In chapter 16, how is the theme of friendship redefined in Bruno's mind?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Bruno's mind, friendship is redefined in how he comes to view Shmuel.  Chapter 16 is where Bruno observes that life at "Out- With" features much in way of discord.  Father and mother are fighting more, while Gretel no longer plays with dolls and studies maps in her room.  Yet, Bruno feels good about the relationship he shares with Shmuel.  His friendship with Shmuel becomes redefined in light because of the fence and what it means.  Bruno is unable to gain a comprehensible answer from Gretel as to what separates who lives on which side of the fence or even why the fence exists in the first place.  

It is here in which the friendship Bruno shares with Shmuel is redefining.  While much of what Bruno understands about the division in "Out- With" fails to make sense to him, the friendship he shares with Shmuel does make sense.  It is here where he redefines his friendship with Shmuel.  When he has to have his head shaved, he recognizes that he looks just like Shmuel, with “eyes...too big for his face."  It is in this idea where Bruno's friendship with Shmuel is redefined, seeking to be more of a convergence with "the other" as opposed to a negation of it.  Bruno might not possess knowledge of how much resistance he demonstrates, but he moves closer to this point with the strengthening of his friendship with Shmuel.  This happens because of his redefinition of it.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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