What is the significance of Chapter 7 in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This chapter is extremely telling in how Bruno begins the process of interacting with his world.  On one hand, Bruno recognizes that if he does not make his time of use at Auschwitz ("Out- With"), he is going to lose his mind. With this in hand, he sets out to construct the tire swing.  It is this event that will initiate the process of how Bruno begins to examine the world in which he has been placed in a different light.  Initially, he recognizes that there is something wrong in the manner through which adults relate to one another.  He sees this in both how Lt. Kotler scolds and mistreats Pavel.  He also sees this when Pavel tells Bruno's mother not to divulge that he helped Bruno when he was hurt.  Both of these events help to convince Bruno that there is something off in which the adults in Out- With interact with one another and something fundamentally wrong in what is around him.  Bruno also recognizes the strong and fierce power dynamic, one in which Lt. Kotler could mistreat Pavel, who actually is a doctor.  This also helps to reveal how Bruno is able to understand that what he might see in the world is not what actually is.  When Bruno gets hurt and Pavel tends to his wounds, Bruno is shocked to know that Pavel is not a mere underling, but an actual doctor.  This revelation starts the process in Bruno to understand that there is more in his surroundings that meet the eye and require more profound thought.

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