In Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, why do you think Bruno always tries to be honest with himself?

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

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I think that Bruno's honesty with himself is indicative of how little this element of reflection is practiced in Nazi Germany.  I think that it is deliberate that Bruno is so honest with himself and so self- reflective that he is seen as an outsider.  In the opening chapters, everyone is either excited about the move to "Out- With" or refuses to say anything honest about it.  Bruno breaks this, going against the current by speaking his mind and reflecting about what is happening.  It might be a statement that Boyne is trying to make about Nazi society at the time in making Bruno an outsider precisely because he is so honest.  Nazi society did not embrace openness and dissenting thought as the result of self- reflection.  Rather, "group think" and conformity were seen as intrinsically good values, evidenced in Gretel.  Bruno is an outsider because of his honest and his reflection, characteristics that were not shared as part of the norm in Nazi Germany society.  In constructing Bruno in this manner from the earliest point in the narrative, Boyne is able to make a statement about the nature of individuality and conformity in Nazi Germany.


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