set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

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What text clues indicate Bruno's admiration for his father?

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The conversation Bruno has with Shmuel in chapter 13 is very telling of Bruno’s admiration for his father, Ralf. Bruno tells Shmuel that he wants to be a soldier when he grows up, just like his father. Shmuel tells him there are no good soldiers, and Bruno defends Ralf:

That’s why he has such an impressive uniform and why everyone calls him Commandant and does whatever he says. The Fury has big things in mind for him because he’s such a good soldier.

Bruno is proud of his father's promotion to Commandant by Adolf Hitler. His words indicate the great respect he has for his father, who is a leader and has the power to command. Note that Bruno’s notion of his father being a good soldier is connected to appearance (“an impressive uniform”) and effectiveness at his job. Shmuel has first-hand experience of the atrocities conducted by concentration camp soldiers, and his conception of a “good soldier” is in reference to morality.

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