Although it may not appear so, there are many biblical perspectives and scriptural examples found within “The Boy in Striped Pajamas”. The text explores the contrast between innocence, evil, and punishment within the characters, and uses biblical imagery to reinforce its point.
Within the movie, Bruno is portrayed as an expression of pure human innocence. Young, naïve, and ignorant of the crimes being perpetuated by his father, he is a reactionary agent within the plot of the film. As such, this portrayal is intentional, since it removes any sense of blame from the character and portrays him as merely an accessory of a crime beyond him. As such, his views are used to demonstrate the contrast between societal standards during the time and his own personal and naïve perceptions. Bruno is unable to realize why individuals act as they do, for his own experience are highly different than the propaganda pushed onto him my Herr Liszt. Unaware of the reasons for the hate towards the Jews, Bruno continues to show humanity within an otherwise brutally evil system.
The innocence of the character make him a perfect sacrifice for the crimes of his parents and society. This is a very biblical theme, as scripture is continually focused on an innocent sacrifice as the price required for sinful behavior. A lamb was used as a symbol of an innocent sacrifice, and this imagery is reinforced with the New Testament which represented Jesus as the sacrificial being needed to appease God for the crimes of humanity.
The evil conducted by his father is greatly contrasted by the innocence of the Bruno. While his father is actively engaged in the Holocaust, Bruno continues to befriend and maintain a friendly outlook toward Jewish individuals. As such, Bruno engages in his final sacrificial act to attempt to help Shmuel find his father in the concentration camp behind his home. Although Bruno was not aware of the consequences that the act would have on his well-being, it is a display of pure innocence and moral purity within his character. In this fashion, Bruno is portrayed as the sacrifice made inadvertently by his father for the evil that he has willfully conducted under the guise of governmental authority.
As such, the consequences of sinful behavior are made apparent within the plot from a biblical perspective. Bruno’s father is an individual who had achieved professional and personal success, but at a great personal cost. His evil actions had caught up to him, and all was taken away from him with the death of Bruno and the advancement of the Red Army in the eventual aftermath of the Holocaust. Through his death, Bruno allows his family to feel the pain that they have caused upon others, and to sympathize with the loss created by the countless deaths at the extermination camp. Through a biblical perspective, the death of Bruno is purely caused through the sowing of seeds, and the reaping of his own destruction through willful self-destruction.
Ultimately, the plot of The Boy in Striped Pajamas can be critically examined from a biblical perspective given the nature of the actions of the characters. As such, this gives a much deeper insight in to the roles that the characters played and their relation to one another.