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Maria does not immediately respond to Bruno's question about where they are going or what it means. Typical of Boyne's style, Bruno has raised an important ethical and moral question as a child. He has posed a question to Maria which is complex and difficult to answer. In this, he has placed Maria in a challenging situation. It is evident that Maria understands where the family is going, what the father is doing, and what it means from a moral and ethical point of view. She understands the implications of what is happening. Yet, she chooses to "do her work" and evades Bruno's question. It is evident that she knows more because when a Nazi officer nods uneasily at Bruno, she tells the child to mind his own business and "steer clear of the men who work in his capacity." It is here where Maria demonstrates her fundamental uneasiness, like Bruno's mother, with what the father does and where the family is going. In the ever present search to find Germans who were of good moral character during the rise of Nazism, Boyne offers us Maria and Bruno's mother. They might not be moral exemplars, as they silently excuse what they know is wrong, but they are certainly uncomfortable with where they are and where they are going to be.
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