Is Lieutenant Kotler from the book Boy in the Striped Pajamas good or evil? Explain with 3 strong points.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lieutenant Kotler is an evil man in the novel Boy in the Striped Pajamas. There are several scenes that portray his evil nature. When Bruno first meets Lieutenant Kotler he does not like Kotler because he displays indignance towards him and treats him like a baby. Towards the end of Chapter 13, Pavel accidentally spills wine on Lieutenant Kotler. Boyne does not go into detail, but Bruno mentions that Kotler violently punishes Pavel for spilling the wine on him. Bruno says that Kotler's treatment of Pavel makes him cry, and Gretel looks away. Kotler is a violent man with a short temper. His brutal treatment of Pavel depicts his evil nature.

In Chapter 15, Kotler takes Shmuel from the concentration camp inside Bruno's house to clean shot glasses for an upcoming party. While Kotler is occupied with Bruno's mother, Bruno gives his friend some chicken to eat. When Kotler comes into the kitchen, he assumes that Shmuel stole food out of the fridge. Bruno is terrified of Kotler and says that he doesn't know Shmuel because he fears Kotler's reaction. Later on, Bruno mentions that the next time he sees Shmuel he has bruises on his face. Shmuel tells Bruno that Lieutenant Kotler beat him severely for eating. The fact that Kotler physically assaults a child who is suffering from malnutrition portrays his evil character.

As the novel progresses, Boyne indirectly suggests that Kotler is having an affair with the Commandant's wife. Bruno mentions that they are very close friends, and Kotler makes his mother laugh more than his father does. It is implied that Kotler is transferred after the Commandant finds out about the affair. Kotler's affair depicts his disrespect towards his authority figures and lack of loyalty to the Commandant. Lieutenant Kotler is truly an evil character throughout the novel.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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