March 5, 2008

Posted in Boy in Striped Pajamas at 5:44 am by mrsavery

I have a love hate relationship with this book. The language, the voice, the contrast of Bruno’s innocence against the reality of the times -all amazing. Another part of me, however, is upset because as a young adult book, if the reader isn’t aware of the horror of Hitler’s reign, it is really glossed over. The innuendo is there, as when on page 148 Pavel, the waiter suffers the rage of Lieutenant Kotler, Boyne simply writes, “What happened then was unexpected and extremely unpleasant… and not even Father stepped in to stop him doing what he did next , even though none of them could watch.”

The current generation of young adults is far removed from the memories of that era – their great grandparents era – and they don’t study the Holocaust until high school. I guess I question how a preteen or early teen would interpret the story. Or at what level they would grasp it. Does this make sense? I actually laid awake thinking about it. The book has definitely had an impact on me! (I must confess – I did finish it already…)

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4 Comments »

  1. cakequeen2 said,

    Colleen, it may allay your fears about the younger generation not knowing of the horrors that were incurred when I tell you that educating the younger generation happens every day, and closer than you think.I know that Pawling Schools teach this era in the eighth grade, as did I when I taught 8th grade ELA. It meets the criteria for NYS curriculum standards, and it is a great stepping stone to the World History curriculum in the 9th and 10th grades.I know of many of my colleagues that use both “Anne Frank” and “Night” as teaching tools, with a pretty hefty vocabulary. As Anne Frank herself said, “I believe in the goodness of people, no matter what”…… and maybe the rememberance of this grisly time is all we need to keep it from ever happening again.

  2. mrsavery said,

    I know DHS uses Night and Anne Frank as well – I guess when I think young adult I think 6,7th graders. We do all have a responsibility to humankind around the world to keep the rememberance alive – and I take that responsibility seriously.

  3. Ms. Davis said,

    Oh my gosh – the other day during a class, students had to check out a biography of a famous female. One of our students chose Anne Frank, and I asked him if he knew who she was, and he said he didn’t. So I asked the class if they knew, and nearly all of them acted like they’d never heard her name. One person raised her hand and although she didn’t have it quite right, she’d heard of Anne Frank and had a glimmer of understanding of who she was. I thought it was so weird that most of the class had no idea who she was… but I guess as fifth graders, they hadn’t been exposed to it yet? It’s hard for me as a new teacher to wrap my head around what our students know and don’t know. I feel like there are things that people should KNOW, and I am always confused when they don’t. Of course, people aren’t born KNOWING things, which makes our job that much more essential.

    On my trip this summer, I will be going to the house where Anne Frank and her family hid in Amsterdam. I know that it will be a very powerful experience, but one which I highly anticipate. I am thinking that I will re-read her diary soon so that it is fresh in my mind when I go.

  4. Ms. Davis said,

    PS – I just asked my 16 (almost 17) year old sister if she would read the book and give us some feedback on this issue. I’ll be interested to hear how she responds to it.


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