The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Questions and Answers
by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What was the main conflict in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

Expert Answers info

Dameon Stroman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write49 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Although it is hard to choose one conflict in this story--there are so many--I would say the main conflict is one of freedom vs. confinement. It would be very simple to say, "Yes, Bruno, as a young German boy, is free, and Shmuel, as a young Jewish boy, is not," yet that is oversimplistic. We can certainly understand how it is that Bruno is free: he lives in a big house, is free to come and go as he likes, he can eat whatever and whenever he needs to, he can wear whatever clothes he chooses, and he has friends with whom he is free to play. And it's easy to see how Shmuel is confined, having been first taken from his home and confined to a single room, then taken from that room and locked up in a train, then taken to the camp and forced into striped pajamas that are his only covering (and that look like prison bars), and then imprisoned, literally, in Auschwitz. Yet Bruno is not as free as he appears, and in this, he lives a loose parallel with Shmuel. Bruno is forced to move to a place...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 725 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial