The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Mother Character Analysis

Bruno’s mother is married to Father, a Commandant in the German army. Mother is very loving towards Gretel and Bruno, but becomes stern whenever they ask too many questions or complain about moving to “Out-With.” She refuses to speak with Bruno about the war, and says it is no topic for proper conversation. At Out-With, Mother develops a friendship (and likely an affair) with Lieutenant Kotler—seemingly an act of rebellion against Father, who essentially controls her life. Eventually, Mother convinces Father to let the family move back to Berlin, though she stays for a time to see if Bruno will return.

Mother Quotes in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The The Boy in the Striped Pajamas quotes below are all either spoken by Mother or refer to Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the David Fickling Books edition of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas published in 2007.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“It’s a very important job,” said Mother, hesitating for a moment. “A job that needs a very special man to do it. You can understand that, can’t you?”

Related Characters: Mother (speaker), Bruno, Father
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Boy in the Striped Pajamas quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 2 Quotes

“We don’t have the luxury of thinking,” said Mother. “…Some people make all the decisions for us.”

Related Characters: Mother (speaker), Bruno, Father
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 13 Quotes

What happened then was both unexpected and extremely unpleasant. Lieutenant Kotler grew very angry with Pavel and no one—not Bruno, not Gretel, not Mother and not even Father—stepped in to stop him doing what he did next, even though none of them could watch. Even though it made Bruno cry and Gretel grow pale.

Related Characters: Bruno (speaker), Gretel, Mother, Father, Lieutenant Kotler, Pavel
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in cu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

Chapter 17 Quotes

He paused for a moment and looked out the window to his left—the window that led off to a view of the camp on the other side of the fence. “When I think about it, perhaps she is right. Perhaps this is not a place for children.”

Related Characters: Father (speaker), Bruno, Gretel, Mother
Related Symbols: Out-With, The Fence
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur si

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Striped Pajamas LitChart as a printable PDF.
The boy in the striped pajamas.pdf.medium

Mother Character Timeline in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The timeline below shows where the character Mother appears in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...through his belongings. He asks her to stop, but she just shakes her head. Bruno’s Mother comes in and explains that Maria is packing all of Bruno’s things. In the next... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Bruno races Mother down to the dining room. She tells him there is nothing to worry about, and... (full context)
Chapter 2
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Bruno tells Mother that he thinks moving was a bad idea, and she chastises him for saying such... (full context)
Chapter 5
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...coming to take them away from the house. Bruno remembers that right before they left, Mother had stood in the living room and shook her head, saying to herself that they... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...other side of his desk, and steps around it to shake Bruno’s hand. Father, unlike Mother or Grandmother, is not affectionate. Father tells Bruno he is proud of him for helping... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...family is. Bruno says his grandparents are back in Berlin, but Father says that having Mother and Gretel close by is more important. Bruno goes on to complain that his friends... (full context)
Chapter 7
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...Roller would have arguments with people who weren’t there, and would often punch a wall. Mother told him not to laugh at Herr Roller, since he was lovely as a young... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...decides it is the perfect tree on which to construct a tire swing. That day, Mother and Father are both out of the house, so Bruno is on his own to... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...him from the kitchen window, comes out and takes him inside. Bruno asks for his Mother, but Pavel says he is the only one in the house. Pavel patches up Bruno’s... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
Mother sees the bandage on Bruno’s knee, and he explains what happened with the tire swing.... (full context)
Chapter 8
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...butler as “Commandant,” after the Fury and a “beautiful blonde woman” had come for dinner. Mother told Bruno to congratulate Father, but he wasn’t sure what for. On Christmas day, Father... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...for surviving World War I and coming this far in his positions in the military. Mother comments that she thinks Father looks handsome, but Grandmother calls her foolish for thinking that... (full context)
Chapter 9
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...Lieutenant Kotler is a constant presence in the house, where he is either whispering with Mother or humoring Gretel as she tries to flirt with him. The servants keep the house... (full context)
Chapter 11
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...to the family that they were to cancel any plans for the upcoming Thursday evening. Mother replies that she has tickets to the theatre, but Father interrupts her to say that... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...with “the respect and courtesy that such a great leader deserves.” Third, when Father and Mother are at the dinner table, the children are to remain in their rooms quietly. Bruno... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...rude as to go sit in Father’s place at the head of the table. Flustered, Mother and Father follow the man to the table, while the woman stays and chats with... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...While the Fury climbs into the car and begins to read a newspaper, Eva thanks Mother for a lovely evening. Bruno thinks about what a horrible man the Fury is. Later... (full context)
Chapter 12
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
...says he only ever had chocolate once, and Bruno says he loves it but that Mother tells him it will rot his teeth. Shmuel asks him if he has any bread,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...with each passing day. He seems to shake from the weight of the plates, and Mother has to ask twice before he pours her another glass of wine. At the table,... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he enjoyed learning history as a boy, though his father was a professor of literature. Mother replies that she did not know that, and asks if he still teaches. Kotler says... (full context)
Chapter 15
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...the fence. Bruno continues to dislike Kotler, because he calls him “little man” and makes Mother laugh more than Father does. One day Bruno sees a dog barking from his window,... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...the whole house has been preparing for days. They continue to taunt each other until Mother comes in. She calls him Kotler “Kurt” and “precious,” and tells Bruno to leave the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...reconciled from their fight before she died. The Fury delivers a wreath in condolence, but Mother says Grandmother would have rolled over in her grave if she had known. (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
...a friend. Lieutenant Kotler has been transferred away from Out-With, much to the dismay of Mother and Gretel and to the delight of Bruno. Gretel is now going through “a phase”... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...interrupts their conversation to shriek that she has found a tiny egg in her hair. Mother comes in and realizes that both Gretel and Bruno have lice. While Gretel’s hair is... (full context)
Chapter 17
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Mother becomes increasingly unhappy with life at Out-With, especially since Kotler, her only friend, has been... (full context)
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...goes on as usual for several weeks. Gretel becomes more obsessed with her maps, and Mother takes more naps and drinks more “medicinal sherries.” One day, Father summons Gretel and Bruno... (full context)
Chapter 20
Innocence and Ignorance Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Nationalism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Complicity Theme Icon
...fence, but it seems as if he has vanished off the face of the earth. Mother stays in Out-With for some time, hoping Bruno will turn up. When she does return... (full context)