set of striped pajamas behind a barbed wire fence

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

Start Free Trial

What happens to Schmuel in Chapter 15 when Bruno fails to defend him and Lt. Kotler takes him away?

Quick answer:

Schmuel's face is bruised because he was beaten for denying his friendship with Bruno, and refusing to tell Lt. Kotler that he was Jewish. Bruno felt so bad about betraying Schmuel at the house, that he feels like the bruises on Schmuel's face were his fault, even though they weren't. "Bruno had never felt so ashamed in his life; he had never imagined that he could behave so cruelly." (pg 174) The way that Bruno apologizes to Schmuel shows that Bruno hasn't learned anything from this experience yet. He is just repeating what happened before when Schmuel got in trouble for bringing him home: "I'

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bruno felt terrible about denying their friendship. 

"He had never felt so ashamed in his life; he had never imagined that he could behave so cruelly. He wondered how a boy who thought he was a good person really could act in such a cowardly way towards a friend." (pg 174)

Because he felt so bad about it, it really hurt when he didn't see Schmuel for almost a week.  Bruno was convinced that what he had done was so  bad that Schmuel would never forgive him. However, Schmuel showed up seven days later in their same meeting spot. Bruno apologizes again, but when Schmuel looks up,

"There was a lot of bruising on his face and Bruno grimaced" (pg 174)

Bruno, in his innocence, asks if Schmuel fell off his bicycle because that is the only thing he can relate to that would cause that kind of black and blue mark.  The bruising INFERS that Schmuel was beaten for his actions in the house and for not telling the truth to Lt. Kotler, even though he was totally innocent.  When Bruno tells Schmuel that it looks like it hurts, Schmuel answers,

"I don't feel anything anymore." (pg 175)

Schmuel forgives Bruno and offers his hand in friendship.  It was the first time the boys touched.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial