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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' by John Boyne is a novel about the Holocaust from the perspective of the son of a Nazi commander. This lesson will guide classroom discussions about this novel.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne primarily takes place just outside of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II in the home of the Nazi commander. This story provides a unique perspective of the horrors of the Holocaust. These questions will lead to class discussions about this novel.

Chapters 1-6

  • How does Bruno feel about moving?
  • What does Bruno think of his father's job?
  • Why do you think Bruno's parents are arguing?
  • What does Bruno think of his new home? Why?
  • How does Maria feel about the move? How do you know?
  • Describe Bruno's interaction with the blond soldier.
  • Describe the author's use of foreshadowing.
  • Describe Bruno's relationship with Gretel.
  • Who are the other children Bruno sees? How do you know?
  • Compare reality to the impression Bruno and Gretel have of the people in Auschwitz.
  • How did the author choose the title of this story?
  • Why is Bruno's flashback to the train station significant?
  • Who is the Fury?
  • Do you think Bruno did the right thing by talking to his dad about the move? Why?
  • How does Bruno's dad respond to Bruno's questions about the people outside his window? What does this response reveal about the Nazi position towards Jewish people?
  • Compare Bruno's relationship with Maria to Gretel's.
  • How does Bruno deal with his anger?

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