What are key examples of prejudice in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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

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I think that the most demonstrative examples of prejudice that are the most present are the ones that create the reality to which Bruno becomes aware as the novel develops.  Bruno does not understand how "Out- With" is created or structured, yet he realizes that there are people who live in a different reality of the camp.  Over the course of the novel, he understands that these people's reality is not a good one and this becomes the basic tenet of prejudice that Bruno stands up against, without even knowing it.  For example, Bruno becomes aware that prejudice can lock people into stratified roles when he realizes that Pavel used to be a doctor.  He naturally assumes that he was a servant of some kind, but when he realizes that Pavel is a doctor and has the knowledge of a doctor, Bruno begins to recognize that judging people prematurely carries with it negative consequences.  His entire interaction with Shmuel is one that transcends prejudice and Bruno understands that treating people as ends in of themselves as opposed to means to ends is the only moral and ethical course of action.  Bruno does not set out to be a champion against prejudice and prejudicial attitudes that stratify society.  Yet, as the novel develops towards its inevitable climax, that what he ends up becoming.


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