In The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, Bruno thinks Shmuel's name "sounds like the wind blowing". Shmuel thinks Bruno's name "sounds like someone who is rubbing their arms to keep warm." What can you...

In The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, Bruno thinks Shmuel's name "sounds like the wind blowing". Shmuel thinks Bruno's name "sounds like someone who is rubbing their arms to keep warm." What can you infer from the simile each boy uses?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno and his family have moved from Berlin to be close to Bruno's father's workplace, "Out-With," as Bruno mispronounces their new location because he has been given "a very special job," (ch 1). Many of Bruno's descriptions are related to his own environment and he measures everything according to his experiences. In Berlin, Bruno's friends are his "three best friends for life" (ch 1) and he has to say goodbye to them and there will be no more sliding down the banister, making "whooshing sounds;" the banister being "the best thing about this house." As soon as Bruno sees the new house, he knows that it will not be a place to have fun and he particularly notices that it looks "empty and cold" and stands alone and looks, "desolate," (ch 2) which is significant as Bruno's loneliness and love of exploring are what drive him to investigate the fence where he will find Shmuel who is a "dot  that became a speck..." (ch 10). Bruno considers his discovery of a boy as similar to the great explorers discovering "something interesting...(such as America)..." 

Bruno sees his discovery of another boy as having great potential for friendship and intends to take advantage of his opportunity. He wants the other boy to think he is "adventurous" and interesting and cannot help noticing how sad he looks.  Bruno and Shmuel introduce themselves and each finds the other's name quite curious. Bruno likes the way Shmuel sounds "like the wind blowing,"  (ch 10). This simile indicates Bruno's carefree life where boredom is his biggest problem and having friends to explore with is his biggest wish. It also reveals more about what it is like living on his side of the fence where there are no strict regulations. Using the wind as a comparison is significant because wind blows in any direction, uncontrolled by anything except nature, unlike the situation for the boys. The wind is also blowing the same regardless of which side of the fence the boys are sitting on, making no distinction between Jew and German.  

Shmuel also likes the sound of Bruno's name because it "sounds like someone who is rubbing their arms to keep warm." Shmuel's description reveals that his life is certainly not carefree on his side of the fence. He has to worry about the things that Bruno takes for granted and one of his biggest concerns is having the ability to keep warm. So, for him to describe Bruno's name this way is what makes him happy because warmth is as close to contentment as he can get. 

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