How does Bruno's character grow throughout the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

Bruno's character grows throughout the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as he learns to distinguish between people who are good and those who are not, to accept his sister despite her flaws, to be more adaptable when his parents uproot him. He also learns that he can form important new friendships anywhere.

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Bruno's character grows throughout the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as he learns to distinguish people who are good from those who are not. For instance, when his sister is forming an attachment to Lieutenant Kotler, Bruno is unhappy. He recognizes that Lieutenant Kotler is not a nice...

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Bruno's character grows throughout the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as he learns to distinguish people who are good from those who are not. For instance, when his sister is forming an attachment to Lieutenant Kotler, Bruno is unhappy. He recognizes that Lieutenant Kotler is not a nice person.

Bruno feels “a great urge to go back there and pull Gretel away” from Lieutenant Kotler. It is not that Bruno and Gretel have gotten closer than they were in Berlin. In fact, he thinks that "she [is] annoying and self-centered and mean to him most of the time." He recognizes, however, that this is normal for siblings at a certain age. He even thinks to himself, “That, after all, was her job. She was his sister.”

The reason that he does not want Gretel to get close to Lieutenant Kotler is that,

he hated the idea of leaving her alone with a man like Lieutenant Kotler. There really was no other way to dress it up: he was just plain nasty.

Another way that Bruno grows is that he learns to be more adaptable. When the book opens, Bruno is unhappy about leaving Berlin and his friends. He does not understand the need for the move and he protests to his mother. By the end of the book his parents decide that he and his sister will return to Berlin. Bruno does not really want to leave because of his friendship with Shmuel, but he decides not to protest. He “decided that whatever happened, he would accept the decision without complaint.”

He also comes to realize that home is relative. To him, it is where you have good friends. He tells Shmuel:

. . .The rest of us are going home.' He said the word 'home', despite the fact that he wasn't sure where 'home' was any more.

When his father asks how he feels about the move back to Berlin, he even replies:

Well, yes,' he replied, considering his answer carefully, "but I think I'd miss people no matter where I went.

Despite his youth, he is astute enough to realize that he can form important new friendships anywhere, as he has with Shmuel. He also realizes that things probably have changed in Berlin:

There was one part of him that remembered that he had loved his own life back there, but so many things would have changed by now. Karl and the other two best friends whose names he couldn't remember would probably have forgotten about him by now.

The day before the planned departure, Bruno also agrees to help Shmuel find his father because he had promised that he would, and "he wasn't the sort to go back on a promise."

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In the beginning of the story, when Bruno has to leave his home and friends in Germany because of his father's promotion, he has a negative, self-centered outlook on the situation because he has no desire to leave the familiar environment of his home in Berlin and his friends there. However, once he and his family move out to the countryside, Bruno's natural curiosity leads him to explore his new surroundings, even though his father forbids it, and this exploration allows him to grow as a character because he comes face to face with a very different world than the comfortable one he has enjoyed all his life.

One day, during an exploration, Bruno comes across a camp that he has seen from his house. It is surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and he sees, to his surprise, people wearing stripped pajamas inside it. Intrigued, Bruno visits often and soon becomes friends with a little boy named Shmuel on the other side of the fence. This meeting is a turning point in the growth of Bruno's character because he becomes more focused on the needs of his new friend than on his own, and his unhappiness at being far from Berlin fades to the back of his mind. For example, when he realizes that Shmuel is hungry, he sneaks food to him through the fence. Bruno's character growth is most strikingly illustrated at the end of the book when he finds a way to dig under the fence to help Shmuel find his father, a selfless decision that contrasts strikingly with his self-centeredness at the beginning of the novel.

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Though Bruno never quite overcomes his naivety and innocence, he does nonetheless experience quite profound change throughout the course of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. What changes more than anything else is Bruno's capacity for empathy, which ultimately leads to his tragic demise. For it is this capacity which allows Bruno to develop an unlikely friendship with Shmuel, eventually leading him to cross over to the other side of the fence.

Bruno may be a young boy, and a very naive young boy at that, but he does have a sense—however vague—of something bigger in this world, something that transcends the artificial barriers people put between themselves and each other. In developing his friendship with Shmuel, Bruno is unwittingly getting in touch with his humanity, something that his standard Nazi upbringing was meant to suppress.

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At the beginning of the novel, Bruno absolutely hates his new home and misses his friends back in Germany. He does his best to obey his father but is very depressed at his current situation. As the novel progresses, Bruno begins to explore his environment, against his father's commands, and interacts with the people living in his home at "Out-With." Bruno has several significant interactions with Pavel and Maria, which develop his perspective and empathy towards individuals. Although Bruno remains naive about their situation, he shares a connection with Pavel and Maria, which allows him to sympathize with them.

Bruno also meets a little boy named Shmuel, who lives on the other side of the fence and develops a close friendship with him. As their friendship grows, so does Bruno's compassion and awareness. Bruno becomes less selfish and begins to bring Shmuel food during their visits. He also notices Shmuel's declining health. At home, Bruno forms negative opinions of Lieutenant Kotler and notices his mother's misery.

Despite his ominous surroundings, Bruno begins to enjoy his life at "Out-With." He relishes his friendship with Shmuel, stops missing his old home in Germany, and even begins to get along with his sister. When Shmuel asks Bruno to help him look for his father, Bruno gladly volunteers. Bruno's willingness to help his friend demonstrates his growth and moral development. Bruno no longer exclusively considers his own feelings but recognizes the importance of helping out a friend. Bruno risks getting into a lot of trouble climbing under the fence but does so anyway to help Shmuel. Bruno's stable friendship, caring attitude, and awareness depict his growth throughout the novel.

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