How do the opening and closing of chapter 2 have a parallel structure?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The parallel structure in chapter 2 can be seen in how Bruno feels about the world around him.  This new world is in stark contrast to what Bruno experienced in Berlin.  The exposition of chapter 2 focuses on Bruno's reaction to his home.  Described as an  “an empty, desolate place," Bruno's place in Auschwitz is one that strikes him as devoid of much in way of human contact and connection.  Such a description is an accurate one given the setting of Auschwitz and the death that surrounds the house.  After fully acclimating himself to the house, Bruno believes it to be  “the loneliest place in the world” and that there is “nothing to laugh at and nothing to be happy about.”

The closing of chapter 2 parallels this desolation.  When Bruno looks out the window at the end of the chapter, he is confronted with a vision that  makes him feel “very cold and unsafe” indeed.  This emotional experience is similar to how the chapter opened.  Boyne uses the parallel experience in both the opening and the closing of the chapter to make the reader understand what Bruno feels and how the personal emotions coincides with the historical condition of Auschwitz.  The use of the parallel structure in the chapter helps to establish the political and personal discomfort that will converge in the course of the narrative.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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