Themes of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas-Exploring Themes

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify a specific theme from the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and support their choices with details from the text. The novel deals with some of the more horrible aspects of war, and, in particular, The Holocaust. As a result, the novel is rich with important themes, from innocence and friendship, to boundaries and obedience.

As a classroom activity, students can track the rich thematic writing that Boyne uses throughout the book. In the example storyboard above, the creator has focused on Boyne's use of the following themes: innocence, boundaries, friendship, and conformity.


Examples of Themes in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas


Innocence

Bruno often shows his innocence and naivete when it comes to the atrocities around him. He doesn't seem to understand what is going on. He certainly doesn't understand that his father is in charge of the horrible treatment of the prisoners.


Boundaries

In addition to the physical boundaries, which the prisoners experience with the fences, there are also boundaries such as not speaking to non-prisoners and not taking food from them. After Bruno gives Shmuel chicken slices, Shmuel is accused of stealing them.


Friendship

“He looked down and did something quite out of character for him: he took hold of Shmuel's tiny hand in his and squeezed it tightly. "You're my best friend, Shmuel," he said. "My best friend for life.”


Conformity/Obedience

Despite the fact that Pavel (the once doctor, turned house servant) cleans Bruno's wounded knee, Mother says that she did it so that Pavel won't be punished by the soldier for touching a non-prisoner.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from the story.
  3. Create an image for examples that represent this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

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