In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, what is Maria doing as the story begins?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Maria is the family maid and she is packing Bruno's belongings for an impending move. Life is about to change irrevocably for Bruno's family as they are about to move away from his beloved Berlin due to his father having been given a very important assignment far away. Initially Bruno is confused and even angry when he comes home and Maria is in his room. Bruno's first thought is that he may have done something wrong and is being sent away and he insists that Maria stops immediately, but his father is a Nazi commandant and he has been assigned to "Out-with," (Bruno's mispronunciation), so much to Bruno's mother's dismay, there will be no discussion. The whole family, including Maria, will be moving to "Out-With" for the foreseeable future. Maria is very loyal to Bruno's family, and later she will try to help Bruno make sense of the circumstances and "desolate place" the family finds itself in. Unfortunately for Bruno, he only has Maria, his sister Gretel, "the hopeless case' and his new friend Shmuel to really talk to and no one could have predicted the significance of Maria packing Bruno's things that day and the tragic outcome of the family's decision to move. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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