What is the most important event in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

Expert Answers

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

In my mind, the most important event in the novel is the moment when both boys enter the gas chamber.  It is significance for a variety of moments.  The friendship between Bruno and Shmuel is at its apex at this moment.  It shows how important both are to one another.  At the same time, it is important as it shows how friendship can transcend the temporal conditions that might limit it.  Bruno and Shmuel are loyal to one another, even though their social order tells them opposite.  Bruno does not waver in his commitment to his friend, even though the society tells him otherwise.  It is also significant because his innocence and pure way of looking at the world is both murdered and martyred simultaneously.  The idea that Bruno dies with his friend is a moment of intense horror and intense beauty.  It is difficult to find one instant that captures both extremes, but I believe it is an important moment that speaks to the power of the book.  There are many important instants in the book that speak to what it means to be human, but I think that the moment when both boys enter the gas chamber is one of the most powerful.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial