The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Discrimination doen't interfere with true friendship.

In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the friendship between two boys isn't determined by their religion or the color of their skin. "Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go." This scene shows how Bruno was not planning to dump his friend in a moment of terrible crisis. To them, religion or race didn't matter. They were always there for each other on opposite sides of the fence when they needed them most. "he took hold of Shmuel's tiny hand in his and squeezed it tightly. 'You're my best friend Shmuel,' he said. 'My best friend for life.' " Bruno always thought he had three best friends for life in Berlin, yet over the course of the year, Shmuel was there for him to talk to whenever Bruno needed company. He realized that a best friend wasn't someone who you play football and games with. A best friend is someone who listens to you and is always there when you need a shoulder to cry on. I can relate the theme of this book to the novel, The Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. This book is about the friendship of 2 kids who create the magical kingdom of Terabithia. Being with each other allowed the 2 kids to take a break from the real world and let their imagination flow. I can relate the relationship of them to the relationship of Bruno and Shmuel because no matter what tragedy occurred, the friendship of the kids never broke.

Bruno, who is full of innocence and life; would do anything for his best friend, Shmuel on the other side of the fence.


Nine year old Bruno loves his life in Berlin, but one day, he and his sister, the hopeless case, Gretel, the house maids, his mother, and his father, the commandment of the Nazi's had no choice but to move to an abandoned place called Out-With. Bruno despises his new home, however he is very curious of the mysterious people in the striped pajamas on the other side of the fence. One boring day, he decides to explore the forest, hoping to witness what lies on the other side. Instead, he finds a small boy named Shmuel in the striped pajamas sitting cross legged on the opposite side of the fence. Bruno befriended the shaggy boy and brought food and conversation to him almost everyday. One day, Shmuel's papa disappeared, and he delivered the news to Bruno; while Bruno told Shmuel that he was moving back to Berlin. They decided that Bruno will pretend that he is jewish and will dress in striped pajamas; and would help Shmuel find his papa. The Nazi soldiers end up killing the two boys, yet their friendship lives on.

John Boyne (Author)

John Boyne was born in 1971 in Dublin, Ireland, where he studied english literature and creative writing. His early writing was mostly comprised of short stories. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, published in 2006, won several awards. It won the Irish Book Award Children's Book of the Year, Irish Book Award People's Choice Book of the Year, Bistro Book of the Year, Que Leer Award Best International Novel or the Year (Spain), Orange Prize Readers Group Book of the Year, and many more! The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was also made into an award winning movie. It has sold over 5 million copies around the world.