In the book The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, why was Bruno's dad chosen to be commandant?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno's family is unhappy that they have to leave Berlin and settle down in a "desolate" place. As Maria packs Bruno's things, his mother tries to explain to him why they have to go. She reminds him that his father is "very important" and that he has to go because "there's a very special job" and Bruno's father has been designated to do it. Bruno realizes that he doesn't really know or understand what his father does. He knows that there are always "men in fantastic uniforms" and "women with typewriters" at his home who are always extremely polite to his father, but unlike his friends' fathers who are greengrocers or chefs and so on, all that Bruno knows about his own father's job as a commandant is that he is "a man to watch." He also knows that "the Fury" (Bruno's mispronunciation of fuhrer) has "big things in mind for him." This is why Bruno's father has been chosen to be commandant at "Out-With." 

Bruno is unconvinced of the importance of this new job, especially when he learns that the family must leave Berlin. He cannot imagine his life without his "three best friends for life" and being told that he will make new friends is no consolation at all. Bruno does not understand why his father's job takes preference over everything and he expresses his dissatisfaction. He equates his father's job as commandant alongside the jobs of greengrocer, teacher and chef because he has no concept of what his father may be doing. He knows that he is "serious" but Bruno considers that all fathers should be serious and so he continues to object, bravely standing up to his father, but without effect. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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