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Describe Bruno's character from the first six chapters of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

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sajjad1476 | Student | Honors

Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:36 AM via web

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Describe Bruno's character from the first six chapters of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Bruno is above all else shown to be a young boy greatly perplexed by the world around him and what he sees. When he moves from his home in Berlin to the curiously named "Out-With," it is clear that Bruno is very unhappy at first, because he misses his friends and his school. In addition, he finds it incredibly strange that the children and men he can see from the bedroom window in his house are all wearing the same pajamas and also seem to be treated very differently. Bruno's overwhelming characteristic therefore is innocence, as he is not aware of the complex situation of which he is a part. This innocence, which of course is made ironic by the reader's understanding of what is happening, is highlighted perfectly in the following quote, where he bids farewell to his father as instructed when he leaves his father's study in Chapter 5:

"Heil Hitler," he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying "Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon."

Bruno has no knowledge of what the true meaning is of his actions and words, just as he can't understand or make sense of the world around him. He is a child plunged into a world of complexity where he is left to draw his own conclusions based on his scant life experience. This is of course what makes the novel so successful, as the reader is forced to see something that they have heard a lot about through the eyes of a child who knows nothing about it at all. We understand the Holocaust in new and much more vivid way, which only adds to the horror of its depiction. 

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