The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

What does Gretel say is outside the window? Why does Bruno agree?

It's in chapter 4

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Chapter Four begins with a description of the view from Bruno's window. There are boys, men, and elderly men living together without women of any kind. Gretel wonders where the women are. Directly beneath Bruno's window is a garden with flowers; beyond that is a paved area with a bench; beyond that is a wire fence that extends farther than they can see. On the other side of the fence there is no grass or greenery, only low huts and smoke stacks in the distance.

Unable to make sense of what she is seeing, Gretel assumes, "This must be the countryside" (33). She has learned about the countryside, with its farmers and animals, in school. She wonders out loud whether this is their holiday home. Bruno disagrees, pointing out that if it were a farm, there would be animals around, and there don't appear to be. The dirt ground also doesn't look as if it is capable of growing any food. Bruno wishes that Gretel would come up with an explanation and comfort him, but she doesn't.

Instead, Gretel wonders who the people are and what they're doing there. The boys and men are standing around, some working, some being intimidated by soldiers, some just staring at the ground "as if it was the sort of game where they didn't want to be spotted" (36). There seem to be hundreds of people, with huts extending into the distance. Gretel wonders why they would have moved here, to "such a nasty place and with so many neighbors" (37).

Bruno witnesses a group of boys huddled together, cowering from a group of soldiers. Bruno points out to Gretel that he was right about there being children, but Gretel says they look filthy and that she wouldn't want to play with them. She says she is going back to her room, where the view from the window is much nicer, and leaves Bruno alone. Bruno continues to watch the people out his bedroom window and notices that they're all wearing the same thing: "a pair of grey striped pajamas with a grey striped cap on their heads" (38).