Characterization—telling the audience about a character's personality—can be built in a few specific ways: through the narrator's words, through the character's words, through the character's actions, and through other characters' words. John Boyne's book is told through third person limited narrative voice. An outside, unknown narrator tells the story, but the story is limited to Bruno's perception.
Although we learn about Bruno through his own actions and thoughts, the narrator does give us details as well. For example, when faced with their last moments, Bruno reaches down and holds Shmuel's hand, cementing their friendship. However, it is the narrator who steps in and tells us what a dynamic shift this is for Bruno: “He looked down and did something quite out of character for him: he took hold of Shmuel's tiny hand in his and squeezed it tightly."
By giving us the outside narrator, Boyne is able to better show the maturity that happens with Bruno. He is able to absorb his new...
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