Why does Boyne use flashback in chapter 11 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas to show what occurred when the Fury came to dinner?

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a novel written by John Boyne. It was first published in 2006.

The book is written from a limited third-person perspective, following Bruno and the events surrounding him. However, there are some occasions in the novel when the author uses flashbacks in order to allow the reader to learn what happened previously. This is also the case in chapter 11.

In chapter 11, “the fury” comes to visit. In fact, this “fury” is none other than Adolf Hitler himself. However, as Bruno is only a young boy, he struggles pronouncing his title properly, which is why he mispronounces “the Führer” as “the fury.”

The reason why this chapter is written as a flashback is because it allows the author to share with the reader what has happened in the past. It allows the reader to get to know the political views of Bruno’s parents better. Through this chapter, the reader learns that Bruno’s father, a Nazi officer, was clearly highly appreciated within the Nazi party—otherwise Hitler would not be coming to visit them.

Through the flashback, the author shows the reader how Bruno’s family was very much in support of the Nazi party and Hitler himself. Like many other Germans at the time, Bruno’s parents are in awe of Hitler and see it as a great honor that he is going to come for dinner. We can see that through the excitement that follows the father’s announcement that Hitler has “invited himself to dinner.” For example, the mother’s reaction clearly shows her excitement: “mother's eyes opened wide and her mouth made the shape of an O.”

At the same time, the flashback underlines Bruno's innocence further, as his mispronunciation of "the Führer” shows his naivety and innocence.

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