What chapter or chapters in Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas relate to innocence and to loyalty?  

1 Answer | Add Yours

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Chapter Fourteen "Bruno Tells a Perfectly Reasonable Lie" has an example of both innocence and loyalty. When visiting Schmuel, Bruno innocently insists on his desire to cross the wire fence and play alongside Schmuel. When Schmuel responds, "I don't know why you are so anxious to come across here, anyway ... . It's not very nice," Bruno innocently explains that his house hasn't got the five stories he is accustomed to but only threem and he doesn't see how anyone can live comfortably in such little space. He then asks:

"Don't you ever wake up in the morning and feel like wearing something different? There must be something else in your wardrobe."

Bruno isn't being unkind or thoughtless, he has innocently forgotten what Schmuel said previously about "eleven people all living in the same room together." Bruno's innocence renders it impossible for him to fully grasp Schmuel's circumstance and to remember the elusive descriptions he gives of it.

Later, on a rainy day, Bruno, confined to the house by heavy persistent rain, is trying to read an adventure book when a suddenly bored Gretel comes in to his room to ask, "What are you doing?" (She must feel imposed upon, as Bruno thinks, by the rain as she does nothing but "rearrange" her dolls anyway.) In a rare confidential moment, Gretel civilly says, "I hate the rain." It is when Bruno decides to respond in kind with civility of his own instead with their usual "instruments of torture" that he unwittingly gives away the existence of Schmuel.

Suffering pangs of broken loyalty, Bruno goes to great lengths to disguise his slip so as to redeem his loyalty to Schmuel. He succeeds because at the end of his efforts the worst Gretel believes is that Bruno has an imaginary friend. Bruno has stayed true to his deep loyalty to Schmuel:

"Well, why don't you lie down and close your eyes and have your imaginary friend read it to you," said Gretel, delighted with herself now ....

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question