80 pages 2 hours read

John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2006

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Chapters 16-20Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 16 Summary: “The Haircut”

A year after Bruno left Berlin, his grandmother dies. The family makes a two-day trip back for the funeral, and Bruno finds that he has lost his memories of the city and his friends. Meanwhile, Kotler receives a transfer away from the camp following a fight between Bruno’s parents. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel continues to grow, even though they are never able to play together; they just sit and talk.

As Bruno wonders more about the fence and the camp, he decides to ask his sister about it. She corrects his pronunciation of “Out-With,” but he fails to hear the difference. Then she explains to him that the people inside the camp are Jews. She adds that Bruno’s family is the Opposite—she cannot remember the name—and they dislike Jews.

During their talk, Gretel discovers she has lice, and it turns out Bruno has them as well. His father decides to shave his head, and Bruno hates it, but it reminds him of Shmuel who agrees, adding that Bruno is “fatter.”

Chapter 17 Summary: “Mother Gets Her Own Way”

Bruno notices his mother’s unhappiness, especially since Lieutenant Kotler left. He overhears an argument between his parents, during which his mother asks to leave “Out-With” with the children.