After taking to Maria, how has Bruno’s opinion of her changed in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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

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Bruno comes to recognize Maria as a human being, with a past and stories of her own.  He no longer solely sees her as a "hired help" or as a mere servant.  This is why he admonishes Gretel who says that being a servant is "her job."  Bruno's scope of compassion widens when he hears Maria's story and for a moment he is able to see past his own frustration and state of being.  Bruno always had respect for Maria, and does see her as "one of the family."  However, her story compels him to have a deeper appreciation of who she is as a human being.  Bruno begins to understand her “with a life and history all of her own.”  This is what causes him to gain complexity and depth in how he sees her.  It is noteworthy because Bruno is starting to develop consciousness of the world around him and the people who compose that world.  He is starting to become more aware of their own narratives and how their lives are fundamentally more difficult than his. He also displays a sense of empathy with Maria that reflects Bruno's fundamental desire to forge social solidarity with others.  All of these traits are going to come into play with his friendship with Shmuel and are displayed towards Maria once he hears her story.

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