What are three important quotes from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many important quotations in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  When choosing important quotations from this book, one should look for something having to do with Nazi propaganda, the wisdom of the young and innocent, and the importance of the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel.

They’re not people at all ... at least not as we understand the term. ... You have nothing whatsoever in common with them.

This quotation is spoken to Bruno by Bruno's father, the Commandant in the Nazi Army.  It is a perfect example of what the German people were forced to believe during World War II.  Bruno's father is lying about Jewish people in this statement.  Jews are people.  Bruno has much in common with them, especially with Shmuel.

What exactly was the difference? He wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?

This quotation shows the hidden wisdom behind Bruno's innocence.  Not yet inflicted with Nazi propaganda enough to color his opinion, Bruno does not understand the differences between the Jewish people on one side of the fence, the German people outside the fence, and the German soldiers.  Bruno makes an important point here:  they are all people worthy of respect.

Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.

This quotation concludes the very last moments of Bruno's life.  He has donned "striped pajamas" himself in order to help Shmuel find his father inside the fence.  Eventually, the two are led to the gas chambers with many others.  This quotation is a testament to the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel.  Even though Bruno was not sure what was happening to them, Bruno vows to be with Shmuel until then end because they are "friends for life."

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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