. A year afterwards, his father returns to the spot that the soldiers found Bruno's clothes (the same spot Bruno spent the last year of his life) and, after a brief inspection, discovers that the fence is not properly attached at the base and can form a gap big enough for a boy of Bruno's size to fit through. Using this information, his father eventually pieces together that they gassed Bruno to death. Bruno's father then realizes what he was really doing, because of Bruno, and thought about his job as Commandant. Losing Bruno made him greatly depressed, and he stopped caring about his job. Several months later, the Red Army arrives to liberate the camp and orders Bruno's father to go with them. He goes without complaint, because "he didn't really mind what they did to him any more".

asa butterfield as bruno - the innocent curious boy

bruno and shmuel - in their different 'world'.

my note: watch! watch! watch!!! :)

thank you for reading .

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