In Chapter 4 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, why is there no greenery in the distance after the fence?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The lack of greenery is one effective way that Boyne brings out the reality of Auschwitz that exists on the other side of the fence.  It is difficult to bring out what we now know of Auschwitz to the children who lack the vocabulary to effectively describe what it is they see.  In order to convey the reality of what the children see as the camps in Auschwitz, the imagery of barrenness and a desolate area where there is no greenery is how Auschwitz's terror is communicated.  This understanding is something that is enhanced by how Bruno and Gretel see the unhappiness in the children and the overall dismay experienced.  In communicating to the reader and to the children what Auschwitz looked like, there was the stunning lack of greenery, where no vegetation lived and nothing organic could grow.  It is this image that lingers in the children's mind, especially in Bruno's given how there is nothing but greenery before the fence and afterwards, there is this hollowness and barren condition of what Auschwitz represents to those who were cursed to have to endure and perish in it.


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