How is the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas structured?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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  John Boyne's novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is structured into twenty chapters that are in chronological order from the opening. Boyne himself describes his book as a fable, although it seems more of a parable with a moral lesson. It is told from the third-person omniscient point of view in which the reader knows mostly Bruno's thoughts and perceptions, but toward the end of the novel, after Bruno's untimely death, the thoughts of the father are revealed as he realizes what has happened to his son. 
     The point of view from an innocent's mind such as Bruno is the best way for Boyle to present the innocence of Bruno all the way to the end. With such an innocent as Bruno, there are some ironic similarities between the two boys, the son of the commandant of the camp and the son of an inmate in the concentration camp, a boy named Schmuel: they both have the same birthday, they are both lonely, they have many of the same desires for friendship and family and someone to share things. All Bruno sees in Schmuel is another boy like himself who is displaced. Using this naive approach of the boys who do not know the fate of the inmates or the purpose of Nazi Germany and the concentration camp, there are enough of the subtle parallels between the boys that suggests that fate could possibly have worked the other way for Schmuel and Bruno. By the fact that both boys suddenly find themselves in a death chamber together, these parallels are cemented and Boyle's point that it is only an arbitrary Fate that creates his parable of the Oppressed and the Oppressor in which no one is necessarily superior to the other as Bruno is mistaken for a Jew and sent to the chamber with the others.   

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