The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Questions and Answers
by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
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Examine how the theme of innocence and experience is portrayed in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

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Traditionally, the theme of innocence and experience is shown in literature when a character loses their innocence in a world of experience. Boyne's depiction of Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas defies this. The theme of innocence is shown to be a force that can withstand the horrors of experience, proving to be a transformative quality to demonstrate what can be in the face of what is.

Bruno views the world through the lens of innocence.  The questions he asks in the midst of Holocaust reflects this.  For example, Bruno questions power through his understanding of innocence:  "What exactly was the difference?...And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”   Another example of this is in the way in which Bruno views human beings:  "In his heart, he knew that there was no reason to be impolite to someone, even if they did work for you. There was such a thing as manners after all."  In these descriptions of Bruno's thinking, one...

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