set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

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Discussion Topic

Significant passages to analyze in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Summary:

Key passages to analyze in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas include the moment Bruno meets Shmuel at the fence, symbolizing innocence amidst horror, and the final scene where Bruno and Shmuel die together in the gas chamber, highlighting the tragic consequences of prejudice and war. These passages underscore themes of friendship, innocence, and the devastating impact of the Holocaust.

Expert Answers

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What is a notable passage from the first three chapters of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

I don't know what the length or the purpose of the passage should be so I have chosen one that gives a lot of information. It starts on page 17 in my book and ends on page 20. This is at the end of chapter two.  You may want to shorten it for your purposes. The reason I chose this passage is because

1. It explains Maria's position with the family.

"....he had always liked Maria and felt as if she was one of the family, even though Father said she was just a maid and overpaid at that." (pg 17)

2. It explains how Bruno feels about is father's job.

"That's all we ever hear about, if you ask me, Father'sjob this and Father's job that..... I think Father should think twice about his job, don't you?" (pg 17)

3. It introduces the soldier, Lieutenant Kotler, a young blond soldier who is very serious and representative of Hitler youth.

"....he had very blond hair, an almost unnatural shade of yellow.... he stoped for a moment when he saw Bruno standing there watching him.  He looked the boy up and down as if he had never seen a child before and wasn't quite sure what he was suppose to do with one: eat it , ignore it, or kick it down the stairs." (pg 18)

4. It explains that Bruno wanted his father to have a decent, respectable job.

'Fathers are suppose to be serious, It doesn't matter whether they're greengrocers or teachers or chefs, or commandants,' he said listing all the jobs he knew decent respectable fathers did and whose titles he had thought about a thousand times." (pg 19)

5. It explains what he thought of his sister.

"I dont even think there's going to be anyone to play with other than Gretel , and what fun is that after all?  She's a Hopeless Case." (pg 19)

6. It shows how young he is.

"He felt as if he was about to cry again but stopped himself , not wanting to look like a baby in front of Maria." (pg 19)

7. It foreshadows something cold and unsafe.

"He put his face to the glass and saw what was out there, and this tme when 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." (pg 20)

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What is a significant passage to analyze in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

I think that a strong response can be developed upon many of the passages in Boyne's work.  I like the ending, itself, for I think that there is much within it where writing can be generated.  Consider a part of Boyne's ending:

...of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.

It might be really interesting writing to examine the implications of this passage.  Is there a danger in presuming that something like the Holocaust could not happen again?  Is there an equal danger in presuming that something like the Holocaust could happen again?  Both questions are opposites of one another and are truly perplexing in that there are no easy answers to either.  It is for this reason that I think that the statement makes for good writing.  A writer can explore the implications of the passage and relate it to the modern setting with a level of thought and analysis that can serve to underscore the importance of the Holocaust and its implications.

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What are two significant passages in "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" and why?

The important passages I have chosen have to do with the Germans and what they thought at that time.  When Bruno's new teacher arrives, he tells the boy that history and geography are the only subjects worth studying. Of course, Bruno likes reading and art.  When Bruno tells his father he finds these subjects borning, his father replies,

"....it's history that got us here today.  If it wasn't for history, none of us would be sitting around this table now. We'd be safely back at our table in our house in Berlin.  We are correcting history here." (144)

This quote is important because it shows the frame of mind German soldiers had for their cause and how they justified their actions.

Another quote that is important is when Bruno asks his father about the people on the other side of the fence.  His father tells him,

"Those people ....well... they're not people at all, Bruno....Well, at least not as we understand the term.... They're nothing to do with you. You have nothing whatsoever in common with them." (pg 53)

This is an important quote because it shows what the German soldiers thought of their Jewish captives.

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