- Information about the author.
John Boyne is an Irish novelist born 30 April 1971. Boyne was born in Dublin, where he still lives. He is the writer of nine novels for adults and five novels for young readers. As his novels are published in 48 languages, you ca say his books are quite popular under his readers. He even was awarded an Honory Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia.
- What inspired the author to write the book (if known)?
Boyne himself says he wrote the entire first draft of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in two and a half days, not sleeping until he got to the end. In no time, this novel had sold more than a five million copies around the world. It also had reached the number one on the New York Times bestseller list. And so it did in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
Unfortunately the reason behind writing this novel is unknown.
- Genre (novel, short novel, play, narrative….)
As I already mentioned, this book is a novel.
4a Where (mention country, town or region) is the story situated?
1st place: Berlin
2nd place: never identified, but cf. Auschwitz
4b When (present, past, future?) does the story take place?
The story takes place in the present
- Give a short summary.
Nine-year-old Bruno moves to a new town (Auschwitz) when his father is promoted to Commandant. He ventures out to explore his environment and encounters a boy wearing striped pyjamas, named Shmuel. This boy lives on the other side of a strange wire fence together with his father, grandfather, and brother, but he is separated from his mother. Shmuel and Bruno become good friends and Bruno sneaks him food nearly every day. When lice eggs are discovered in Bruno’s hair he is forced to get his head shaved completely. As Shmuel also was bold, they now looked the same. Eventually, when Bruno’s mother persuades his father to take them back home, to Berlin, Bruno concocts a plan with Shmuel. Bruno sneaks into the camp to help Shmuel look for his father who has been missing. As they reached the camp, they couldn’t find Shmuels father anywhere. Instead they are going to have a shower where it suddlenly the doors closed, it becomes dark and all is chaos. Ultimately, the boys unknowingly march to their death hand in hand with no one in the world but each other.
- Who are the main characters? Describe each of them in terms of appearance and character. Give at least 3 examples of each.
· Bruno is the son of a Nazi commandant; he remains innocent of the horrors of the Holocaust and befriends a prisoner at the death camp
· Shmuel is a young Jew who does not understand why he is in the concentration camp. He befriends Bruno and the two share many similarities in spite of their different circumstances..
· Bruno’s mother is largely ignorant of what goes on in Auschwitz; after realizing that her husband is ordering Jews to be murdered in the gas chambers, she decides to move back to Berlin with her children.
· Bruno’s father is proud of his high-ranking position in the German military. Despite his reverence for the Nazi party, he does try to shield his family from the horrors of the death camp
- Who is the narrator? (a: one of the main characters. b: an objective narrator. c: one of the minor characters. d: the writer him/herself.)
Why is this person a suitable narrator for this story?
The story is told by Bruno himself ans Ithink he is the perfect narrator for this story. This book not only can be read by younger readers, but also by adults. Because of the vieuw of a nine year old boy, you can sense the true innocence behind the main character, you can see his thought and you can feel what he feels.
- Does the main character remain the same, or does he/she undergo any change(s) in the story? If so, in what way does he/she change?
The main character is a little boy, who doesn’t change a lot during this story. He has always been innocent, kind and giving from the beginning until the end of the book. Moreover, he had to die so soon that there even wasn’t enough time to for him to grow and to change
9. Which (difficult) choice(s) does the main character face?
Bruno’s and shmuels friendschip is tested on many occasions as the boys navigate their individual realities. When Shmuel is brought to Bruno's house to work as a servant, Bruno denies knowing him and giving him any food. Consequently, Shmuel is punished for stealing food (which Bruno had given him). Both boys know that they would be in terrible trouble if anyone were to find out about their friendship so they keep it a secret..
10. Relationships are always essential. Which ones are important in this story? How does the writer describe them? What is emphasised in these relationships?
Friendschip: The boys’ devotion to one another despite their different backgrounds and circumstances is the most important apsect in this story.
11. What is the climax of the story? Explain why this scene is the climax.
The climax of the story is the boys death. I did expect that this moment would ocme, but from th einside I hoped th ending would be different.
However Bruno and Schmuel didn’t expect there dead so nearby, I think they didn’t realise that they were really going to die when the light went off. I can’t imagine that the two innocent fellows point of vieuw on the wolrd changed until their last breath.
In contract to Bruno’s father who found the clothes of his son near the camp, I think he had an afwul feeling of what has happenden to his son. And for this reason he aslo regreted the way the Jewish were threated as his now knew the feeling of the death of your child.
12. Which scene has made the biggest impression on you? Why?
The scene where Bruno gets over the wire fence has made the biggest impression on me. It was so brave of hijm to go and help his firend finding his father, even tho Bruno didn’t know what is behind the fence. I think he was scared inside, but he also really wanted to help his friend. And this bravery lead him to his death, what isn’t a bad thing in this story. This is I think what real friend would do for each other.
13. Is there a serious message in this story? If so, what is it? Explain your answer.
A significant message in the novel is friendship. The desire for friendship is universal and at no time is it more important than during childhood. Bruno and Shmuel exist in two completely different worlds but share a mutual desire for companionship during a difficult and lonely time. In spite of their remarkably different circumstances, Bruno and Shmuel forge a meaningful friendship.
Another message in the book is about the Nazi’s. Bruno is a son of a commandant, what represents a quite important position. And Shmuel is a Jew thatwho is being hated by the Nazi’s, however this is very controversial. Bruno and Schmuel become frineds and die together in a concentration camp, that was meant anly for the jewish. I think that te writer wants to make clear that everyoneis the same and has to be treated the same way no matter who you are or were you come from.
14. Explain the title ( + subtitle and/or motto, if any).
The book I’ve read is called The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and it can have two mean. The jewish boy, had striped pyjamas and also did the main charcter of the story, Bruno. Eventually they both were at the conentration camp and wore both a striped pyjama.
The meeting of the two boys has changedthe life of Bruno, whos life could have ended in a different way
15. Choose one of the following assignments. ( Write a minimum of 120 words.)
a. Rewrite the end. Argue why you change it this way.
b. Can you identify with one or more of the characters? Or was there anyone you
particularly disliked? Describe in a short report what is the cause of this identification or
c. Interview one of the main characters of this book, based on information from the book.
Make up a heading for the interview.
When the ented the showering room, Bruno felt soory for his Schmuel. They did the best they can, but couldn’t find any track of Schmuels father. Finally Bruno took Schmuels hand and say:,, Schmuel, I’m sorry We couldn’t you’re your father. You really are the best friend I’ve ever ha…..” Bruno didn’t finished his sentence as the lights turned off. He didn’t kno what was happening and neither did Schmuel.
When the soldiers reached the wire fence, they saw Bruno’s clothes lying on the ground a a hole digged in the ground in order to pass the fence. Commandant Schwarz looked at it and ran to the camp so fast, he was even quicker then the young soldiers. He gave the command to open the doors of the gas chamber immidietly and shout out loud: ,,Bruno!!!!, Bruno!!!!’’
When Bruno heard his dead calling his name out of fear he hesitate to reply, but he did. ,,Dad?’’, said Bruno in a soft voice still full of heistation. His died hurried to hug him and take hime back to home. But Bruno refuesed and wanted to take his firend, Schmuel with him
16. What is your opinion of the book as a whole? Use at least 3 different arguments.
a. emotional: how did it affect me? b. (no) identification; c. nothing new for me in it ;
d. complies / does not comply with my notion of good and evil; e. (un)realistic;
f. structure of the story is good/weak/bad; g. innovating yes/no;
h. style good/weak/bad; intention of the writer came across yes/no.
Account for your arguments.
_ The story wasn’t too difficult to me to read and the language it was written in wasn’t too difficult as well, It was all told by a little boy, what was interesting for me to read.
I’m also intersted in the 2nd World War. That really had an impact on the choice I made. I thought this was a wonderful book! It gives you soemthing to think about.
_ Bruno and Shmuel represent all that is kind and decent in humans as well as the potential that they have to do good. Conversely, Bruno's father and Lieutenant Kotler reveal man's capacity for evil. The novel points out the choice humans must make regarding how they treat others.
I think this book is innovative: It could be read by children because it isn’t to difficult. And it could be read by adults because it has many important messages, that adults can learn from children.