What are four adjectives that describe Lieutenant Kotler in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?

Expert Answers

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

Nasty. A dedicated Nazi, Lieutenant Kotler is a fanatical believer in the idea of Aryan supremacy. To him, the Germans are the master-race, and this gives them the right to treat so-called lesser races like Jews and Slavs however they please. Kotler graphically demonstrates his commitment to Nazi ideology as...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Nasty. A dedicated Nazi, Lieutenant Kotler is a fanatical believer in the idea of Aryan supremacy. To him, the Germans are the master-race, and this gives them the right to treat so-called lesser races like Jews and Slavs however they please. Kotler graphically demonstrates his commitment to Nazi ideology as well as his sheer nastiness when he brutally beats the servant Pavel for accidentally spilling some wine on his lap.

Patronizing. Bruno positively loathes Kotler. And with good reason, too. Because every time Kotler sees the boy he calls him "little man," which Bruno hates. Though only a young man himself, Kotler has clearly long since left his childhood behind and thus feels free to treat Bruno with condescension.

Ambitious. He's only 19 years old, yet already Kotler's rising rapidly through the ranks of Nazi officialdom. This is clearly a young man in a hurry, determined to continue climbing his way up the greasy pole while there's still time left. And Kotler's ambition isn't simply confined to his career. His illicit relationship with Bruno's mother is indicative of a man who covets other men's wives.

Handsome. He may be ugly on the inside, but Kotler's quite a dashing young fellow, all the same. With his blond hair and piercing blue eyes, he's the epitome of the Aryan ideal. No wonder that Bruno's sister Gretel develops such a crush on him. And no wonder, too, that his mother should conduct an illicit affair with this handsome young soldier.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Determined: Lieutenant Kotler is a determined individual throughout the novel. He leaves his family behind and even alters his appearance by dying his hair blonde to come across as the ideal Aryan soldier. He desperately tries to climb the ranks of the Nazi regime and is always at Bruno's house trying to impress the Commandant in hopes of gaining favor to earn a promotion.

Rude: Lieutenant Kotler also comes across as rather rude and sarcastic. Bruno hates Kotler because Kotler does not show him respect and addresses him as "little man." Kotler's snide comments continually upset Bruno, and the young lieutenant also treats Pavel and Shmuel disrespectfully.

Sly: Kotler is a sneaky, sly individual who disguises his true intentions. Although he is polite and friendly to the Commandant's face, Kotler carries on an affair with the Commandant's wife behind his back. Kotler's affair is eventually revealed, and he is relieved of his position.

Violent: Lieutenant Kotler is an aggressive, violent individual who physically abuses the Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. There are several scenes throughout the novel that depict Kotler's violent temper. He mercilessly beats Pavel and Shmuel for minor offenses and shows no sympathy for them after their beatings.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team