Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Friendship

By Piper Kerman

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Friendships happen in strange places. There are places where women live together with no other men. They have roommates, they decorate their rooms, there are hazing rituals and cliques, and along the way, women find something in common with people whom they'd never even speak to in the real world.

No, we're not talking about a sorority or all-girls' summer camp. We're talking about prison—this is Orange is the New Black, after all. Piper finds herself thrown in with a group of people from across the country, many of whom she'd probably never give the time of day to if she passed them on the streets. But in such close quarters, she makes friends with them. And it's her friends who keep her sane.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why does Piper's lawyer advise her not to make friends? Why does Piper go against this advice? What type of women does she make friends with?
  2. Would Piper ever be friends with these women outside of prison?
  3. Do you think Piper still keeps in touch with her friends after getting out of prison?

Chew on This

Piper uses her street smarts (being in the drug trade was quite an education) to befriend women who won't take advantage of her in prison.

Prison is like high school, and all the women in prison want friendship of a sort. Some of them just go about it in different ways, like trying to bully or cheat others, as though that will win them companionship.

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