What is Gretel like and how is she portrayed in the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? 

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Gretel is portrayed as a rather social girl who seems to care only about her social life as seen through the eyes of her brother, Bruno.  She has a doll collection which her brother views as evidence of her uncaring mentality except for herself.  Gretel becomes more and more interested in the Nazi beliefs, befriending one of the guards.  When the father, as commander of the Auschwitz camp, has Hitler come to their home for dinner, Gretel is fascinated and even flirts with the Nazis, which disgusts her brother.  He leaves the home to visit his friend at the fence, while Gretel stays to absorb more of the Nazi belief system.  Gretel really is portrayed as rather vacuous, content with her own social life and position, and gradually becoming a believer in the Nazi systems.  To me, she represents the general public who did nothing to investigate the Nazis, but accepted the propaganda and believed it even though her father was the commander at Auschwitz.  It would not have taken much to find out the truth. 

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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