set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

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Which group would be considered "othered" throughout the novel and why? How is the treatment of the "other" group represented in the story?

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Boyne's novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is considered historical fiction and is set in Europe during the early 1940s. During this time period, Nazi Germany controlled large sections of Europe and attempted to annihilate the Jewish population in what was called the "Final Solution." In the novel, Boyne depicts an unlikely friendship between a German boy and a Jewish prisoner who is in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Jews would be considered the group that is "othered" throughout the novel because they are persecuted and oppressed. The Nazis were prejudiced against the Jews and wanted to annihilate the entire Jewish population. Jewish prisoners were confined inside the massive fence surrounding Auschwitz where they were forced to work inside the concentration camp. The Jews suffered from malnutrition and were also subjected to violent beatings. Jewish prisoners were also forbidden from interacting with Germans without given permission. Boyne represents this prejudice towards the European Jews by depicting the limits on their freedom and portraying the harsh treatment inflicted on them by the Nazi soldiers.

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