The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

This study guide will help you analyze the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. You can also find a summary of the text, detailed characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the novel and putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006)

Author: John Boyne

Genre: Novel

John Boyne (b. 1971) is an Irish novelist. He wrote novels for both adults and children. Some of his work includes: The Thief of Time (2000), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006), and A Traveller at the Gate of Wisdom (2020). His novels have been translated into over 50 languages.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, however, offers a unique reading of this subject. Boyne has his main character, Bruno, the son of a Nazi commandant, grow up in a world shaped by Nazism, which he does not understand. 

The monstrous and chilling reality of the Nazi era is portrayed through Bruno's naive eyes. For Bruno, all children are just children and all people are just people without distinctions of religion or race. Boyne has not only written a moving and touching narrative, but has created an award-winning masterpiece.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Incomprehensible language

The communication between the characters in the novel is often not direct. Sometimes, Bruno does not understand certain situations because the adult characters, such as his father and mother, use words and phrases whose meaning Bruno does not know.

An example of this is the phrase "foreseeable future". When his mother tells Bruno that the new house will be their home for the "foreseeable future" (Chapter 2, 50%), he cannot make sense of this phrase. He does not know whether his mother means that they will spend only a few weeks, months, or years in Out-With.

Another word that Bruno...

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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