Discuss the transformations of characters throughout The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that most of these changes are going to be seen in Bruno.  It is not as though he evolves from bad to good.  Rather, he changes in appropriating and understanding more of his world.  Bruno starts out with an intense dislike towards "Out- With" because it is not his home with his friends.  However, he ends up making his own sense of home there and this becomes solidified through his friendship with Shmuel.  His transformation includes being able to doubt some of the things that have been taught to him, such as German superiority lessons on the part of Herr Liszt, and the idea that his world is the only one.  His ability to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of friendship despite his fear and dislike of life on the other side of the fence is an excellent indicator of this change.  I believe that other changes can be seen in the mother, who no longer trusts her husband and his career plans with unquestioned loyalty.  Gretel has changed, as well.  At the end of the novel, she is beside herself with grief and sadness at the disappearance of her brother.  The father, himself, undergoes change when he reconstructs what happens at the end of the novel.  He has little regard for what happens to him as he recognizes that his own dream and pursuit of Nazism cost him his son as well as many others.  In this light, the transformations of the characters come about, but with a great sense of cost attached to such change.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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