Is the very best of humanity possible even in the most trying of circumstances?Please use examples in the novel to answer this question

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the very best of humanity is possible in even the most trying of circumstances.  I think that the Holocaust was one moment where the worst of human action dominated over the predicament, but in the midst of this, the best of human action was present.  In "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," the most powerful theme is the that of friendship and loyalty to one another.  This was one of the most important themes in the novel and one that highlights the idea that the best of humanity is present in even the most dire of conditions.  The friendship that is present is one that transcends the conditions of hatred and the very worst of human nature, leaving the reader with a bittersweet sensibility of only the best within it.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that people can absolutely show amazing qualities when they are placed in bad situations.

Bruno did not really understand what was going on when he moved to "Out With." He was not happy that he had to move. He had to leave his grandparents and his friends and this made him feel very lonely. 

Meeting Shmuel was a very good experience for Bruno, but he did not understand why there were people living behind the fence. Bruno showed courage and compassion when he brought Shmuel food. He also felt bad for Shmuel because he hadn't seen his father. He secretly went in to the camp to assist Bruno in the search for his father and ultimately ended in Bruno and Shmuel being led to their deaths.

mkcapen1 | Student

I would have to say that the Jewish doctor who was reduced to being a household servant demonstrated that a man can be the best of a man even in bad circumstances.  When the little boy fell he took him and helped him.  He was always gentle and demonstrated good manners.  I believe it was more than fear, but the need to show others that he was innately a good person.

The mother of the officer who was the commander over the concentration camp was very outspoken against the way that people were treating the Jews.  She even stood up to her husband and son.  She took her own life rather than live within the boundaries of what was happening around her.

The Schmuel was also a representation of the good in humanity.  He could have been an angry bitter child, but he was kind and caring.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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