set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

Start Free Trial

Expert Answers

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

Bruno's father has really impressed the higher command of the Nazi regime.  Hitler even comes for dinner at their home in Berlin.   Of course, Bruno, in his innocence, calls him the "Fury" instead of the Fuhrer.  Father has been made the commandant of the Auswitz concentration camp.  Again, Bruno, in his innocence, calls it "Out With".  Auswitz, when it was first established, housed Polish prisoners, and Shmuel was Polish.  When the Nazis added Jews and other prisoners, it became too crowded, and they started gassing the Polish prisoners to make room for the prisoners arriving.  When Bruno was in school and people asked him what his father did, Bruno realized he didn't know.

"All he could say was that his father was a man to watch and that the Fury had big things in mind for him.  Oh, and that he had a fantastic uniform." (pg 5)

However, when they are going to move, Bruno asks his mother why they have to move.  She tells him,

"Well, sometimes when someone is very important, the man who employs him asks him to go somewhere else because there's a very special job that needs doing there...It is a very important job...A job that needs a very special man to do it.  You can understand that, can't you?" (pg 4-5) 

Mother isn't happy about it, neither is Bruno.  However, the person most unhappy about it is Bruno's grandmother, his father's mother. When Bruno's father comes out in his new uniform, she says,

"That's all you soldiers are interested in anyway....Looking handsome in your fine uniforms.  Dressing up and doing the terrible, terrible things you do.  It makes me ashamed." (pg 92)

She storms out of the house.  Unfortunately, she never makes amends with her son before she dies. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial