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The Boy in The Striped Pajamas and Night: The Horrors of War Through Children's Eyes

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Children have an aura of innocence and carelessness, unless they are a child of war. No matter which side they’re on, winning or losing, the kids will witness something that’s horrible. Both the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and the book, Night, by Elie Weisel express a point of view of a child in war. Even though the two pieces contrast sides of the war, they also have similarities based off of their perspectives.

The book, Night, by Elie Weisel is an autobiography about his time during the Holocaust as a Jew. The novel begins when his life is normal, then takes a drastic turn for the worse when transferred to Auschwitz. It goes on to describe the horrors of the concentration camps and the cruel treatment by the Germans. However, the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne is about a young boy named Burno, the son of a Nazi commander. It tells of how he was blissfully ignorant and became friends with the “enemy.” Burno does the exact opposite of what a normal child of Nazi would do, by helping his Jewish friend in a camp right in his own backyard. Just by these summaries many can tell that there are a wide variety of differences between the two pieces.

One of the many differences in perspective between them are the races. Just based off of their origins it caused a lot of differences during this time because Elie was a Jew and Bruno was a German. There would obviously contrast because of the war and the Holocaust. Another difference was the ignorance of Bruno and the knowledge that Elie had of the situation. Bruno never did know what was happening and it cost him his life, and Elie’s information on the camps helped him survive because he knew what to avoid and sacrifice, unlike Bruno. Their perspective on the camp is also another difference. Bruno at first thought the camp was a farm and latter realized it was a camp for Jews, but never saw the full extent of cruelty. Elie, however, has a front seat to the treatment inside the concentration camps. Throughout these contrasting views there are a few similarities between the two.

Both boys saw these hardships through a child’s perspective, unlike most. They were involved in the war, to an extent, and because of this it caused a rift between themselves and their fathers. Another similarity is that they were both forced to move, yes, the reasons were very different, but it impacted them through removing the boys from their previous lives. They both lost their friends, family, and in the end their innocence because of the uprooting. Barbed wire fences in their lives is also a similarity. This was the first sign of the camps for the both, such as, the fence Bruno saw in his backyard and the wire wrapped around his old home in the ghettos. These similarities give the readers connections throughout the timeline, even though they have multiple contrasting views.

In conclusion, despite the numerous differences the two pieces still have some similarities in perspective. The novel, Night, and the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, gives us an insight into the Holocaust in two separate views. Elie’s mission was to tell the story of the dead to give them honor and impact the living, and the film also gave people the same feeling. Children are never the same after experiencing the terror of war, and Elie and Bruno were no exception.      

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Night: The Horrors of War Through Children’s Eyes. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
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