To a great extent, the astonishment shared about both boys' birthday is also reflective of the fact that each one has found another. Shmuel has retreated to this particular place along the side of the fence because he seeks to be away from the intense pain that exists among "the pajama people." Bruno is astonished that he has found someone of his own age, a reminder of how life was in Berlin before the family moved to "Out- With." Both find one another in a setting where companionship for both is extremely difficult. The fact that they share the same birthday almost creates the belief that their friendship was destined to happen, in a sense. From a symbolic point of view, the sharing of their same birthday also makes each recognize how similar they are and that the only real difference between them is the presence of the fence. The fact that each lives on another side of the fence is the only real difference between them, a compelling argument about how random selection and pure chance played such a large role in determining life and death in the Holocaust.