The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Book by John Boyne, Report by Aubrey DeBraal

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Setting: Takes place during the Holocaust in a house outside of Auschwitz.

Characters: Bruno, Shmuel, Gretel, Lieutenant Kotler, and Bruno's parents.

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Bruno misses his old house in Berlin.

He hates that his family had to move clear to "Out-With" away from all of his friends and his other family. He also hates that the new house is only three stories tall and the house in Berlin is five stories tall. The only thing he doesn't miss is his older sister's friends who always picked on him. He especially hates that from his house he can see tall chimneys and other children on the other side of a tall fence, but he his not allowed to go visit them. One day Bruno breaks the rules and journeys over to the fence. This decision changes his life forever. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a book about a friendship between a German boy, Bruno, and a Jewish boy, Shmuel. Bruno's dad is a soldier and works on the other side of the fence where Shmuel lives. Throughout the book, Bruno and Shmuel build a friendship and talk about their lives before moving to "Out-With." At the end of the book, Bruno goes under a gap in the fence and joins Shmuel's side of the fence. This ends up being a fatal mistake.

What is the genre of the book?

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is fiction, but could have happened.

What was the author’s purpose for writing this book?

I think John Boyne wrote this book to show the innocence in the children toward the Holocaust. All throughout the book Bruno called Auschwitz "Out-With" and he called Hitler "the Fury" instead of "the Führer."

Did you notice reoccurring symbols? What were they?

I did notice reoccurring symbols. In the book Bruno notices that the soldiers have red, black, and white armbands with a black symbol on them (swastika) whereas the Jews have an armband with a different symbol on them (the star of David).

What did enjoy about the book?

I enjoyed the connection that Bruno and Shmuel shared. They were from totally different upbringings and had different social statuses but they still enjoyed each others' company.