Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 11 January 2017

Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas presents ideas about World War 2 and the holocaust. The movie shows what fear and Punishment and the innocence of childhood would have been like during WW2 and the holocaust. During World War 2 and the holocaust, fear within the Jewish race was created by the soldiers. Soldiers had the power and right to abuse and attack the Jewish people “when it pleased them. ” Under Hitler, the soldiers had the next amount of ultimate power and used it to their advantage to pressure the Jewish people under the influence that if they misbehave they will be punished.

In the movie ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ this ‘fear’ is seen when Lieutenant Kotler walks into the dining room and sees Schmuel eating a pastry and Bruno talking to him. The Lieutenant is shot from a low camera angle to show his power and strength. Schmuel and Bruno’s eyes widen and jagged breaths escape from their mouths as the soldier interrogates them with his strong, stern voice about the pastry and the talking that was occurring, Because of the fear with which the lieutenant filled the boys, Bruno lies to Lieutenant Kotler because he is afraid of what will happen.

He betrays his only friend and Schmuel is the one who gets the beating for it. Fear is also shown in the film when Bruno’s mother discovers the true information of what it happening a few hundred metres from her home. She confronts her husband and is stricken with fear for what is happening to the Jewish race, she cowers in the corner in a foetal position as her husband come close to support her and explain himself. The camera is above her, which show how small and insignificant she is and how large and fearful her husband can be.

The fear created and explored in the movie “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” displays what it would have been like for the Jewish race during World War 2 and the Holocaust. The holocaust and World War 2 was a time of punishment and pain for the Jewish race. The Jewish race was punished for not fitting into Hitler’s idea of a “perfect race. ” Punishment wasn’t just for those who did something wrong. A Jew could be punished for looking at a guard the wrong way or making a small error that would be considered insignificant in any other situation.

Punishments could vary from a beating, to a bashing to the death chamber. In the movie ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ punishment on a Jew is seen when Lieutenant Kotler bumps the servant Pavel while he is pouring red wine. It’s not Pavel’s fault but because he is Jewish he is be blamed for the soldier’s mistakes. The Lieutenant drags the servant into the hall way and begins to bash him while the family are in the next room eating in silence, listening to the punishment that Pavel is enduring.

Another Example of Punishment in ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is when Lieutenant Kotler find Schmuel and Bruno talking in the dining room. The Lieutenant see’s Schmuel eating a pastry a questions the boys. When he finds Schmuel ‘guilty’ of stealing food he is taken away. The next day when Bruno goes on his adventure to the camp the audience can see that Schmuel has been punished for his actions.

Schmuel is shown to have had a beating and as a result he has a swollen eye with cuts and bruises all over his body. The Punishment that seen throughout “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” displays what it would have been like during the holocaust and World War 2 for the Jewish race. During World War 2 and the Holocaust children were put through a living nightmare, being exposed to killings, torture and punishment for something unknown to their innocent minds.

Children were not in the know, being put through a hell of a time and not being able to understand how they are different to their best friends of another race. The Innocence of a childhood is displayed in the ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ when the commandant and his soldiers are in the office watching the propaganda film created to persuade and demonstrate to the rest of the world that they are treating Jews with ‘excellent’ living conditions and an ‘average’ and ‘happy’ lifestyle.

When Bruno peeks in on the propaganda film, he is placed under the belief that where his friend Schmuel is living is a happy place with play areas, a cafe with excellent food and time is lost with all the ‘fun and games’ that they provide. When Bruno makes the decision to cross the electric fence and help his friend Schmuel who has lost his father, he discovers that the film he watched was actually a lie and doesn’t understand why everyone is so sad and the area is constantly monitored by armed soldiers.

Bruno is unaware of the situation and becomes scared and wishes to go home. In this time he discovers that everything he saw in the movie is a lie, the cafe, the play areas, the giggling children. Within “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” the innocence of a childhood is displayed by the propaganda film which inflicts the belief of a lie onto an innocent child who doesn’t understand the ways of the real world and his surroundings, this demonstrates how a childhood was influenced by lies during the Holocaust and World War 2.

The movie “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” displays the previous ideas of how fear, punishment and the innocence of a childhood creates a scene which demonstrate what World War 2 and the Holocaust would have been like for The Jewish race, soldiers, innocent children and the surrounding onlookers to the War that was taking place.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 11 January 2017

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