In chapter 2 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, what evidence is there of tension in the new house? What might be the possible cause of tension?

Evidence for household tension in chapter 2 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas can be seen when Bruno's mother snaps at him.

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Chapter 2 is the chapter that has Bruno exploring his new house. Moving is hard for most kids, and Bruno is no exception. He is not happy about leaving his home in Berlin. The house was big and beautiful. In addition to that, the house was located right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. Lastly, his old house gave him access to his friends.

Most of these details are conveyed to readers in the early part of the chapter, and we get a good sense that the move might bring some unwanted tension to family life, since Bruno isn't happy. Bruno will eventually try to engage his mother in a civil conversation in which his hope is to convince her to convince his father to return to Berlin, and readers see that Bruno's mother is just as tense and upset about the move as Bruno is. Readers hear her say that they just have to "make the best of a bad situation," and that conveys to us that she isn't happy about the move either. She will also comment on how "some people make the decisions for us." Her opinion and thoughts weren't considered and don't matter, and that upsets her. Bruno's mother will eventually angrily snap at Bruno, and that really shows readers that the move has caused a lot of tension that is being barely contained.

"Bruno, just do it, please!" snapped Mother, because apparently it was all right if she interrupted him but it didn't work the other way round. "We're here, we've arrived, this is our home for the foreseeable future and we just have to make the best of things. Do you understand me?"

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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Chapter 2 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, introduces the house at Auschwitz just after Bruno’s family moves into it. In this and several subsequent chapters, there is considerable evidence of tension among the family members. Bruno is not only homesick for their former Berlin home, and his room, but as he compares the two houses, he also finds fault with every aspect of their new residence. It is smaller and the floor plan is less appealing, as he has less room to play and less privacy because all the bedrooms are on the same floor. He senses that it has a cold, unwelcoming atmosphere. After walking around and finding nothing that pleases him, Bruno concludes that the move was a mistake.

When Bruno shares this conclusion with his mother, she is not pleased. She takes a fatalistic attitude, telling him that they must accept the decisions that others make for them. Realizing that her son finds no comfort in such an assessment, she gets annoyed and chastises him. His mother is uncharacteristically harsh in telling him not to share his negative opinions.

The family’s maid, Maria, has moved with them, and she helps Bruno move into his new room. As she unpacks, Bruno tries to get more information from her. Whether she actually does not know or does not want to tell Bruno, she is far from forthcoming. Regarding a visitor who seems to be a soldier, she advises him to avoid the young man.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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