Separation

Separation is another theme in John Boyne’s novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The theme of separation is illustrated by the presence of fences, which become an important symbol in the story.

Fences are used to delimit an area. On the one hand, they prevent unauthorized people from entering somewhere. On the other hand, fences are also used to prevent someone from leaving an area. Thus, a fence separates two spaces from each other, either only for a certain time or permanently. Originally, fences were built mainly to lock animals in.

The fences of the Nazi concentration camps were designed to keep Jews and other groups, because of their religion or political views, away from the German population. They were usually monitored around the clock by soldiers. Often the fences were also electrified. Any attempt to escape was punished with mistreatment or even death.

In The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the fence of the Auschwitz concentration camp has a significant function for the plot of the novel. A high fence separates Bruno from the strange people wh...

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