What can you infer about Bruno's father from the information presented in Chapter 1 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? Discuss his character traits, family life, and occupation.

Expert Answers

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

In Chapter 1, Bruno comes home to find Maria packing his belongings into wooden crates. He politely asks Maria what she is doing because his mother told him to treat her respectfully and not "imitate the way Father spoke to her." The previous statement suggests that Bruno's father is rather...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In Chapter 1, Bruno comes home to find Maria packing his belongings into wooden crates. He politely asks Maria what she is doing because his mother told him to treat her respectfully and not "imitate the way Father spoke to her." The previous statement suggests that Bruno's father is rather disrespectful to Maria and talks down to her. Bruno's mother then explains to him that they will be moving because of his father's job. She mentions that her husband's job is very important which suggests that he holds a prestigious position or rank. Bruno also says that there were always many visitors in his home who wore fancy uniforms and were friendly to his father. Bruno's mother goes on to say, "Well, sometimes when someone is very important...the man who employs him asks him to go somewhere else because there's a very special job that needs doing there" (Boyne 4). One can infer that Bruno's father is a high-ranking officer who is both valued and talented.

When Bruno tells his mother that he doesn't want to go, she mentions that his father would miss him terribly. She also tells Bruno that his father loves him and Gretel equally which suggests that Bruno's father has compassion for his family. When Bruno asks his mother who is going to take care of their house, she sighs and looks around at the beautiful, five-floor home. Their massive home also suggests that Bruno's father is a very successful man who gets paid well.

As Bruno laments about leaving his friends, he overhears his father and mother arguing in his father's office which is "Out Of Bounds At All Times And No Exceptions." Bruno mentions that his father's voice rose until he could no longer hear his mother talk. One can infer that Bruno's father is also a strict disciplinarian who does not shy away from confrontation. The fact that he is choosing to move his family, against their wishes, indicates that he values his position and does not take into consideration his wife's feelings. As the novel progresses, it is revealed that Bruno's father is a Commandant in the Third Reich who is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team