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

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
Start Your Free Trial

If the time/place changes during The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, explain how this happens. Does it better serve the story? How?

Expert Answers info

Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write1,002 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The time and place does indeed change over the course of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This is done through a couple of flashbacks, wherein Bruno's life and significant events surrounding it are explored. The time of the flashbacks varies, but both take place in the city of Berlin, a location for which Bruno feels an incredible sense of longing and nostalgia.

In the first flashback, Bruno recalls a family Christmas during which Bruno's grandmother left angrily because she was severely disappointed, almost to the point of revulsion, at Bruno's father's position as a Nazi official. The second recalls the fateful dinner that led to Bruno's family being uprooted and moved to Auschwitz. During that evening, Bruno met Hitler in person and developed a private resentment towards "the Fury."

This method of non-linear narrative serves the story well because it explains to us over time the means by which Bruno was shaped to be able to engage in such an act of subversion as befriending Shmuel. Trusting his grandmother's emotion, Bruno has a sense that there is something very wrong with the Nazi party. Later, he experiences the arrogance and rudeness of Hitler in person, further alienating him from the ideals of the German nation, even if he does not realize it consciously.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial