What is a summary for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is told from the point of view of the eight year old boy, Bruno, who is growing up in a wealthy German family just prior to World War II. Bruno is the son of an SS Commandant and his wife who have one other child, a girl who is older than Bruno. The boy’s father is tapped to become the commander of the Jewish concentration camp at Auschwitz, therefore they move out into the countryside.

Bruno becomes friends with another young boy, Shmuel, who is on the other side of an electrified fence. Shmuel is dressed strangely in a pair of striped pajamas with a gold band around his arm. Bruno soon finds out that this is a forbidden friendship because Shmuel is in an extermination camp for Jews.

Shmuel asks Bruno to help him find his father in the extermination camp which induces Bruno to disguise himself as a prisoner. The friendship ultimately leads to a horrifying ending as the author, using the fence as a strong symbol, teaches the lesson that loyalty and friendship can transcend the limitations of class and religious beliefs.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas explores the theme of friendship. Two boys meet. Bruno is the son of a Nazi commandant and Shmuel is a Polish Jew who is interned at Auschwitz. The boys quickly learn that despite being separated by a fence, they have quite a lot in common, including their birthday. The two boys, too young to understand why they are not supposed to be friends, come to understand one another and ultimately suffer the same fate despite their different situations. The novel explores the idea that the only fences that exist are the ones we create.

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