The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By: John Boyne

Summary

This book is a tear jerking, hard hitting novel about a boy named Bruno and his families new life outside of a concentration camp in Poland. The book opens up into a German family whose father is greatly involved in the Nazi political party. Bruno, only being nine years old, doesn't know the full extent of what's happening right outside his home. As he starts to explore his new surroundings, he ends up finding things he never expected to find.

Character Analysis


  • Bruno – He is a nine year old boy from Berlin that moves to Poland because his father is the Military Commandant and they have to go and live by a concentration camp that the Jews are being held captive, but he is still confused and not sure why he is there. He is very curious and loves going on new adventures and discovering new things.
  • Mother - Bruno and Gretel's mother, snobby and knows what she wants and then gets it. Mother is tall with long red hair that is usually up. She is very dependant on their maid Maria. Did not speak of Father that much and tries to always look on the bright side. She also tries to hide what is going on from the children.
  • Father - The father of Bruno and Gretel, a Military Commandant. He and his family were re-located out of Berlin and into Poland right outside a concentration camp. He is always out or in his office that no one is allowed in. Also, he does not spend much time with his family, his work takes up most of his time.
  • Shmuel - A nine year old Jewish boy that is from Poland, he is very confuse on where he is and what he is doing in the concentration camp on the other side of the fence. He is stuck with hundreds of other families in this camp and has nothing for himself.

Interesting Quotes

  • “The thing about exploring is that you have to know whether the thing you've found is worth finding. Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone. Like a dead mouse at the back of the cupboard” (Boyne 105).
  • “The people I see from my window. In the huts, in the distance. They're all dressed the same.' 'Ah, those people,' said Father, nodding his head and smiling slightly. 'Those people...well, they're not people at all, Bruno.' Bruno frowned. 'They're not?' he asked, unsure what Father meant by that” (Boyne 53).
The Boy In the Striped Pajamas trailer

Common Themes

  • Innocence- The innocence of childhood is shown throughout this novel between Bruno and Shmuel.
  • Friendship- Friends can come from anywhere, even places you least expect it.
  • Discrimination- Discrimination is very prevalent throughout this novel between the Germans and the Jews.