Fairy tale tropes found in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I was reading the Holocaust book about a tiny kid of a Nazi who befriends a tiny imprisoned Jewish kid a few days ago, and was struck with the fairy-tale style it was written in. Apparently, it’s marketed as a fairy tale, too. I whipped up a few pointers on aspects of the writing that influenced the general feel, in case I ever feel like stealing it for my own fairy tales. All examples are from chapters ten and eleven, for those following along at home.

1. Capitalizing important phrases. “My sister is a Hopeless Case.”

2. Simple emotions starkly stated.

3. Confusingly simple and possibly lengthy chapter titles. “The Dot that became a Speck that became aBlob that became a Figure that became a Boy.” “Shmuel thinks of an Answer to Bruno’s Question.”

4. Clear connections reasonably stated, with both flaws and flawlessness obvious.

5. Blatant centrism: “my experiences are the right ones.” Tiny kids and Nazis have this in common.

Summation: be both confusing and simple at the same time. The resulting insta-childish feel makes for a great fairy tale style.

Advertisements