The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Discuss the effectiveness of narrator perspective in chapter 1 to 4

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In these first chapters, the reader is introduced to Bruno, the main character of the novel. Bruno is a precocious child who has clearly been spoiled by his parents and their comfortable lifestyle.

The adult reader of this novel who is familiar with history during this time period will recognize several things about the backstory of the novel that a child like Bruno might not understand. For example, the more knowledgeable reader knows that the Fury is really the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, who was the leader of Germany during World War II, the time period in which this novel is set. Further, the knowledgeable reader will also recognize the name of the house that Gretel mentions, Out-With, as Auschwitz, a notorious concentration camp in use during the war.

The author has gone a long way to establish the innocence of his main character in these early chapters. At the same time, the reader realizes that Bruno's parents are less than innocent. Bruno's father has accepted the command of a concentration camp where Jews were imprisoned and murdered during World War II and Bruno's mother has moved her family to this concentration camp despite her personal misgivings about the situation and accepts the use of concentration camp inmates as servants in her home. As innocent as Bruno may be, his parents are not despite their attempts to keep the truth of the father's job from the children.