The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: Overview

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne Summary Bruno is a nine years old boy, who lives with his father, mother and his twelve years old sister Gretel in Berlin during the second world war. His father is commandant for the German army. One day, when Bruno came home from school, the family’s maid Maria is packing his belongings. They move to a new home, because of his fathers’ work. Their new home’s called Out-With. Immediately when the Family arrive at Out-With, Bruno gets homesick.

He misses his friends, his grandparents and especially his old home at Berlin. From a bedroom window Gretel and Bruno see many people, all in the same grey-white striped pyjamas. Out-with and the people in the pyjamas are separated by a huge fence. When Bruno asks his father who this people are, his father says they aren't really people. When Bruno walks along the fence (exploring), he sees a boy sitting on the other site of the fence. The Jewish boy is called Schmuel and he has exactly the same age as Bruno. They become friends and Bruno visits Schmuel every day.

After one year at Out-With, Bruno’s mother wants to go back to Berlin because she thinks Out-With is an unsafe place for children to grow up. Bruno doesn’t want to go back to Berlin because of Schmuel. When he went for the last time to Schmuel, Schmuel tells him his father is gone. Bruno wants to help Schmuel to search and explore for his father. He changes into the striped pyjamas. Bruno and Schmuel go into the camp. When they are exploring, suddenly they went on a march. They marched to a long room and the frond was suddenly closed. Bruno doesn’t know it is a airtight room.

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Nothing more was ever heard of Bruno after that. Relationships Gretel – Bruno Bruno calls his sister Gretel ‘The Hopeless Case’. She always thinks Bruno’s stupid, because he’s ‘only’ nine. Gretel is twelve years old and she thinks she’s very smart, old and wise. Bruno is a little scared of Gretel. When Gretel becomes a little older, she gets more serious and stops teasing Bruno. Schmuel – Bruno Schmuel and Bruno are very good friends. In the end of the book, Bruno calls Schmuel his best friend. Bruno goes every afternoon to the fence to talk with Schmuel. They can’t play, because the fence separate them.

Their friendship is also strange, because Schmuel hates all the soldiers who live with Bruno. Bruno doesn’t know what the soldiers (and his father) do to the Jewish people. Father – Bruno Bruno doesn’t really know what his fathers’ Job is. He only know his father wears the most beautiful uniform of all the soldiers. The year after Bruno went to the airtight room, his father goes back to the place where the clothes of Bruno were found. He discovers a gap in the fence and he knows immediately what happened to Bruno. On that moment, he regretted about everything what he have done.

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: Overview. (2017, Jan 06). Retrieved from

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