What is a summary for chapter 6 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? I need to know what Maria told Bruno.

Expert Answers

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

Bruno sits in his bedroom in "Out With" thinking about how miserable he is when Maria, the maid, walks into the room. Bruno has known her almost all of his life, so he asks her if she hates the place as much as he does. She asks why he doesn't like it. Bruno responds with,

"There's nothing to do, there's no one to talk to, nobody to play with." (pg 57)

She says that she always liked the garden in Berlin, and that it doesn't really matter what she thinks about this place. Bruno responds with,

"Well, you've been brought here against your will, just like I have.  If you ask me, we're all in the same boat.  And it's leaking." (pg 58)

Maria tells him that Bruno's father knows what is best. When Bruno says that he thinks his father has made a terrible mistake, Maria remarks,

"Then it's a mistake we all have to live with." (pg 59)

Bruno then calls his father "stupid" and Maria chastises him and says,

"....your father is a good man...He takes care of all of us." (pg 59)

When Bruno shows disbelief, she tells him how his father helped her.  His father and her mother knew each other as children. Her mother was a dresser and worked for his grandmother, taking care of all her clothing. She worked for his grandmother until grandmother retired. Shortly afterward her mother became ill and needed hospital care.  Bruno's father arranged for everything and paid for it out of his own pocket. He took Maria into his household and gave her a job.  When her mother died, he paid the funeral expenses also.

Bruno was rather proud of his father when he heard that story. Maria goes over to the window and stares at the prisoners below. She tells Bruno,

"He has a lot of kindness in his soul, truly he does, which makes me wonder......." (pg 62)

They suddenly hear a door slamming.  Bruno is frightened, but it is only Gretel, his sister. Bruno tells her to get out of his room, and Gretel asks Maria to draw her a bath. Bruno protests,

"She's not here to do things for us all the time, you know.  Especially things that we can do ourselves." (pg 63)

Maria agrees to draw the bath and Gretel leaves.  Bruno reiterates that he thinks his father made a mistake.  Maria warns him never to say that out loud and makes him promise her. He doesn't understand. 

"But why?.......I'm only saying what I feel.  I'm allowed to do that aren't I"" (pg 64)

Maria tells him that he is not allowed to do that. Bruno gets moody and mutters,

"It's not like I'm planning on running away or anything.  Although if I did I don't think anyone could criticize me for it." (pg 65)

Maria says that would worry his parents immensely.  If he had any sense at all he would do his homework, keep his mouth shut, and do whatever his father wanted. That is what she intends to do.

"It is not up to us to change things." (pg 65)

Suddenly Bruno feels like crying, and he notices Maria has tears in her eyes too. He feels awkward and leaves the room.  Going outside he tries to find something active to do. He realizes that the idea of running away and being left on his own without anyone was more unpleasant than staying at "Out With".


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