Chapter summaries

The novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne tells the story of 9-year-old Bruno, who grows up during World War II. In 20 chapters, the narrator describes the impressions and experiences of the atrocities from the Third Reich from the perspective of a child. This makes this novel an important part of Holocaust literature.

The main character Bruno moves with his family from Berlin to a house right next to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Wavering between obedience to his parents, who have forbidden him to approach the camp fence, and his childlike curiosity, Bruno decides to explore the fence after all. In the process, he befriends Shmuel, a prisoner of the same age. 

The friendship cheers Bruno up, since his life in the house is characterized by boredom and austerity. His father never has time for him because he only works. His sister is going through puberty and no longer wants to play with him. Bruno's mother loves her boy very much, but starts an affair with a young soldier. Therefore, the meetings of the two boys go unnoticed and disaster takes its course.

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