What happens in chapter 5 of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This chapter focuses on Bruno's thoughts about his final morning in Berlin. His father has already left, and Bruno remembers how his mother is very nervous and regrets letting Hitler come to dinner. An official car transports the family to the train station. There are two trains there, and Bruno notes that around one, hordes of people gather with soldiers surrounding them, whereas the other one, where Bruno and his family are directed, is very comfortable and is almost empty. Bruno does not understand why some of the people in the other train can't go and sit in some of the empty seats in his train.

When they arrive, Bruno notes that his father is very smart in his uniform and is always surrounded by soldiers. Bruno however is so upset and confused by the view from his window that he goes to his father's office and taps on the door. Bruno tells his father how unhappy he is and how he wants to go home. When Bruno starts crying, his father tells him to trust in his judgement and to accept the situation. Bruno thinks that his father is being punished by being sent to Out-With, and his father laughs at Bruno and tells him to go back to his room. When he asks about the people he can see in pyjamas from his room, his father tells him that "they are not people at all" and he has nothing in common with them.

Bruno now leaves, although not fully understanding the answer. However, his father calls him back, and Bruno remembers to stand to attention with the "Heil Hitler" salute. Bruno doesn't understand what this means and believes it is just another way of saying something like "Goodbye and have a pleasant afternoon."

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