In the movie version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, how does the opening scene of Bruno and his friend represent their innocence?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The movie version of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas is based on John Boyne's original novel which traces Bruno's short life as he, a German and son of a Nazi Commandant, becomes a victim of Nazi Germany's attempts to annihilate the Jews. John Boyne never intended the book to be factual but was criticized for his inaccuracies and oversights as the book has such a serious historical theme .

At the beginning of the movie, set during World War II (WWII), Bruno is running through the streets with his friends, oblivious to the danger that could lurk around the next corner. As yet, he has no idea that the family will be moving and he will not see his friends again. 

The story is intended to make readers or movie-watchers appreciate that the concept of WW II is so appalling that the horror of it cannot be conceived. Many people in Germany were much like children in their acceptance of Hitler's methods during WW II and, because they never asked questions or dared to defy the regime, they unwittingly became complicit in it. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Bruno's scene with his friends, highlights what can happen if people use their ignorance as their defense. Bruno and his friends, despite appearances to the contrary, remain unaffected by the fact that Berlin is a target for Allied forces. They are unsupervised. This stresses their innocence as they are children, not evil perpetrators of terrible injustice. Bruno is so sheltered that, even when he meets Shmuel, he has no concept of what is taking place. 

Tragically, this will shape his future. Running in the street with his friends reveals Bruno's absolute trust in what his parents stand for and also highlights the misplaced trust of so many who, in reality, allowed Hitler to commit such heinous crimes unchecked by those who are supposed to know better. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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