Who is the dynamic caricature in the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas is set in the World War II era and revolves around the relationship, and unlikely friendship, between two young boys, Bruno and Shmuel. Bruno is German and has had to go to Poland with his family as his father is a Commander in the German army. It is assumed that Bruno's father is instrumental in the running of Aushwitz, which Bruno calls "Outwith," and which concentration camp Bruno has no understanding of. His friend, Shmuel, actually resides in "Outwith," and, ironically Bruno is sometimes jealous of what he perceives Shmuel to have - such as friends; something Bruno sadly lacks in his new home: "You get to have dozens of friends and are probably playing for hours every day." Bruno has no understanding of his friend's pain when they meet at the fence, secretly, and imagines what he thinks it may be like inside the fence.

Bruno talks about "the Fury" and what he represents and this is a dynamic caricature of Adolf Hitler. The "Fury" means the Fuhrer and it is Bruno's simplification and innocence and the irony of such a word (fury), in this context, being indicative of Adolf Hitler's nature and the chaos and tragedy he caused, which increases the intensity of its meaning. 

“Heil Hitler," he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying, "Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon.”  

Bruno has no concept of the situation. The "Fury" comes to dinner at Bruno's home and Bruno can sense his unpleasantness, despite having no idea of the person behind the title ("The Fury"). 

The story revolves around the friendship which develops between Bruno and Shmuel but the reader is moved by the historical aspect of this fictional story and how Adolf Hitler's actions in real life and, "The Fury's" actions in the story, changed the face of humanity. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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