Fairy tale or fable

Table of contents

Fairy tale

John Boyne said he considered his novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas a fable. However, the novel is in many ways more like a fairy tale. In fairy tales, one quickly recognizes who the bad guy and the good guy are in the story: the characters' traits are simplified and caricatured. Bruno, as in the fairy tale, takes the role of the innocent and naive hero. He is able to distinguish between right and wrong and between good and evil, because he feels, for example, that Kotler's inhumane behavior towards Pavel is wrong. 

However, Bruno does not see the injustice that is happening around him. He cannot understand the complexity of adults and the political situation. He has the naivety of a child. Like all children, he is loyal to his father: his father remains a good soldier for him, although Shmuel makes indirect remarks that this is not so.

The world of fairy tales does not have much to do with reality. Many fantastic details make the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas seem more like a fairy tale. A fairy tale is never without magic. In The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas people do not have magical abilities, but nevertheless, everything seems to happen simply and as if by magic. For example, the boys can easily put their plan into practice and Bruno has no difficulty getting to the other side of the fence. 

Shmuel "conjures up" a second prisoner uniform for Bruno without any problems so that he can sneak into the concentration camp unnoticed, disguised as a prisoner. Getting over the fence is also quite easy, as little Shmuel lifts up the barbed wire without too...

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