The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Theme of Friendship

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Updated: Mar 07, 2023
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In “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” John Boyne’s movie brings us into the life of a unique young man named Bruno who is going on a mission to let nobody find out the secrets that he has been keeping to himself. Bruno is raised in a German family during a very rough time known as The Holocaust. Bruno is going to have to face challenges along the way and make some choices that are questionable. Bruno’s sticky situation will show us his lack of understanding real-world problems and the hunt for friendship in a family and area that has no answers.

As the movie beginnings right off the bat, we see the loving and amazing connection Bruno has with his friends. A theme is already developing as the movie begins with Bruno spending time playing around and not caring about anything else going on. The first instance in the movie is when Bruno’s mother states that they will be moving to another area because of his father becoming a high ranked soldier and the first respond Bruno had was he going to be able to see his friends again and continue making memories. There will always be a desire for friendship especially since kids don’t like to be alone.

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Bruno’s lack of understanding of the real world shows because of the little information that he receives about what is going on in the Holocaust and he is even told lies about what happens. When Bruno finds a way to leave the new house he manages to make his way to the concentration camp which he thinks is a big playground for kids. As he comes up to the fence he meets Shmuel, Bruno is interested to see what it’s like in the camp because he often would rather stay with his friend. As he gets home he walks around the house he stumbles upon a video of the concentration camps where his friend is living and how great and safe they are. They state there is a “cafeteria” and a playground for the children. Which would sound fun for a kid who moved to an area nothing of that sort happens.

There will always be a strong universal desire of friendship with kids of these ages. As the movie advances, he starts to build a large connection with Shueml. They both show their lack of understanding and need for friendship as they discuss the very little they know about the two very different worlds that they are living in, but they are beyond happy to have a friend. From the little, they do know what’s going on the knowledge that they have to keep the friendship a secret which brings them to a situation where Shueml gets unlucky. Shueml is at Bruno’s house serving food and Bruno decides to give him a piece of bread. As Shueml puts the food in his mouth he was caught by a guard, the guard holds him up and asks Bruno if he knows who this kid is and he declined because he does not want to ruin his friendship. This situation really puts Bruno in a tough spot because of how bad he feels doing this.

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Bruno feels the need to help out Shueml after they had a little bump in their friendship. Bruno can only think about the great things that he has been told about the concentration camp. At this point, he believes that being there with Shumel is going to be a better life than staying at home with no friends. The next day Bruno is visiting Shueml and he tells him about his father and how went missing. Bruno feels about what happened at his house so he said yes. Bruno states that he will do anything for his best friends completely forgetting about his old friends that he used to have. Shumel asked him to crawl through the fence and they start the hunt for his father. As Bruno looks he realizes how bad it is but he still wants to help his best friend. This shows us the desire for friendship and how having someone be there for you is important. Bruno’s lack of understanding also gets him caught in this situation and there is nothing he can do at this point.

As this very sad ending comes along it shows the importance of these two themes. Understanding the importance of not only what’s happening in this world but what is happening that has a very large impact on your life is extremely valuable to anyone near Bruno’s age. All Bruno needed was a friend to be by his side and someone to make memories with. Bruno was heartbroken leaving his friends but found a new one at the wrong time and the wrong place.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Theme of Friendship. (2019, Jul 08). Retrieved from