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Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas fills the reader with conflicting emotions, including both hope and despair. Reading about the evolving friendship between Schmuel and Bruno shows consistently throughout the novel that children are, by nature, innocent, and that the hatred with which adults are so skilled is foreign to them. That concept fills a person with hope for the future. If we as a society can counteract the negative influences and stereotypes of our generation and those before, then we do, in fact, stand a chance of not reliving the egregious mistakes that others have made. The futility of their situation, and the way in which the novel ends, creates despair in the reader when realizing that while this particular instance may not have occurred, many children and families during that period did suffer in even worse ways than the author presented here. It is disheartening to realize that mankind's depravity can run rampant to that extent, and even more so to realize that we, as a society, haven't made as much progress away from that as one would hope.
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