The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
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Chapter 14 Summary

Bruno continues to meet Shmuel by the fence in the afternoons. He asks every day if he can come over to Shmuel’s side so they can play together, but Shmuel says:

I don’t know why you’re so anxious to come across here.... It’s not very nice.

Bruno complains the difficulties of his own living conditions and even expresses envy over the advantages he thinks Shmuel has over him, which shows that he has absolutely no understanding of what life is like on the other side of the fence.

One day it rains heavily and Bruno is unable to go out to meet Shmuel. Bored, he is lying on his bed reading a book when his sister barges in and asks what he is doing. Unthinkingly, Bruno mentions that he should be with Shmuel right now. Gretel is instantly suspicious and demands to know if he has found someone to play with. Bruno considers telling Gretel the truth about his new friend, but after thinking about it he decides not to. Instead, he tells his sister that he has an imaginary friend. Bruno tries to act embarrassed to make his story more convincing, and he knows he has been successful when Gretel begins to make fun of his immaturity.

Because she also has nothing to do, Gretel plays along and asks Bruno what makes his imaginary friend so special to him. Bruno, realizing that he is being offered the opportunity to talk about Shmuel without revealing “the truth about his existence,” describes for his sister some of the things they talk about. Bruno says that he tells Shmuel about his life in Berlin and the friends that he still misses very much and that Shmuel in turn tells him about his family and

the adventures he had coming here...and the boys he used to...

(The entire section is 463 words.)