Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Friendship

By Piper Kerman

Friendship

Chapter 2
Piper Kerman

I was overwhelmed by kindness and concern and cried over ever letter. (2.76)

Piper asks her friends to write letters about how awesome and amazing she is, and they do. It's like they're in middle school all over again, except instead of the threat of detention, the threat of eighteen months in federal prison is on the line.

"Call me if you run into trouble. And don't make any friends." (2.90)

This is Piper's lawyer's advice when she goes into prison. Of course, he hasn't been to prison, and going against this advice is what keeps Piper sane.

Chapter 6

"[Pop] needs someone to keep her company when I leave, and get her ice and soda for her, you know?" (6.104)

Um, is Pop looking for a friend or a servant? In prison, the line between the two seems blurry.

Maybe, just a little, I was starting to fit in. (6.82)

Even in prison, it's important to find a way to fit in. No one does well if they're isolated.

Chapter 12
Piper Kerman

Focusing on the positive was hard, but I knew that I had found the right women at Danbury to help me do it. (12.35)

Just like anywhere—school, work, prison… they're all so similar—finding the right friends is the key to mental health. Piper finds women who focus on the positive, support each other, and keep away those who just want to take advantage of them.

Chapter 13

I will have you in my heart from now and always. Happy B-Day Piper, may you have many more to come. Love, Janet. (13.91)

Piper loves to share her letters from her friends (they wrote a ton for her as character witnesses during her trial) and she even manages to get heartwarming letters from her friends inside prison. This woman makes friends everywhere.

Piper Kerman

I was really stunned. Card tables had been pushed together to make a long banquet, and around the table were an odd assortment of prisoners, my friends. (13.78)

This is one of the first times Piper refers to these women as her friends, and we get the idea that she's going to want to keep in touch with them even on the other side of the walls.

Chapter 14
Piper Kerman

"Thank you, Janet! Thank you so much! You helped me so much!" I couldn't say anything else, and I started to cry. And then she was gone. (14.6)

Janet isn't just a prison friend to Piper; she's a real friend. And Piper misses her a lot when she's gone, just like you'd miss anyone who leaves you.

Chapter 17
Piper Kerman

Also scrawled on the paper was the contact information for my friends in the Camp—and if they were due to go home soon, a street address. (17.7)

Here we get the proof that Piper does want to keep in touch with these women even after prison. Maybe they'll have a post-prison book club or something.

Our troubled history was suddenly matched by our more immediate shared experience as prisoners on an exhausting journey. (17.93)

That's prison: bringing people together. You know, even if it is involuntary.