How is the relationship between Bruno and Gretel being portrayed through the use of language in chapter 14?

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

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In chapter 14, the reader begins to see how Bruno is maturing and evolving as a human being, while his sister is remaining stagnant.  Consider that after she plays along with Bruno's "imaginary friend" narrative, she rebukes him as being too immature and that she has more elevated things to do.  At this point, she goes off to play with her dolls.  At the same time, Bruno is stopped in reflection about what life for Shmuel must be like.  He feels a sense of sadness through this empathy and becomes reflective about his condition of life and how Bruno would feel in similar dire straits.  It is here where the relationship between Bruno and Gretel is beginning to diverge into a realm through which Gretel is more along the lines of the conformist German society that is following the lead of the Nazis and Bruno is emerging into the embodiment of the voice of dissent.  The language that both brother and sister use is reflective of this change in both of them.  Bruno is speaking about issues of "truth" and language that is reflective of the nature of identity.  Gretel is talking about how people will see Bruno and how she is "mature," when in reality the more mature of them is quietly and pensively thinking about life in the camp for others.   In this, language is reflective of the divergent strains of relationship between both of them.

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