The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Essay

1 . Contrast the two characters, Pavel and Kotler in the novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Pavel Kotler -old (middle-age) -young (teenager) -doctor, waiter -soldier -wears dirty grey pajamas -wears clean, ironed German uniform -bows before Kotler -calls him “names” -courteous toward Bruno in that he calls him “young man” -insolent toward Bruno in that he calls him, “little man” -kind, warm, gentle -mean, cold, evil, nasty -speaks quietly -yells Pavel is old and a doctor by profession and working as a cook/waiter in Bruno’s home.

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Kotler is a young teenage soldier who is working for Bruno’s Father in the Nazi regime. Both wear a uniform but Pavel’s uniform is dirty, grey and look like pajamas. Kotler’s uniform is clean and pressed and looks important. He wears black shiny boots that sparkle. Pavel bows before Kotler to show respect but Kotler doesn’t do this before Pavel. Kotler has more stature or power to do and act as he pleases toward Pavel. Pavel is very courteous and respectful to Bruno as shown when he calls him, “young man”, unlike Kotler who is quite insolent and disrespectful to Bruno when he calls him “little man”.

Pavel is a kind, gentle man with manners as shown when he dresses Bruno’s wounds. You feel that he is displaced in Bruno’s home – that he doesn’t belong. You feel his humble intelligence as he speaks with Bruno. Kotler is mean, cold and plain nasty as he yells at Pavel with such intensity and utter disrepect. You feel the utter fear as he calls Pavel a filthy jew. 2. Determine the irony that exists between Pavel and Kotler. The irony of the situation is the circumstance that exists between Pavel and Kotler.

It is ironic that Pavel, an educated doctor, is working as a waiter/cook in Bruno’s house. It is ironic that Kotler, a teenage soldier, has more stature, more power than Pavel who is older, wiser and educated. It is ironic that Pavel has to bow before Kotler even though he is the elder and the elderly are always held in high regard. This is irony because the circumstance between Pavel and Kotler is actually the opposite to what should be expected if this was a normal society.

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