Boy in the Striped - Section 1

CHAPTERS 1–7

Discussion Questions

  1. Boyne employs a limited third-person narrator, which stays close to a particular character’s perspective. From which character’s point of view is the story mostly told?
  2. How does Boyne use the narrator’s limited point of view to suggest Mother is unhappy when Bruno passes her on the stairs?
  3. How does Boyne use indirect characterization in the early chapters to paint a portrait of Bruno’s father, even when he’s not present in the scene?
  4. How might Maria’s behavior in the presence of the young Lieutenant Kotler be an example of foreshadowing?
  5. How does Boyne employ dramatic irony when Bruno shows the fascinating view from his bedroom window to Gretel?
  6. Bruno finds it “extraordinary” that all the people outside his window are wearing “gray striped pajamas.” What sort of garments were they wearing?
  7. At the rail station, Bruno notices that the comfortable train he and his family boarded has many empty seats, but is separated by a platform from another train, headed in the same direction, that is swarmed by crowds. What is the author’s purpose for including this description?
  8. How are the themes of innocence and discrimination introduced after Bruno’s father tells him the people seen from his bedroom window are “not people at all.”
  1. When Bruno interprets “Heil Hitler” as a way of saying “have a pleasant afternoon,” what literary device is being used?
  2. Bruno is surprised when his mother tries to “take credit” for first aid given to him by Pavel. Can you think of another reason she would hide Pavel’s good deed from Bruno’s father?

Writing Activity How would you respond if someone said that a group of people gathered outside your window were "not people at all." Why did Bruno respond the way he did to such a hideous statement?