What are the themes about change in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the theme of change is evident throughout the book.  In the beginning of the story, Bruno is an innocent boy who does what his parents tell him.  With the move to his father's new job, Bruno becomes an explorer of his surroundings and a friend to Schmuel, the boy on the inside of the fence.  Bruno is willing to hide this friendship even though he knows it would anger his parents.  During the dinner with Adolph Hitler and his girlfriend Eva, Bruno watches his sister pander to the adults and becomes even more determined to follow his own ideas.  His sister changes from a girl who loves dolls to a girl who follows the Nazi beliefs willingly. Even the tutor who teaches the Nazi beliefs doesn't convince Bruno.  Lieutenant Kotler doesn't really change except to become more brutal in carrying out his job.  When Bruno goes inside the fence and becomes a victim with his only friend to the killing machine which Auschwitz is, now his father and mother change their views of the job the father was doing. The mother had tried to shield her children from the horrors of Auschwitz but really hadn't done anything to change it. Now she searches for her son, and leaves Auschwitz.  The father loses his only son to the killing machine he had sent countless others to, and only when it becomes personal, does he begin to see the error of his blindly following a belief system without thinking on his own.  He regrets his time as the Auschwitz commandant knowing that it is the cause of his own son's death.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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