Is Bruno a multilayered or single layered character in "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Bruno would have to be seen as a multilayered and complex character because of the changes he undergoes over the course of the novel.  It is not that he starts off bad and then becomes good.  Rather, Boyne constructs Bruno to be a child who gains greater insight into their world and what is happening in it.  At each step, Bruno thinks he has "the answer."  Yet, he is surprised by new knowledge that awaits him at every experience.  For example, when Bruno gets hurt on the tire swing, he thinks he knows better than Pavel about the extent of his injury.  Yet, he is surprised to know that Pavel was a doctor.  At his first meeting with Shmuel, he believes he has "the answer" in discussing the greatness of Germany, but through his discussions with the boy, he recognizes that there might be another side to explore.  When he crosses the fence, he is surprised to see the experiences of the people who actually live in "Out- With."  In each of these, Bruno learns more about his world and in this furthering of understanding, he becomes a multilayered and complex character who, like so many during the time, is struggling to make sense of the world and his place in it.  It is this questioning that makes him complex and a multidimensional character until the very end.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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