Essay about Use of Narrative in John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Essay about Use of Narrative in John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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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. Fu...


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...prejudice and indifference, but does so at the consequence of distorting the truth.

Thus, through the various distortions posed throughout The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne reveals many aspects of truth. Such distortions allow the author to evoke the audience’s emotion, portray the Holocaust to younger readers and communicate humans’ capacity for brutality and apathy. This is achieved by Boyne through the exaggeration of the innocence of Bruno, the misrepresented content of the novel as well as the distinctive voice of youth. Narrative, in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, is therefore presented as a device that distorts aspects of truth in order to reveal. However, in the end, it is the choice of the reader as to whether they will consider the narrative to be a ‘fable’ which reveals a message or an actual source of knowledge and truth.

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