What are the themes in The Painted Bird? And what is the setting?

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What a fantastic novel this is! (It's one of my very favorites.) In The Painted Bird, the Polish-born writer Jerzy Kosinski recounts his often terrifying existence as a boy abandoned by his Jewish parents (who have gone into hiding) during the Nazi occupation during World War II. The boy's parents send him to a friend in a large Eastern European city, hoping that he will live peacefully without being identified as a Jew by the Nazis. After the woman dies a few months later, the boy begins his journey from small village to small village--nearly always encountering violent punishments and witnessing atrocities that eventually cause him to become mute. Presumably, most if not all of the locations are in Poland, at that time occupied by the Germans.

Themes in The Painted Bird include coming of age, change and transformation, alienation and loneliness, strength vs. weakness, and violence and cruelty.

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