In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, what was Bruno's impression of the new house?

Bruno has an unfavorable impression of his new home. The narrator makes it clear that Bruno’s old home in Berlin was much more wondrous and exciting.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bruno’s impression of his new home was one of disbelief. The narrator describes Bruno’s puzzling view of his new home by detailing his wide-open eyes, O-shaped mouth, and outstretched arms. While it might not be clear at first why Bruno’s eyes are wide open or his mouth is in the shape of an O, the narrator makes things a bit clearer when they write that Bruno “couldn't believe that they were really going to live there.”

Now, this is not a positive disbelief. Bruno doesn’t believe that they are going to live in this new house because it’s so unbelievably wonderful. Bruno’s disbelief is negative. He doesn’t believe that they are going to live in this new house because it’s significantly inferior to their previous house in Berlin.

The narrator stresses how much Bruno loved his family’s “enormous” Berlin home. Even though Bruno had lived there for nine years, he was still uncovering various “nooks and crannies”. This new house doesn’t appear to have corners and spots to explore. It doesn’t contain the depth of his previous home. The new home is described as “empty” and “desolate.”

To make matters worse, the new house means that he won’t be surrounded by the other big houses anymore. These big houses were the homes of his friends. More so, the new house means no more bustling shops or busy city streets.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Bruno first sees his new home at "Out-With," he is astonished and depressed by the fact that it is the complete opposite of his comfortable, warm home in Berlin. The new house at Out-With is in a desolate, empty place with no neighboring homes or lovely town streets. Bruno feels that he is in the loneliest place on earth in the middle of nowhere. He also feels like there is no laughter or warmth in his new home.

In contrast to his enormous, spacious home in Berlin, the new house at Out-With is relatively boring, cold, and mundane. There are no nooks or small rooms to explore, and there is no large banister to slide down like there was at his home in Berlin. However, there is a mysterious camp encircled by a high fence, which Bruno can see from his back window. Bruno is too young and naive to realize that his home is just outside of a horrific Nazi concentration camp, which explains its desolate location and depressing atmosphere.

Overall, Bruno hates his new home and desires to move back to Berlin immediately. He finds his new home to be boring, cold, and uncomfortable. As the story progresses, Bruno becomes close friends with a Jewish prisoner named Shmuel and seems to adjust to life at Out-With.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 2 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno is not at all impressed with the new house. He misses his five-story house in Berlin, where he could slide down the banisters and where he had plenty of friends.

The new house is only three stories tall, and the family sleeps cramped together on the top floor. The servants have the basement. Bruno thinks it's "the exact opposite of their old home." Instead of the hustle and bustle of Berlin, the new house is in a desolate, lonely place. The only thing that resembles Bruno's old home is that his father still has an office, and he is not allowed in that office. Bruno lets his mother know that he thinks moving was a mistake, and she lightly chastises him for complaining. Bruno feels that the new house will never be home.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The house in Berlin was huge. It had lots of room and had a lot of little spaces to explore.  The new house had only three floors, which included the basement where the servants slept. However, in both houses his father's office was considered OUT OF BOUNDS.  The new house had no other streets around it and no shops or people selling things out of stalls, a memory of Berlin that Bruno enjoyed. 

"Everything around him just felt empty and cold, as if he was in the loneliest place in the world.  The middle of nowhere." (pg 13)

He remembers how everyone used to laugh in Berlin.

"But there was something about the new house that made Bruno think that no one ever laughed there; that there was nothing to laugh at and nothing to be happy about." (pg 13)

It is clear that Bruno does not like the house from the moment he enters it. He tells his mother that he thinks they should just turn around and go home, back to Berlin  His mother tells him that they do not have a choice.

"We're here, we've arrived, this is our home for the foreseeable  future and we just have to make the best of things." (pg 15)

Bruno, being told that he has no choice, goes upstairs to help Maria sort out his bedroom, but he says to himself,

"This isn't home, and it never will be." (pg 16) 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial