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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Essay Sample

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Essay Sample

For several weeks the rain was on and off and on and off. Even though I had waited by the fence every day Bruno had not been for a while. I was missing my good friend.  During the morning line up Lieutenant Kotler was searching for a boy with tiny fingers to do some work. As he walked slowly down the line, I was hoping that he wouldn’t choose me because all too often when people leave the camp they never seem to return. He stopped in front of me and pulled out my hands to look at my fingers and said, “You’ll do little Jew.”

Lieutenant Kotler walked me up a dirt path clutching my arm tightly, which gave me a bruise. We walked for only five or six minutes until we arrived at a massive two-story house. He took me into the kitchen where he sat me at a large table. On the table there were sixty-four small glasses and a bowl of warm soapy water and paper napkins. Lieutenant Kotler told me to polish all of the glasses and not to move from the table or there will be trouble. I started polishing the glasses with no hesitation.

I had only polished ten glasses when from the other side of the kitchen I heard the voice of Bruno saying “Shmuel what are you doing here.” Seeing my good friend Bruno made me the happiest I had felt in days and a huge smile came across my face.

Bruno looked at all the small glasses and with a puzzled look asked me what I was doing. I explained to Bruno that I was here to polish the glasses and that Lieutenant Kotler had picked me because I had tiny fingers. To show him this I held my hand out and Bruno held his hand out so the tips of our fingers where almost touching. When I looked at our two hands I couldn’t believe how different they were. Bruno asked me how my hands got so thin and grey looking. I had not thought about this before but my hands compared to Bruno’s seemed so lifeless. I hadn’t notice my hands changing because all the people in the camp had hands the same as mine. I told Bruno “everyone on my side of the fence looks like this now.”

Bruno turned around and opened the refrigerator. He hunted inside and pulled out a half stuffed chicken and with a big knife started cutting slices. I had not seen that much food for one person in so long. My mouth was watering as I remembered the beautiful taste of roasted chicken. Bruno said, “if only you didn’t have to polish glasses I could show you to my room.” As much as seeing Bruno’s room would please me, right now the only thing that I could think of was the chicken. Bruno started to tell me about Lieutenant Kotler and how he hadn’t read the book Treasure Island but all I could focus on was the chicken Bruno was throwing casually into his mouth. I think Bruno noticed me staring at the food he was eating and asked me if I wanted some. I told him that that’s a question you never have to ask me because nowadays I had barely any food. Bruno started to cut me some slices but I didn’t want t take them because I was scared that Lieutenant Kotler would come back and I was only here to clean glasses.

Bruno told me not to worry and it wouldn’t matter because its only food but I was still very scared. Bruno however was seemed very confident and said that I should just eat them as there were lots left for dinner so I didn’t need to worry. He reached over to me and put a few pieces of chicken in my hand, I took them and stuffed them all in my mouth in one go and then ate as fast as I could. The food tasted so good, it’s been a long time since I have had chicken like that. I was hoping that Bruno would offer me some more because it tasted just as good as I imagined it would be. Just as I was about to ask for a little bit more food, Lieutenant Kotler walked in to the Kitchen. When he saw Bruno and I talking he stopped and stared at us with very angry eyes. Kotler expected everyone to treat Jews like animals and I think he was shocked that Bruno was talking to me. I am sure he was mad at both of us but I knew he would take it all out on me, like I had seen him do so many times before with other people.

What are you doing? Kotler shouted very loud looking straight at me with spit coming out of his mouth. “Didn’t I tell you to polish those glasses.” I nodded my head quickly but at the same time I could feel my whole body shaking. I picked up another one of the silly little glasses and stated to polish with a wet napkin. I kept my eyes down, as I didn’t want to look at Kotler. But Kotler hadn’t finished and he started shouting again “who told you that you were allowed to talk in this house. Do you dare to disobey me?” I was so frightened but some how I managed to get the words out “No sir” “I’m sorry sir.” I am sure to Kotler that my words sounded very weak and trembling. I then looked up at Kotler to try and grasp how angry he was. Kotler was frowning and then leaned forward very close to my face, so close that I could smell that sickly sweet aftershave he had put on and the smell of cigarettes on his breath, he made me feel sick. Kotler then looked me straight in the eye and almost smiling said, “have you been eating boy” as if he could he could barely believe it himself.

I was so scared, I so wished I had not taken the chicken from Bruno; I knew this would happen, I knew it. I started to shake my head to say no but I knew Kotler would not believe me. Kotler then said “You have been eating… did you take something from that fridge”. I am sure my mouth opened, I wanted to say No, but no words came out. I wanted Bruno to say something, but I was not sure if he would be strong and help me out. My mind was racing, was Bruno also scared of Lieutenant Kotler, would he get in trouble if he helped me. I looked over at Bruno and our eyes connected and with my eyes I was saying, “Can you help me friend”. But Kotler was loosing his patience and getting even more angry and he shouted louder this time “Answer Me” “Did you steal something from that fridge”. Then before I could stop myself I said “No sir. He gave it to me” and I half looked at Bruno and I added, “He’s my friend”. There I had done it, I had said what I wanted to say but I knew straight away when I saw the look of shock and fear in Bruno’s eyes he was terrified of Kotler too.

Lieutenant Kotler turned to Bruno and asked him “Do you know this boy”. Bruno looked for a moment as if he was trying to say yes but he had forgotten how to use his mouth. It seemed liked forever before Kotler starting speaking again “Do you know this boy, Have you been talking to prisoners”. Kotler walked very close up to Bruno and with his face turning red with anger he said “Tell me Bruno!. I won’t ask you a third time”. I was still in my head hoping Bruno would tell Kotler that he was my friend and it was ok for me to have the food. But Bruno didn’t instead he said that he had never seen me before and didn’t know me. Lieutenant Kotler very slowly turned his head back to look at me.

I didn’t want to give him the pleasure of looking me in the eyes so I looked down at the floor. In a very quiet voice Kotler said “You will finish polishing all these glasses and then I will come to collect you to take you back to the camp, where we will have a discussion about what happens to boys who steel. This is understood yes?.” I knew what was coming, there was no way around it so I just nodded and carried on polishing. It was not for another seven days until I saw Bruno again. I was waiting for him at the usual place. When he got there Bruno seemed emotional and said “I’m so sorry Shmuel. I don’t know why I did it. Say you’ll forgive me.” I had already forgiven him the moment he said he didn’t know me seven days ago. I knew what he was going through and how terrifying Lieutenant Kotler is. I looked into my friend Bruno’s eyes and said, “It’s alright.”

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