The English word ‘power’ comes from the Latin ‘posse’ meaning ‘to be able’. To have power refers to having the capacity and capability to do something and affect or influence change. It can be seen as good or evil, based on both the influence and its effects, but is accepted and exercised by humans as social beings on a regular basis. The novel ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’ incorporates different characters who exercise power and characters who experience the effects of power used upon them. Different roles of power and control are targeted throughout the book.
Throughout the book, a character who has a prominent aura of power and authority is The Fury. Placed on the very top of political hierarchy; his social status puts him up and above everyone else, instantly gaining power. The Fury uses his power to manipulate others, creating a false sense of goodness. He appointed Bruno’s father a job at Auschwitz and although it would mean moving and putting the entire family under risk, Father believed it was the right thing to do. Father was, in a sense, blinded by the importance the Fury carried. This can be shown by the amount of effort Bruno’s family spent to prepare for his visit. The Fury quotes Father as ‘a man to watch’ and someone who he had ‘big things in mind for’. The Fury used his power, authority and manipulation to gain the trust of Father.
‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’ is told from Bruno’s perspective and as a child, his innocence shines through his thoughts and speech. His innocence and oblivion to the world around him puts him under the power of those with more knowledge. When Mother breaks the news to him that they must move, Bruno asks questions and complains but in the end, it is Mother who has the final word. This reflects on how the Nazis kept the Jews completely in the blue. The Jews were oblivious to what was happening to them during the Holocaust and the Nazis used this as an advantage, gaining even more power.
When it comes to the Holocaust, one would usually associate the word power with evil and bad, however there is a ‘good’ side. While having power over other people eliminates equality, it also keeps things in line. Power is a reflection of one’s ability to focus, organise and direct energy towards selected goals and