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Friday, June 3, 2022

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: An Essay To Be Read



Nowadays, changing dynamics of war have been increasingly affecting civilians who are being considered as no more than “collateral damage”, but have become an explicit and direct target of weaponry. Warfare now includes the activities of both the governmental army and non-state paramilitary forces and militias, of different origin and ideological orientation, which are perpetrating atrocities and acts of terror on civilians, sometimes on an everyday basis. 

Many of these conflicts are protracted, causing whole generations to grow up in war zones or refugee camps, taking as an example the jewish children who were forced to live in concentration camps during almost 5 years as World War II developed. 

These kids, who are just getting started with their lives, in a common scenario would be playing around with each other, eating ice cream, spending quality time with their parents, and enjoying life overall, instead though, they have to be worried about surviving each and every day of their lives just because us, as humans, can’t learn how to properly live in a society.

According to a United Nations study, targeted civilians during wars are mainly children and adolescents younger than 18 years of age. In 1996, UNICEF stated that in the period from 1985 to 1996, 2 million children had been killed in war, 5 million had been left disabled or severely wounded, 12 million children were displaced or made homeless and 1 million lost their parents or were separated from them.

Losing their protective and secure environment has exposed children to all the mentioned consequences of armed conflict. Displacement, loss of home and family members, and separation from parents, on whom they depend for their survival needs, leaves long term consequences on their development and growth, lasting well into adulthood. Since children and adolescents are still in development, both physical and psychological, their health is seriously endangered in war.

Bad conditions can also make the children stronger though, because as we can see in stories such as “The kid in the striped pajamas”, this little humans always have a way to make friends and have fun among unfortunate situations, even though Bruno and Shmuel weren’t even close to be in the same position, they managed to create a beautiful friendship.

To sum up, a conflictive situation is not actually beneficial for any part involved in it, because the children that get affected by it are the same adults who will rule the countries involved in the war years later, and those traumas produced by the conflict will surely reverberate on the decisions that they take along their lives and when in charge of high positions.

By Juan Sebastián

Mengual Solano,

Step 10 Blue

Another Essay


 How can war and conflicts affect a child's mindset?

By Isabella and Sofía, Step 10 Blue

War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Now that we understand what a war is; How can war and conflicts affect a child’s mindset? How it will affect their lives?

Children who suffer from war experience extreme anxiety, fears, loss of self-esteem; some develop rage and hostile behavior patterns. 

A study carried out with Syrian refugee minors in Jordan reveals that 26.3% felt "so desperate that they did not want to continue living".

Indirectly in a war: Actually, there are many conflicts in our world. Children, as usual, likes to use social media for many reasons, one of them is to know what’s going on in the world. The

Directly in a war: Since children and adolescents are still in development, both physical and psychological, their health is seriously endangered in war. Some of them are killed or tortured brutally, while others suffer from serious injuries, sometimes leaving them disabled. Armed conflicts also lead to the destruction of infrastructure and basic services (such as hospitals and schools), which prevents children from having access to education, health and other care.

Two million minors have died in the last decade due to war, six million have been injured and 30 scenarios continue to host armed conflicts in which the physical and mental health of these children is endangered at every step. What will the children who see how they die every day think? Is that correct? Children grow up believing that the only way to survive is war and killing each other.  Countries care about their economy, territories, etc, but not about their citizens. Not for the little children who will grow up traumatized by this.

Finally, we can come to the conclusion that all conflict affects us both physically and mentally.  Especially the children. They grow up in an environment of war, they are filled with insecurities where they believe that they will not be safe anywhere and may even think that a war is the only solution to things.


How can war and conflicts affect a child’s mindset? Essay.



Children are known for their innocence, huge imagination and genuine being. War and conflicts are the exact opposite of them. They’re cruel, ruthless and brutal. The impact violence has in adults minds is enormous. A lot of soldier’s testimonies after going to war are truly worrying; most of them end up going back home with traumas, nightmares and even mental disorders caused by the horrifying scenes they experienced with their own eyes. Considering this, let’s associate it with kids. The causes and effects of world confrontations surely leaves an indirect (and even direct) massive footprint on their mindset.

To start with, children are dependent on their parents; care, attention and time. That attachment is ripped out during times of war, due to the loss of parents, family trying to find subsistence or emotional unavailability. Also, it’s taken away their opportunity of a worthy education, which could lead to loss of cognitive capacity and a social life.

Exposure to different types of violence, the duration of the conflict, and the nature of experienced and witnessed traumatic events are all associated with the onset and severity of mental disorders among conflict-affected children. (...) Overall, the most common mental disorders reported among children exposed to conflict are PTSD and depression. Other reported disorders include acute stress reactions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), panic disorder, anxiety disorders specific to childhood, and sleep disorders. (Islam, N., 2019).

We can find a clear example of these tough circumstances among the pages of the book The Boy In The Striped Pajamas written by John Boyne (2006). Bruno, due to Father having “pending issues” and being transferred to this new town, had to leave his whole normal life behind. He had to say goodbye to his regular schooling, his friends and the place he called home.

All of those events happened, while he was being ignorant of the real situation and being kept out of the light, of the truth right in front of his window.

That’s when he meets Shmuel; the kid from the other side of the wire fence. Both of them oblivious and unaware of their surroundings, seeing life as a playground. The saddest part is that they died at the end, neither of them knowing nor even imagining the things they were facing and how messed up the world out there was.

Bruno thought he had it all, Shmuel knew he had nothing. Until they found each other.

By Alejandra Castro, Step 10 Blue

Essay On Children's Mental Health As A War Consequence


 How can war and conflicts affect a child's mindset?

According to National Geographic, a war is a  violent conflict between states or nations. Sociologists usually apply the term to such conflicts only if they are initiated and conducted in accordance with socially recognized forms.

War affects children in all the ways it affects adults, but also in different ways. First, children are dependent on the care, empathy, and attention of adults who love them. Their attachments are frequently disrupted in times of war, due to the loss of parents, extreme preoccupation of parents in protecting and finding subsistence for the family, and emotional unavailability of depressed or distracted parents (J. Santa Barbara).

Eighteen million children have grown up in war zones, where two million have died, six million have been permanently disabled and one million have become orphans, according to organizations like UNICEF.

“The physical, sexual and emotional violence to which these children are exposed shatters their world. War undermines the very foundations of children’s lives, destroying their homes, splintering their communities and breaking down their trust in adults” said Graca Machel. For children, losing their homes is something so rare that it is traumatic. 

Psychologist Michael Wessells says, “One of the greatest effects I see on a day to day basis is a loss of hope. Once young people feel hopeless, they really do give up. They don’t take steps that might build a constructive future”. The children believe that there is no way out.  They can only fight wars to get something, they think it's the only way to obtain something.

Finally, we realize how all the actions that governments take (actions that end in conflicts or wars) directly affect children.  They are just growing up and they grow up in an environment of violence, coming to believe that it is the only thing they can do, that there is no more hope in this world. We as people and new generations are in charge of stopping this type of life, of helping children to grow up in a healthy and peaceful environment, where they are not in danger of dying.

María Mónica and
Nick Madiedo.
Step 10 Blue

Essay on The Boy In The Striped Pajamas


 The book "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" shows themes of humanity, innocence and friendship through the eyes of the son of a Nazi commander who has just moved into "Out-With". This book deals with a topic as important and painful in our recent history as the holocaust. Not from an historical point of view, nor from an adult point of view but it captures the hint of the holocaust in which it has a great impact on our emotions and innocence. This is a story written from the perspective of a 9 year old boy, who lived during World War II.

To contextualize, the Second World War, which occurred between 1939 and 1945, was one of the most ruthless events that occurred in the history of humanity, due to the consequences it left behind and the importance in the 

global impact of the countries involved. The war occurred mainly due to the moral, ideological, economic and demographic consequences that were manifested after the First World War (1914-1918), and due to the strong discriminatory waves that emerged in Germany that it would later spread to its allies, consisting of a strong rejection towards the Jews and other minorities that according to such thinking did’nt belong to the historical and cultural body of Germany; thus being persecuted and blamed for the country's problems.


How can war and conflicts affect a child's mindset?

Alone and defenseless in the chaos, some are forcibly recruited into militias and others are exploited. The fundamental rights of these children are blatantly ignored, to the benefit of barbaric and cruel acts. Many of them end up deeply traumatized, badly injured and even disabled.

Consequently, many of these children suffer from sleep disorders, panic attacks, headaches or stomach aches, anxiety and changes in their personality that point to increasingly aggressive behavior. They also present loss of meaning in life, feelings of hate, despair, contempt, anger, rape trauma syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, persistent personality transformations after catastrophic experiences, anguish, depressive disorders.

In conclusion This book not only makes us reflect on the various barriers that human beings have placed throughout history that have separated us from each other for a long time, but also gives us a life lesson, in which it teaches us that it is possible to rediscover the illusion even when we believe that everything is lost. Like many other stories about the concentration camps of the Nazi era, this book conveys the importance of developing our inner richness and giving value to the small details, those that we often overlook in our busy daily lives. "The boy in the striped pajamas" teaches us the value of looking inward in search of meaning and not losing faith in humanity because even in the most difficult circumstances it is possible to find a shoulder in a friend.

By Catalina Botero and Jazmín Ruíz, Step 10 Blue

My Horror Story



Jacob was a teenager that loved paranormal activities, but this was something that he feels that makes him investigate more about . Jacob was in 10th grade and he was a good student that always had good grades, but what principaly makes him read and study is his love for paranormal activities. Jack was his best friend and he always wanted to join Jacob in a paranormal activity somewhere, but as they were in school, they couldn't do it.

One day Jacob proposes to Jack to investigate a house to see what is happening but Jack refuses because he had to take care of his little brother Adam and he couldn't do it. The next day, they met in the house at 6pm, everything looked normal from the outside but the thing that took their attention was a stain of blood in the entrance of the house. They started to try to enter the house but the house was locked and the only way to enter was through the window that was located in the backyard and that window is the one that connects the basement with the outside world. Jacob decided to enter  to investigate more about this case and instantly Jack refused because he thought that entering the house without any equipment could be dangerous, they have only their phones with flashlights and that's it.

One day later, they came back with the things they needed and they entered the house. As they enter into the basement the environment changes abruptly, somehow the window closes and they realize that they were trapped in the house. Jacob and James divided tasks and suddenly, the lights of the house were off, so anyone couldn't see in the darkness. Luckily they brought flashlights and they continued with the tasks.

As they were climbing the stairs to go to the main floor, they heard voices all over the kitchen and the living room. They thought there were people living there but as they opened the door, the voices cut off instantly. James instantly saw the thing that moved and took a picture. Jacob felt something behind and he started running to the front door, but when he looked back, James was lying on the floor with a big stain of blood and a knife in his chest. He rapidly took the camera and ran to escape from the entity. When he tries to escape he starts crying because he was like his brother and the person who helped him in the bad times. Jacob concludes the case with the name of the mysterious entity.

By Alfonso Isaza, Step 9 Blue