Analyze the different ways in which naivety is presented in the novel.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bruno's embodiment of naivety is one of the most essential elements of the novel.  The fact that he continues to pronounce the death camp as "Out- With" is a part of this process.  He does not change his manipulation of the name, which is an example of naivety, but also of resistance.  He cannot pronounce the name of something that twists the narrative of how human beings are supposed to treat one another and in this, there is an instance of naivety proving to have a political purpose.  Bruno's opposition to moving to Auschwitz because it disrupts his own life and his own connection with friends is another example of naivety because it shows how Bruno's world revolves around those things that are pure and authentic in a setting that is quite the opposite.  Bruno is shown to be sincere in his interactions with people, such as Pavel or Maria, seeing them as more than merely servants or prisoners.  This shows a sense of naivety in how Bruno sees people as ends in of themselves and not means to a specific end.  He is shown to reject the conformist, Nazi propaganda that Gretel embraces with ease, and rather stand on his own.  His friendship with Shmuel and the sacrifices made in recognition of it, such as walking hand in hand to the gas chamber are all examples of naivety in that Bruno does not use calculation or rumination to try to escape that which he knows he must honor in the name of friendship, even if it results in death.  These would be examples of Bruno's naivety playing a major role in his characterization.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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