Discussion Questions

  1. Is Bruno’s list of reasons why he didn’t like Lieutenant Kotler, including the fact that the man never smiled and that he shot a dog for barking too much, an example of direct or indirect characterization? Why?
  2. When Shmuel surprisingly appears in the kitchen, Bruno is plunged into a crisis. How do his actions when confronted by Lieutenant Kotler introduce the themes of complacency and betrayal?
  3. Boyne’s description of Lieutenant Kotler’s sudden departure following “shouting” about him between Mother and Father late at night is an example of what literary devices?
  4. How does Gretel’s disposal of her dolls and their replacement with maps illustrate the theme of indoctrination?
  5. Why does Father come to agree that his wife and children should return to Berlin?
  6. Bruno’s plan to disguise himself and slip onto Shmuel’s side of the fence is an example of what literary device?
  7. How does Bruno’s recollection of his Grandmother as he applies his costume illustrate the themes of friendship and empathy?
  8. When Bruno is being force-marched with a pack of prisoners, how do dramatic irony and point of view come powerfully into play?
  9. What do you realize was foreshadowed when Shmuel and Bruno are marched into the room that felt airtight, and you learn that neither was ever heard from again?
  10. How does Boyne drive home the themes of friendship and courage at the end of chapter 19?