The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Questions and Answers
by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
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In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, compare Bruno's old home to his new home.

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In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the reader is introduced to this "empty, desolate place" to which the family has relocated and which does not appeal to Bruno at all. It is a sinister place foreshadowing the tragic events that will follow. Bruno loves to explore the house in Berlin with all its "nooks and crannies" but this house, in "Out-With," is much smaller with only three storeys, one bathroom, an average ground floor and a basement for the servants. It seems more like "the loneliest place in the world."

There is an office in the new house but Bruno never even finished exploring his father's office in their house in Berlin because it was always "Out Of Bounds At All Times And No Exceptions." This new office will no doubt have the same restrictions which means that Bruno's play area is much- diminished. Bruno loves the banister in the old house as he can slide all the way from the top (fifth) floor to the bottom and the view out of the window at the top - if he stands on his toes - is very different from the view from his window in the new house. 

Bruno cannot believe that this place is their new home and he thinks that "this was a bad idea." The house in Berlin is on a quiet street, in a neighborhood with similar houses and similar people to his own family, plenty of children with whom to be friends or to clearly stay away from and a familiar atmosphere. The new house has neither houses nor, consequently, friends nor "trouble." The house is "in the middle of nowhere." Bruno will also be far away from his grandparents at the new house as they live close to the old one.

In the new house, Bruno does nor feel at home, or safe and "no one looked as if they could ever be cheerful again." 

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yinhong9 | Student

The new house in its desolation also demonstrates that the evil things which Bruno’s father and his army do has to be done in ‘secret’. It is not openly discussed, and even for the people who stay around the town of Auschwitz, they may be aware of what is happening to the Jews but chose to keep quiet. It underlines that the Germans know that the things they do to the Jews are not right, but they choose an easy way out by blaming the Jews for the bad things that are happening.


This is in parallel comparison to the old neigbourhood in Berlin where Bruno’s family is staying. The old house is situated along a street where other families are and the view from the top floor is an open view. The adults and children communicate openly and there is no secrecy of evil going on.