Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short and simple answer is that both Bruno and Shmuel are, in the end, just two little boys. The entire Nazi doctrine was built around the belief that they were somehow inherently different, but the friendship they build during the novel symbolizes, through a tragedy, that when it came down to it, they were quite interchangeable. The Nazi guards had absolutely no way of determining that Bruno didn't belong in the camp; the novel's bleak ending serves to show the absurdity of the Nazi worldview.

The truth of the matter is that, while Bruno and Shmuel became friends partly thanks to some external similarities, like their shared birthday, they both just needed a playmate, like any other child in the history of the world. Separated by an artificial fence—both literally and figuratively—and brought together...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 417 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team