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

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
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Identify a shared theme between The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and another text.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Using Lowry's Number the Stars, I think that Boyne's work shares the theme of heroism from children in the most adverse of situations.  Both works highlight this theme as an essential part of their composition.  For Lowry, Annemarie assumes leadership and heroism at a time when there is so little of it.  Annemarie does not capitulate to the Nazi fear of Jewish people, as this would result in terrible things for her friend.  Rather, Annemarie represents what should be as opposed to what is in the way she stands up for Ellen.  In a larger sense, she represents that which is transcendent and universal in a world of contingency.  In much the same way, Bruno embodies this in his relationship with Shmuel.  Bruno stands for what is honorable and transcendent in a world where there is only contingency.  For both Annemarie and Bruno, the ability to represent what should be as opposed to what is defines their heroism.  Their sacrifice becomes a model for adults, and, in turn, representative to the reader that literature of the Holocaust does not have to only believe in the power of the aggressors.  While rare, there can be stories of hope and redemption, seen in the themes out of Boyne's work and Lowry's.

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