Did Bruno lose his innocence?

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

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Interestingly enough, I don't see Bruno as having lost his innocence.  Normally, with stories associated with the Holocaust and the death intrinsic to it, the loss of innocence is something to be expected.  Bruno stands for the innocent values of friendship and honor throughout the work.  His commitment to Shmuel and living up to his promises are the reasons for his own death.  Even when he and Shmuel are being herded into the gas chambers, he does not lose sight of this.  In holding his friend's hand, reassuring him that everything will be fine, there is a clear innocence that Bruno possesses.  The world in which Nazism has negotiated people's values, caused them to abdicate responsibility towards others, and created a condition in which temporary notions of the good become accepted as permanent valus is a world that Bruno transcends.  His innocent belief about the goodness of people and about the nature of honor prevent him from succumbing to a world with which people like his sister have become enamored.  It is here where I think that one can see that Bruno does not lose his innocence in the novel.  Rather, he becomes a transcendent figure because of it.