How does chapter 13 of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas foreshadows Bruno's death?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Bruno still does not understand what goes on at the camp, he starts to notice that people are very thin. When he talks through the fence with his new friend, Schmuel is fearful and pale, especially when Bruno mentions Lieutenant Kotler's name. As they sit on either side of the fence, Schmuel asks Bruno if he has anything to eat such as bread, so in Chapter Thirteen Bruno stuffs his pockets before coming to see Schmuel. While they talk, it seems to Bruno that they have much in common besides sharing the same birthday, but Schmuel quietly tells him that he does not know what goes on in the camp. Further, when Bruno mentions the name of Lt. Kotler, Schmuel trembles with fear. To many of his questions, Schmuel replies, "You don't understand."

At dinner that night, Lieutenant Kotler attends, much to Bruno's dismay. When the topic of history is broached, Bruno says that he dislikes studying history; this statement angers his father, who reproaches him, "We are correcting history here." When he does not understand, Bruno's sister apologizes for him, saying he is ignorant. During all this time, Pavel looks very pale and his hands tremble as he pours the wine. In fact, he spills the wine onto Kotler, who does something unspeakable to Pavel. That night Bruno reflects upon the dinner and wonders if what Kotler has done is the type of action that occurs at the camp. He resolves that he

...had better not disagree with anyone any more about anything....In fact, he would do well to keep his mouth shut and cause no chaos at all.

In this chapter, then, there is foreshadowing of more things to come that are disturbing. Both Schmuel and Pavel are thinner and paler. And, with Bruno unaware of how the Germans "are correcting history" now, he cannot know the consequences of his befriending Schmuel and his earlier suggestion in Chapter Eleven that he could crawl under the fence. Bruno notes, also, how terrorized both Schmuel and Pavel are by the person of Lieutenant Kotler.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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