Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I Think So Far

I read up through Chapter 10 and then stopped so that the second half of the book wouldn't color my view of the first half. Here are a few of my thoughts on some of Bonnie's discussion questions:

1. I guess, as the mother of an eight-and-a-half-year-old boy, I didn't think that Bruno seemed younger than nine. He is the embodiment of innocence in the tale though. I haven't quite decided what Gretel embodies - maybe apathy or self-centeredness? They certainly serve as contrasts to one another.

2. Because this is a fable, rather than an accurate yet fictional depiction of this time and place in history, it would not be appropriate, in my opinion, for Gretel to be involved in the politics of the situation.

4. Bruno's father's statement that "they’re not people at all" is a very powerful summary of the underlying message of the book. Two other scenes from the book (so far) expand that idea well: The situation with Pavel helping Bruno after he gets hurt on the tire swing (pp. 77-85), and the discussion Bruno has with Herr Liszt about their contrasting views on the value of books (pp. 97-98).

5. I love the character of Bruno's grandmother! She's the voice of conscience, of knowing what is right and what is wrong - but no one is listening. Instead, they are more concerned with power and prestige.

1 comment:

caboose said...


1. In the beginning Bruno looked at his sister and her friends as an annoyance. Children were trained to not speak, just be like a mannequin by men in uniform, which would create a boy with basic facts his father required to maintain total control.

2. Maria spoke about Bruno’s father as being kind to her, in my opinion he was a coward without a conscious, one of the most evil of mankind. He did not want Gretel in the League of Young Girls, for fear she might overhear something his mother talked about and repeat it at a Youth meeting.

3. What is it about the house at Out-With that makes Bruno feel “cold and unsafe”? A child of nine will have a lasting memory of the atmosphere of fear, hate apathy, crimes and punishment for the remainder of his life.

4. Describe Bruno's reaction when he first sees the people in the striped pajamas. Bruno asks his father about the people outside their house at Auschwitz. His father answers, “They’re not people at all Bruno.” Horror is one of the words I would use towards a society that would tolerate an evil empire to multiply into a killing field. Looking at the world today also makes me wonder about what our society is finding allowable and ask the question what parents are telling today youth about our participation in Iraq.

5. Explain what Bruno’s mother means when she says, “We don’t have the luxury of thinking.” Perhaps here is an answer for today society. We are a nation so busy with feeding our children, keeping our homes from the mortgage lenders and accepting what the government is broadcasting. War is evil and hate creates hatred.

Identify scenes from the novel that Bruno’s mother isn’t happy about their new life at Out-With. Debate whether she is unhappy being away from Berlin, or whether she is angry about her husband’s position. How does Bruno’s grandmother react to her son’s military role?

Bruno’s mother must have been angry about leaving her home in Berlin. Moving to a forbidden place like Auschwitz with her children in toe. Knowing her husbands thoughts of no choice in the matter must have made her furious, fearful and ashamed for her family. Once again I think we must recognize woman’s thoughts and feeling during WW11. Men had total control over women whose thoughts were not validated by men in any way shape of form. Fear was the objective of Bruno’s father when he used himself as a pawn to his wife.