What is the cliffhanger in Chapter Two of Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A cliffhanger in literature is a point in the story when the reader experiences suspense and will, most likely, desire to continue reading.  The cliffhanger you refer to in Chapter 2 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas involves what Bruno sees outside of his window at the very end of the chapter.  

His eyes opened wide and his mouth made the shape of an O, his hands stayed by his sides because something made him feel very cold and unsafe.

The reader is most definitely left in suspense because we are not told exactly what Bruno sees.  We are only told of Bruno's reaction.  Bruno opens his mouth in the typical childlike gesture of surprise.  As a continuation of the reaction, Bruno reveals that he does not feel safe.  We have to wait until Chapter 3 to find out the truth.  In fact, what Bruno sees is not even revealed until far into Chapter 3.  What has Bruno seen?  Bruno has seen Auschwitz, the concentration camp.  Bruno has seen the fence with the prisoners behind it.  Bruno has seen the people wearing "the striped pajamas."

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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