All quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque Notes Elements of Narrative Plot [Summary Chapter 1 Summary

and Analysis and Analysis]  Paul Baumer, Katczinsky (Kat), Tjaden, Muller, and Kemmerich return from a bloody and deadly battle and they have lost more than half of their men (killed or injured)  The soldiers are starving and the cook Ginger refuses to give out rations (dinner) for 150 soldiers instead of 80. The soldiers start fighting/yelling at him to give out all the rations. Paul’s commander tells Ginger to give out all the rations Quote "Eighty men can't have what is meant for a hundred and fifty… You might be generous for once. You haven't drawn food for eighty men. You've drawn it for the Second Company. Good. Let's have it then. We are the Second Company.”  All of Paul’s friends are 19 and just came out of school – they are in rotation with other battalions that are fighting the frontline in World War 1. Quote At the head of the queue of course were the hungriest--little Albert Kropp, the clearest thinker among us and therefore only a lancecorporal; Müller, who still carries his school textbooks with him, dreams of examinations, and during a bombardment mutters propositions in physics; Leer, who wears a full beard and has a preference for the girls from officers' brothels. …. And as the fourth, myself, Paul. And four are nineteen years of age, and all four joined up from the same class as volunteers for the war.… Tjaden, a skinny locksmith of our own age, the biggest eater of the company. … Haie Westhus, of the same age, a peat-digger, who can easily hold a ration-loafin his hand and say: Guess what I've got in my fist; then Detering, a peasant, who thinks of nothing but his farm-yard and his wife; and finally Stanislaus Katczinsky, the leader of our group, shrewd, cunning, and hard-bitten, forty years of age, with a face of the soil, blue eyes, bent shoulders, and a remarkable nose for dirty weather, good food, and soft jobs.  Mail arrives (which is common) and a letter is from Kantorek (Paul’s and his friends school masters; person who encouraged them to enlist for the army)  Josef Behm fought the propaganda, but was persuaded into enlisting. He died a horrific death. Quote “Behm was one of the first to fall. He got hit in the eye during an attack, and we left him lying for dead. We couldn't bring him with us, because

 

 

we had to come back helter-skelter. In the afternoon suddenly we heard him call, and saw him crawling about in No Man's Land. He had only been knocked unconscious. Because he could not see, and was mad with pain, he failed to keep under cover, and so was shot down before anyone could go and fetch him in” Paul and his soldiers (friends/classmates) feel let down/betrayed by Kantorek Quote “But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs” (Loss of Trust) They visit Kemmerich in the hospital (St. Joesph’s). His watch his been stolen while being unconscious. He feel’s pain in his foot/thigh – he doesn’t know his leg/foot has been amputated. Paul and his fridns don’t tell him. Muller brings Kemmerich stuff (which includes good boots, which Muller wants but Kemmerich doesn’t let him). Quote "Death is working through from within. It already has command in the eyes" Paul remebers Kemmerich's mother crying when her son departed for the war, Kemmerich's felt embarrassed while Paul feel’s loving warmth (He has to write to his mother stating what happened). Kemmerich's fever (pain) gets worse. The men quicly get a nurse/doctor, Kropp yells, to take care of Kemmerich’s pains quickly (with morphine injections) [The men know Kemmrich is dying] Another letter is receive from Kantorek's to his students/soliders, and calls them "The Iron Youth" Quote “Iron Youth. Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk.”

Chapter 2  Paul says the men that come to war are not the same when the comeback.  "We have become a waste land. All the same, we are not often sad.”  Muller’s got Kemmerich’s boots Quote “would rather go bare-foot over barbed wire than scheme how to get hold of them. But as it is the boots are quite inappropriate to Kemmerich's circumstances, whereas Müller can make good use of them. Kemmerich will die; it is immaterial who gets them. Why, then, should Müller not succeed to them?”  Paul flashbacks on the enlisting system, back then Quote “We had no definite plans for our future. Our thoughts of a career and occupation were as yet of too unpractical a character to furnish any scheme of life”

 

 

 

  

 

 

Paul contemplates Quote“After three weeks it was no longer incomprehensible to us that a braided postman should have more authority over us than had formerly our parents, our teachers, and the whole gamut of culture from Plato to Goethe.” Kropp, Müller, Kemmerich, & Paul sent to Platoon 9, under the control of Corporal Himmelstoss(the postman). Corporal Himmelstoss had reputation of being very strict, mean, and hated to which he liked Quote “He had the reputation of being the strictest disciplinarian in the camp, and was proud of it.”(14) Himmelstoss abused his power Quote s“He had a special dislike of Kropp, Tjaden, Westhus, and me”(14) because he sensed a quiet defiance Quote “ I have remade his bed fourteen times in one morning. Each time he had some fault to find and pulled it to pieces. I have kneaded a pair of prehistoric boots that were as hard as iron for twenty hours—with intervals of course—until they became as soft as butter and not even Himmelstoss could find anything more to do to them; under his orders I have scrubbed out the Corporals' Mess with a tooth-brush.” Paul & Kropp played jokes on Himmelstoss: example drop a latrine bucket on his head, do drills extremely slowly to make Himmelstoss angry/crazy etc… Paul knows there’s other “Himmelstoss’s” but they had to be aggressive so they don’t get sent to the front. Paul Quote “…certainly have gone mad. Only thus were we prepared for what awaited us. We did not break down, but adapted ourselves” (16) Later, Paul is sitting next to Kemmerich's bed (he is dying). Kemmerich discovers that his leg has been amputated and not notices the reality of his situation(goes into depression) Paul tries to convince Kemmerich of the positives; gets to go home so he can be a forester (but he can’t anymore since he has only one leg)(artificial leg) Kemmerich then gives his boots to Müller (indicating a sign of his death) Paul says, "… His lips have fallen away, his mouth has become larger, his teeth stick out and look as though they were made of chalk. The flesh melts, the forehead bulges more prominently, the cheek-bones protrude. The skeleton is working itself through. The eyes are already sunken in. In a couple of hours it will be over" (17). Paul notices that no one in the St. Joseph’s hospital cares about his friend dying, any nurse, doctors, or orderlies care Quote"That is Franz Kemmerich, nineteen and a half years old, he doesn't want to die. Let him not die!"(17). Quote “We must take him away at once, we want the bed. Outside they are lying on the floor."(18-19) Kemmerich dies while still crying due to his pain and contemplation

Paul notes that Kat's "masterpiece" was producing four boxes of lobsters once – but that Kat's simple.  Later. Kat appears with warm bread to share with the troops. they fit well.” (19). this is war.  Suddenly.  More absurdities mount when Kat rhymes. greater than comes from the belly alone. The night lives.   life (face still wet due to tears). I feel my joints strong. who are two years younger than Paul and his pals. everyday kind of guy. a German plane is shot down in an explosion – this is not a game.  Kropp jokes. I breathe the air deeply.  Kat has traded string to the cook and offers them beef stew. He feels that "the wrong people do the fighting. I feel a hunger. Those skills are useless to them now.  The troops joke about how vital it is to salute on the Front.  The author contrasts Kat with Kropp "who is a thinker" – Kropp suggests that the War should be fought by the countries' generals. uneven compensation between soldiers and officers is to blame for many of the war's issues. Paul gives Muller the boots."  The group disses drilling and structure and the lunacy of the "skills" they were taught in boot camp. "Seen the infants?" (3. "Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay and the war would be over and done in a day" – that is. I live. overhead.  They cobble together a nice meal with horse flesh and bread (this is good eats on the Front). In another shelter.  They talk about games like "Change at Löhne" – a weird dressing game where men scramble under beds.  Kat is just such a down to earth. the troops are drilling "how to salute" on a sunny day because of Tjaden's bad behavior in failing to salute a superior.  Kat jokes about the scarcity of decent food and promises an upgrade to current fare." or at least experienced.  Himmelstoss's demeanor is discussed – they criticize Himmelstoss . as new troops arrive. earthy tastes would have preferred beef. Paul takes Kemmerich's belongings to bring it back to the others (identification disc and boots) Quote “My limbs move supplely.  Paul goes on about Kat's "sixth sense" for knowing things – Kat leads them to a burnt out shelter. but one with nice beds and cozies. He warns that this food is for barter purposes only – next time they need to bring him a cigar. he seems to know where Mother Nature hides things. Chapter 3  Paul already appears "old. almost magically.1) – meaning the new recruits.

 Our narrator talks about the natural fog of the area blending with the gunpowder smoke and the exhaust of the motorcar engines.  Paul outlines how they are "embraced" by the Front. "Earth! Earth! Earth!" (4. Since he's more education than Himmelstoss. This is as close as anything gets to a prayer in All Quiet on the Western . It is not fear – only newbies feel fear.  Haie says. and having an officer's uniform won't save you from bullets). "Revenge is black-pudding.24).  Those large guns carry a long way – they can reach bunkers. Man will do anything and everything that he can get away with. Kropp decides to enlist in the post office. They are joined by many other troops. and mapping. The earth feels like it's quaking.  Tjaden especially dislikes Himmelstoss because of the way he "disciplines" bed-wetters.  Noisy trucks ferry them forward with the wire. almost as if praying to it. cover.  The men dream of ways to get back at Himmelstoss after the war.  Suddenly three shells land near them.  Allegorically they describe how men behave more or less just like dogs. the men decide to jump Himmelstoss and whip him when he comes home semi-drunk from his nearby regular pub. each with their own particular missions.  Under Kat's suggestion." which. He talks about the earth as friendly to a soldier who relies on it for movement. Kropp could be his superior.  They pass noisy geese and all eyes turn to Kat for leadership in hunting and cooking them after a successful mission. undiscovered. Kat knows it will be a long night.  The fairness questions suddenly end when Tjaden excitedly announces that Himmelstoss is on his way – he is coming to the Front (where the rules and regulations are way different than in boot camp.  Paul describes the Front as a mysterious whirlpool with a "vortex" sucking him in.  They jump him one night and Tjaden takes particular delight in the whipping.  He says. the troops are certain that they will be bombed tonight and they steel themselves for it.  Out of nowhere. presumably means that revenge is good.  Himmelstoss staggers away as the men run.  Kat believes that there will be a bombardment tonight – he can identify the caliber of the guns – a twelve-inch gun has a unique sound. Chapter 4  The men are sent on a mission to lay barbed wire at the front slow the approach of the enemies. Paul and gang have thick skin now.and men like him – small men who try to be big based on their fancy uniforms.

Suddenly the sky lights up with bombs and fire – the bombardment begins. One new recruit is frozen. passing bodies. The recruit shudders again and again under the loud bomb noises. The men unravel the barbed wire. Detering. from new bombs and striped lights in the sky. childlike. and just tells the recruit to go behind a bush and throw out his skivvies and not to feel ashamed. They arrive at the front and the motorcars that carried them there leave. is blinded and falls" (4. is most bothered by the horses agonized . but it is too cold for Paul to sleep. The process takes a few hours. but is awakened suddenly.45). There are planes involved as well – searchlights sweep the sky: "one of them pauses. a black insect is caught between them and tries to escape – the airman. Paul realizes the reason for the recruit's unwillingness to move – he has gone to the bathroom in his pants. and quivers a little. Paul tears his hand. an evil animal. seeking their point area to begin laying the barbed wire as part of their mission. They are being hit hard. They walk forward in moonlight. When they get within yards of the front they are given the order for "pipes and cigarettes out" because they are so close to the enemy. Some are dead. terrifyingly. he does fall asleep. the smell of that smoke would give away their positions. a few are alive and terrified. One bomb lands very close to Kat and Paul. Finally.                    Front. and Kat quickly puts out his pipe. crying. Immediately a second is beside him. To Paul he looks like the recently dead Kemmerich.40).26). He talks about animal instincts of fear and self-preservation guiding them amidst the shelling: "We reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals" (4. Vast loneliness and independence flood them. Paul makes it clear that he is not going to adopt the cruelties of Himmelstoss and the other authority figures. They pass shell holes described almost like scars on the earth – a stark contrast to the earth as described in motherly terms just a few pages earlier. noting how its glow creates a target for the bombers. "Mighty fine fire-works if they weren't so dangerous" (4. He hesitates. hissing. Paul continues walking back from the bombing – he and Albert hear the screeching whinny of wounded horses. Kat says. Paul describes the bombardment almost as if it is alive. a loving farmer. His mates sleep a few hours. The men crawl away under heavy fire.

Suddenly. everything seems to explode.64). Detering raises his gun to put the horse out of its misery – Kat asks. inside a hole made by a previous bomb.87) he wonders – but the man is dead. Firing a gun would give away their position to the enemy and put the men in danger. The men open the heavy lid and throw out the body so that they can climb inside for protection from the bombs. Paul recalls the burnt-lung victims side by side in the hospital. and come upon a loose coffin lid. now raining dirt clods on the men from the bombs. And finally. One horse's guts have been ripped out. They come upon a mist-heavy area of bombed out craters – Kat is quiet." Paul notes a random leg lying in a field. the horse trips over his own guts. And then he realizes that the body is part of many in the graveyard they have stumbled upon. He half wakes up and feels an arm – "a wounded man?" (4. his body was presumably what Paul had landed on when he jumped into that bomb crater. "having died twice. Detering gives up and suffers the noises. The body is then blown up by a nearby bomb. Bombs everywhere. "Like to know what harm they've done. It takes Kat shaking Paul to make him realize he has to put on his mask quickly. they wait for the motorcars. Paul barely recognizes his closest friend Kat. he asks.                    cries and begs out loud for somebody to "Shoot them! For God's sake! Shoot them!" (4. Trees shatter and splinter. when they are silenced. looking for shelter. driving them mad. which is not a good sign. He flings himself down on mother earth for protection. "Are you mad?" (4. The men try to avoid it – a gas bomb is dropped and they struggle for their masks. human-like. They crawl along the graveyard floor." (4. he can't find the body of . Paul describes the darkness as having come to life and attacking them. The shelling gets stronger and Paul as our narrator capitalizes Death as a living character. The earth appears to be wounded. He breathes in his vale cautiously. lying in wait for the men. Under the mask.71) Troop 9 gets ready to go back to barracks back from the Front. One percussion cracks Paul on the skull and he is on edge of losing consciousness. and keeps running.60) Kat explains that the medics must look after the men first – so the horses must suffer.

even when they can.  Himmelstoss walks up to the men. The men lift a wounded soldier.  They go back silently to the motor cars so that they can go "home. decent job. as Paul comforts.  Kat tells the boy to stay there as the men prepare to get him a stretcher."  It rains.  The narrator notes what little of life will be left to the youngster. they can't give serious answers to what they would do.whoever owned it. he realizes that this is the new recruit that he had encountered earlier (the one who messed his pants).5). the men sit half naked and discuss Himmelstoss's return/appearance at the Front.  They think about the dead who have fallen before them as they drive carefully through areas wired for defense.  Detering just wants to go back to his life as a farmer – but the discussion saddens him as he badly misses home and his horses.  Paul sees a newbie recruit walking around without a mask – he hates his and tears it off.  They realize the boy will get the stretcher and will probably die a very painful and slow death. The boy is in such bad shape. Chapter 5  Paul details how they kill lice. And then there's the retirement pension (money!).  The shelling has stopped. so he asks. They do nothing. but they have to do it quickly.  Tjaden notes that the whipping of Himmelstoss was "the high-water mark of his life" (5.  Kat tries to bandage him and. His hip is covered with blood – the man seems close to death and is bleeding from many places.  The first set of answers are all pleasures of the flesh or gullet (sex or food).  As it's warm outside. Sheesh.  Sadly.  Tjaden's goal is to cage and torture Himmelstoss.  And then Haie says that he would stay in the army – in a time of peace.  And then it is too late – others arrive on the scene. even if he survives through enormous pain.  The narrator notes that their losses are less than expected – only five killed and eight wounded.  The men discuss what they would do if there were suddenly peace. they have a hard time fathoming the notion of peacetime and. Kat suggests that they get a gun and finish him off mercifully. . the army is a reliable.  Even Paul agrees that they should euthanize him.

Himmelstoss returns and demands respect. And they mock Kantorek's set of trivia questions they suffered through in school. name-calling. this case comes up for trial. Himmelstoss accosts the men in the camp judicial area. The vibe is that hope is dying here.108) The men have a hard time figuring out anything creative to do when the war is over other than return to their old jobs or do nothing at all. Himmelstoss. Paul underscores how low they've stooped: "That is our sole ambition: to knock the conceit out of a postman" (5. Tjaden doesn't care – he escapes and hides from Himmelstoss. Kropp asks him if he's ever fought at the Front before.                       "Well?" (5. Albert says. Kat intones that the penalty will be at least five days' "close arrest" (jail). Tjaden disappears. That evening. They collectively decide that they would no longer listen to their clueless Fatherland-ideal-loving former teacher Kantorek. The magistrate asks the men why they didn't report Himmelstoss before. Nobody salutes. Kat thinks Kropp will get three days in jail for talking back to his superior. Kropp notes how hard it will be to ever go back to all of the stuff they learned in school – "How can a man take all that stuff seriously when he's once been out here?" (5. They bark at each other a while.55). asking for Tjaden. "He seems to have learned already that the front-line isn't a parade-ground" (5. suggesting that Himmelstoss's love of rules and hierarchy is pretty useless and silly in such a brutal war.132). Himmelstoss stomps off. and they note the bad rep that tattle-tales have in the military. noting how useless these are to the men in life and in the war. At the trial the men explain the character of Himmelstoss. Tjaden tells Himmelstoss that he's a dirty hound. even after being threatened with a court-martial.56). detailing his abuses. The narrator notes. Himmelstoss tells Tjaden to stand up and salute.120). The men tell him they don't know where Tjaden is. The magistrate understands and gives Tjaden and Kropp very light . "The war has ruined us for everything" (5. The men continue their discussion of what they would do in a time of peace. Tjaden refuses to obey. Himmelstoss is less volatile with the troops than he was at boot camp.

 The men darkly note that those coffins are ready in preparation for the upcoming battle. But there is no attack. smoke. they would normally expect one to follow the gas.  They finish cooking the goose. ready for roasting.  Troop 9 is in low spirits.10). even apologizing for having to give them any. passing a bombed schoolhouse with rows of brand new coffins stacked high beside it. Lots of noise." Kat and Paul find geese – Paul grabs one that puts up a tough fight. Heavy fire. They have a bonding moment as they realize that they were total strangers not long ago.  The men's attention turns to rats.  And then the enemy sends over gas one night.  A bulldog comes to their rescue. the men return to the Front. the biggest eater in the group. but a chin choker prevents him from biting Paul. and then take a generous portion in a bag back to Tjaden. . better French technology.  Killing rats occupies their time for days before the attack. He's afraid to move.  Paul says.  Paul thinks about shooting the dog. They steal food and scamper over soldiers' faces while they are sleeping.  They use bread as bait and then attack the gathering rats with shovels – the rats have killed cats and dogs in the camp. eerie – Kat notes that the English are bringing enhanced guns and new. We lie under the network of arching shells and live in suspense of uncertainty. the men just wait and play games. which are over-running the camp and the trenches.  Detering leads an extermination project. Bombs.  The attack begins by waking the men in the middle of the night.  Himmelstoss is put in his place.  Above. eat.  The first night is quiet. but finally he has the energy to do so and zips out of there with a dead goose.  Rumors of a huge attack intensify. Their own guns are wearing out – this last day their own guns wounded two of their own men.  Our narrator paints the land as being torn to shreds as recruits in sheer terror vomit their fear. Chapter 6  With rumors of an attack coming. but the old hands (like Troop 9) are seasoned to the ways of war. they can hear another air raid and bombs and guns. Over us Chance hovers" (6.sentences.  They cook the goose together in the middle of the night.  On the ride back "home.  The new recruits are scared. "The Front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen.

The men marvel that they have had no casualties yet in this offensive. The newbies are calmed by the news that. Their machine guns open and fend off a counter-attack that came very close to hand-tohand combat. (Check out . And then a bomb strikes the dugout. Night comes again. Tjaden regrets the bread they wasted trapping the rats – he would gladly eat those pieces now. more repressive. dancing with Death. then the battle is not so bad. far from the Front. the men reach another set of trenches. The waiting at night is terrible. he would not be able to do this. Two offensives are made with the soldiers returning back to base twice. one of the new recruits snaps and has a fit. He cannot help himself and the men beat him. They start into their food reserves to quell hunger. Troop 9 can see the enemy coming again. as well as the pieces the rats gnawed. With pressure mounting. The forward trenches have been abandoned – Troop 9's enemy is clearly winning. violent enough so that their trench is now almost destroyed with only eighteen inches of cover left. Paul refers to himself for the first time as being dead. but he can't – instead he is forced to plunge into the horror of battle. Gruesome imagery accompanies the rush – shot off arms dangle in the barbed wire fences. He tries to leave the safe zone and escape his claustrophobia outside (where he will surely be shot to death). Paul notes how he and his fellow men have become wild beasts. At noon. animalistic resistance. He notes the way the earth seems to be tearing away under his feet and his having lost feeling on many levels. literally. to his senses to save his life. In the heat of the battle. noting how few are stopped by the wire they laid. The men are running out of food – perhaps all of it didn't make it to the Front. They win this little battle.                    The bombs come closer. This confrontation makes the atmosphere worse. Kropp and Haie throw hand grenades at exact yardages trying to drive wedges in the enemy's assault. if food can be delivered. Tjaden notes that this night food will be brought to them and the others believe he is right. and from their dugout. He notes that if he were not on auto-pilot mode. One of the recruits starts butting his head against the wall. Paul desperately wants to head home. they did not seem to count on such fierce. But the enemy is suffering many casualties.

which is now the minority sound in his mind. Paul waxes poetic about the silence. and experienced like old men. Many of them have to be left in no man's land to suffer. The battle heat dissipates as positions stabilize. Those planes drop volume bombs aimlessly. they continue to stack the dead. There are so many. He focuses on the wounded more than the dead – they have a hard time bringing in bodies. Paul wonders over one man's three-day death: if he is thinking of his wife. Meanwhile. They eat corned beef and jam in a kind of food orgy. The others collect the chutes themselves – they will make nice dresses. The men think they hear the name "Elise" being called out. even through it is in sparse amounts. and the men grow increasingly hungry. While the men know they need reinforcements. Paul observes the battle planes. his kids. Over time. .) This new offensive of Troop 9's is successful and the enemy is on the run. "We are forlorn like children. "The days are hot and the dead lie unburied" (6. Paul says. Haie collects lovely French silk parachutes and parachute rings – he is determined to give them to his girlfriend. and the men hear their cries.117).                 Chapter Six. not knowing to duck shrapnel and clinging together rather than being separated for bombing raids. Many recruits are dead and dying – they die at a much higher rate than old-timers like Paul. but it is silenced by a bomb.105). Paul complains that the new recruits often give them more trouble than they are worth. Paul describes a series of attacks and counter-attacks where no progress is made and bodies pile up. we are crude and sorrowful and superficial – I believe we are lost" (6. they arrive with less and less training. paragraph 101. Paul tells us. which they don't mind. and if their memory is what gives him strength to continue fighting to live. sometimes for days as they die slowly under the elements. what Paul and his men fear are the observation planes who are then followed by much more precise trench bombings shortly thereafter. He refers to himself repeatedly as either dead or a ghost as Death becomes almost a companion. Paul refers to a machine gun as barking. in a big hole. now three bodies high. he will have a hard time carrying all of them. The shelling begins again aggressively.

He calls again. as they don't learn to panic fast enough. The men have gained a bit of respect for him for his having helped bring in Haie Westhus after Haie was so badly injured. "Is that all?" (6.169).The new recruits fall in a ratio of 5 or 10 to 1 of the more experienced soldiers. Many were killed in this battle.  And then Paul notes with odd pride that for all of that gore. pretending to be wounded.166). the shells whine. And that is the last sentence of the chapter: "Thirty-two men" (6.139).  Himmelstoss announces that he is taking over for an injured cook and brings the men sweets. they have held their little plot of land against a seemingly overwhelming enemy.  A surprise gas attack takes many of them in one shot. is now down to 32 men. Chapter 7  Paul's Company needs to regroup. we find one man who has held the artery of his arm in his teeth for two hours in order not to bleed to death. The sun goes down. faces.164) for Paul's group.  Paul finds solace in mentoring new recruits.158).  Second Company. piercing a lung.  The recruits listen hard – and then under the heat of real battle do everything wrong. they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell-hole.  The back and forth of pointless battle begins to dissolve time for Paul. They ride the motor cars back to home base. we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off.  Paul is furious and literally throws him out of the trenches. another day foraging for  . not repetition in its classical sense. or months of this set of battles. night comes. One day in mortar fire.  Paul notes that now they have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and good rest. who can't remember if it was days. but Himmelstoss cowers with a small scratch. Paul bangs into Himmelstoss.  The men are relieved. They are supposed to be in an offensive.  Paul describes the brutality: "We see men living with their skulls blown open. essentially asking. life is at an end" (6. training their eyes and ears for signs of danger. They "choke to death with hemorrhages and suffocation" (6. weeks. after starting at 150.  The company commander calls "Second Company!" (6. *…+ we see men without mouths.  Under this onslaught Haie Westhus is wounded in the back. He knows he is going to die.  Paul reflects on habit as being a definition of change. jaws.  Running through the trenches.  The men loaf around – even Himmelstoss has mellowed.

He muses on their turning into animals to survive the Front. another day in transit. He buys drinks for his friends and bemoans that on the way home he will be sent to a training camp next to a Russian prison camp for a few weeks. and fold themselves into a good old-fashioned love session." A poster of a beautiful girl gets the soldiers' attention. The women unwrap the food and eat ravenously. they decide to run away. The door opens and they are welcomed. As they leave. The men reconvene to swim back across the river. As it is forbidden to cross the river – guards would shoot them if caught – they have to figure out a clever way to cross and to visit the ladies. meaning that he will be out of Front circulation for six weeks. nervous. and he lists all of the men he knew who could not pay that price. cigarettes. fidgety. and soft. While swimming on their break. . Paul waxes about the frailties of life. unable to fully enjoy this moment as his desires are painted as "strangely compounded of yearning and misery. The men stuff their clothes in their water-tight boots and swim naked across the river. wanting to live at any price." He notes how different this intimate gathering feels as compared to the officers' brothels. and so on they will bring the women. The men now appear to the reader as boys. quiet. they duck as another soldier approaches the house where the French ladies live – it's Tjaden! Paul is called to the Orderly Room (magistrate) in the morning. awkward. They worry that there are other military officers with the ladies – and if there are. The men understand few French words. the soldiers see a few French women who look hungry.                    food. They make the international sign for sleep and it becomes clear that they will come visit later that night. The men cat-call but the women don't speak German and they don't appear to be all that interested in the boys… …until Tjaden holds up a large piece of army bread. Paul is the only one who appears conflicted. even hopeful. where he is given a pass to go on vacation for a total of seventeen days. that "Life is short. Paul rides the train home. at which point the women wave over the men hungrily. here the intimacy is private. They sweat over what foods. noting that the experience was worth more than their army-loaf price of admission.

He finds his mother in bed. "Was it very bad out there?" (7. He is clearly another flavor of Himmelstoss. makes him march as punishment. rather than being scarred from the outside like that of his young friends. than it would be in another family." . The source of his mother's illness is internal. It's because he's surrounded by the safety of his childhood home. have heard how terrible life is at the Front. who then softens up when he feels he is being shown respect. which forms such a contrast to the hellish world of the Front.                  His journey is a transition from scarred broken earth to picturesque farms and carefully manicured homes.125) is a much bigger deal. As a result. But it is her absolute lack of understanding that distances him. He looks strange to himself in the mirror. asking salacious questions about the edges of the Front. Paul's father appears further as a lout. He is greeted by his loving sister. Paul is stunned when he passes a Major and forgets to salute. This is Paul's father – another example of the shallow authority figures thoroughly derided in this book. bombed in trenches. who finds him crying. obeys the Major. Paul offers Edam cheese and they connect over food. Paul reports to the District Commandant and walks through his old village. sick with cancer. watching the leaves fall. Paul sits in a beer-garden. Erna. Paul refuses the parading. His mother asks suddenly. can not be a part of it. He is struck by his alienation from it. His mother likes him better in civilian clothes. Paul feels her love. but he's emotionally distant. The Major. He minimizes stories his mother has heard from other mothers who. even though his family is not very openly affectionate. his realization that he could not even possibly explain a moment of what life is really like at the Front. Paul is furious. in turn. He can not relax into it. gory details which dehumanize the very real human beings who died for "ideals. Paul returns home and puts on one of his old suits – he has grown in the army and that suit is tight. but his father would prefer he remain in military garb so he can be paraded to be shown off to his father's friends. Order and safety and quiet are pervasive here. but rather than cause an even bigger fuss. clearly not someone who has spent any time in real battle at the Front. and can only observe little details and elements.134) and Paul can only lie. The fact that Paul's mother calls him her "dear boy" (7. Paul finds his home and creaks up the stairs. he notes.

but the words are just words. when the . and he is repulsed. On his walk. Paul and Mittelstaedt walk to the field grounds where they see Kantorek looking ridiculous. the best of which was a Himmelstoss trick where the company leader would be twenty paces ahead of the company. He cannot escape his surroundings because they have pervaded his interior. has been called up to the Front. easily-influenced students. how he cannot ignore enough things now to climb back down to that cozy ignorance that he once lived inside. he leaves. recalling how thrilled he felt reading those literary works. Paul wants to remind him of his pushing Joseph Behm to enlist and that Joseph is now dead because of him. so he smokes it as fast as he can. Mittelstaedt gives him the news that his old teacher Kantorek. Paul realizes that he must soon go to see Kemmerich's mother. and Tjaden express. As he inhales. Paul is delighted that Kantorek will see what he has been espousing and defending to naïve. eh?" and other light treatments of events which demand respect. He reviews posters he'd hung in his youth. He muses that he thought he was in foreign lands at the Front. But as he sits alone in his room. the defender of Fatherland ideals. classical books and plays that seek ideals that seem laughably wasteful in the face of the war. he listens to the others gathered there talk about the war like it is a sport. Paul visits Mittelstaedt in the army barracks. but this feels even more foreign to him. terrible. Mittelstaedt puts Kantorek through embarrassing drill practices.              Paul runs into his old teacher. he pulls out a book and tries to read. then. Paul begins to regret having come home for leave. He wants to put it off as long as possible. Albert. Paul makes the mistake of accepting a cigar and now must stay as long as it is lit. Mittelstaedt stops Kantorek and chides him militarily for his ludicrous appearance. like a chimney. newspaper clippings that once meant something to him. He longs for the feelings of innocence he had as a child. He misses them. When he can no longer handle the quiet. who skates over how truly terrible things are at the Front with "Terrible. it too seems to turn on him and he is alienated by the feelings the room conjures in him. Paul sits in his room. to be able to move on and be left alone. marching in a dramatically oversized uniform. He longs to be alone – the men here don't hold a candle to the raw and honest humanity which Kat. Müller. they are not telling stories. In almost desperation.

She does not believe him.  Paul leaves. he could not drink it in.  Paul muses on the term "leave" (vacation).  He leaves and she gives him a picture of her son to remember him by. a survivor of the Front. his youth.  His mother comes in and watches him. . to be careful…  And almost as a prayer. the leader would have to run fast to get to the lead again. to see Kemmerich's mother.  The narrator notes that he cannot write it down. he spends great pains convincing her of the short suffering of her son. hours. time. He has no ethical qualms about lying to her and agrees to swear it on anything sacred she would put in front of him. she warns him about those women in France.  His last evening at home. we see his inner pleadings to his mother.  Paul lies that he was shot through the heart and died immediately.  Paul asks if Kantorek has reported Mittelstaedt's somewhat abusive behavior. he knows she is worried. his little village. She asks how he died. Paul goes to bed early in a quiet home.  Almost comically compared to what he has already been through. as he must leave early in the morning.  Mittelstaedt unloads academic phrases at Kantorek as if they will help his difficult labors now. as if Paul needed it. He counts his days. "Then why are you alive and he is dead?"  Paul has no answer. only to have direction changed again. but he doesn't want to talk about what he is about to do.company reversed direction. asking her to let him return to his innocence. Perhaps her grief was so striking. with four days' vacation left. but is informed that the commander has a dislike for schoolteachers and also notes that Mittelstaedt is dating his daughter.  Mittelstaedt has nothing but contempt for Kantorek either. He questions whether he will ever lie in this feather bed again. The quaking sobbing woman asks Paul.  Paul cannot do that and he relies on basic things like warmth and the promise of food to comfort him. and just be her son and be happy and whole and fulfilled by the world of his little home. but he knows almost nobody there now. increasingly anxious to get back to the Front – it is as if the Front is now his real home. Chapter 8  Paul is sent back to the base where he did his basic training with Himmelstoss and Tjaden. stream it onto the page.  He is sorry he ever came 'home' for leave – he recalls softness and love and kindness here through her and he knows that he must let these feelings go if he is to be a soldier.

like the rural Germans who make up the backbone of the country. The prisoners come to the fence each night to make trades. Paul guards the burials. They beg for things to eat and shiver in silence. some treat the prisoners as sport. They pick over garbage tins for food and seem to barely stay alive. They don't get much for these goods even though they have "taken immense pains to make them. they bow to him in thanks. His father's focus is not knowing how much the operation will cost. filled with prisoners who seem nervous and fearful of the soldiers. give the Russians cigarettes. The best topic they can come up with is his mother's illness – they know it is cancer. Paul does. sick with dysentery. he has remained soft inside. They rarely speak and use only a few words when they do. however. . Days pass and it seems that each day another Russian dies. the wealthy ask as a matter of course." Paul feels their pain. Paul's father and sister visit him in his barracks. Paul is often put on guard over the Russians. On the last Sunday before going back to the Front. and sullen. as their boots are good and the German boots are bad. usually things like boots for bread – a common trade. through all of the harshness of his Front life thus far. He hears their hymns and this makes him feel closer to them. But many of the Russians have already bartered away most of their clothing for food and now have little left. kicking them every now and then to see if they will fall over. and Paul keenly observes that the poor are afraid to ask prices in advance for fear of alienating the surgeon. Next to camp is a large Russian prison camp.10). "Their life is obscure and guiltless" (8. Some of the Germans are friendly. so he only gives the Russians two. with nothing to speak about. but then he realizes that she probably spent many pain-filled hours preparing them. Paul is struck to see "these enemies of ours" who look so much like him. and fight with aggression and cold delivery. He notes the beauty of the surrounding wood and the colors as nature changes seasons. This thinking frightens Paul – these thoughts will soften Paul at the Front where he must view the world as friends versus enemies. They have tried to manufacture pitiful pieces of clothing or bands made of gun shells to barter for food.               He mechanically goes through his refresher military drill training and spends his evenings reading. They are listless. That evening Paul intends to give the cakes his mother made for him to the Russians. Those hours are torture for him.

 Tjaden is struck that the Kaiser looks more or less like an ordinary man. and Kropp enter and the group is reunited by Paul's mother's cakes and jams.  The war glory of generals enters the conversation. their clothes literally blown off of their bodies by the concussion of bombs. which are actually good since they're not military issue. Kat. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. as the uniforms were there just for the Kaiser's inspection.Chapter 9  Paul travels back to the Front.50)  The discussion turns to how the war started – one country offends another. Now. the men march through a forest where bodies are dangling from trees and brush. and it becomes clear that there is no single uniting force behind the various wills.  The men talk about the real people who live in the warring countries. and they discuss the belief that the Kaiser puts his pants on one leg at a time.  Instead of going straight to Russia. The irony and ambiguity of the reason all of these people are dying is brought forward: "We are here to protect our fatherland. Several are naked.  The Kaiser distributes various Iron Crosses and the group.  The men polish and prepare for the journey. but nobody has heard of or from them. Tjaden. many with fresh-dripping blood. then marches off. to the next stretcher station.  A patrol is sent to discover the current enemy position.  Albert then brings in the question of the one word "No" versus "Yes" in entering the war. literally littering the forest floor. Tjaden notes that he personally does not feel offended by France. The men determine to report these bodies.  Paul is informed that they are likely heading into Russia – where there is apparently little fighting going on. The Kaiser himself appears to send them off – all of them are puffed and shiny.  He reports to the Orderly Room and is asked about his leave.  Other body parts lay in pieces. Paul notes that the Kaiser looks much smaller in real life than he does in pictures. who's in the right?" (9. the sergeant-major knows the vibe of misery that Paul felt. they are blacksmiths and shoemakers and laborers…not the politicos and wealth aggregators who are fighting this war ideologically and not with their own blood.  Müller.  The men are bummed out by the fact that they must now return their lovely uniforms and go back to their old green drabs. just like they do. asking about Kat and Albert. and Paul .

Paul can see him only faintly.              volunteers to go on it. The bullets continue around him. a French soldier jumps into the shell hole in which Paul was crawling. talking and walking along. his whereabouts purposefully unknown. Machine gun fire makes Paul conscious of keeping down. peppered with accompanying bullets. A bomb lands near him. waiting. But the man is dying. but it has not yet gone off. He is filled with warmth. but the man is still not dead – he moves. give him water. suffering. in part to reconnect with the Front he has been gone from for seven weeks now. He raises himself and begins to slowly pull himself out of the small shell hole he has been cowering in. It takes hours. save him. It's noon and Paul feels like his hunger is eating him. Suddenly there is a flash and a clamor and. He clings to the earth like a monkey clinging to its mother or a tree. but he cannot resist. Paul glides over the edge and snakes his way along. Paul pulls back and hears a gurgling – it is the man. He is disoriented and realizes that crawling in the right direction is now a matter of life and death. Paul pulls out his dagger and. The man groans and all Paul can do is wait. The man is lying there with his hand on his chest – he tries to raise his head and Paul feels empathy for the man. the other men in this troop have already had their first kill. waiting for death. to his shock. Paul stares at him in the trench. Images of Russian prisoners run through his head and he sweats. but rockets continue to hail around him. He hears voices and recognizes what he believes is Kat. Almost frozen. mercilessly still living. . A shell crashes and Paul finds himself in the middle of a large bombardment. He fetches water for himself and gives some to the dying man. but this was painful for Paul and nothing like what he expected. He ducks to the sound of more missiles going off and then rationalizes that he "has only one life to lose" and blames his leave for his current softness. he stabs the Frenchman as showers of machine gun rattle around him. The man tries instinctively to defend himself. Paul feels his heart pounding. lying there with the enemy. Hours pass and morning light comes. Paul is paralyzed in fear in the dark. ready to spring on him again. Instinctively. Paul drops to his knees. suddenly feeling powerless over the man (Death is the ruler here) and tries to unbutton the man's vest. This is the first man Paul will have killed with his bare hands. in savage animalistic fury.

and Detering are all there. He takes the man's wallet. Paul promises to write the man's wife. Paul does not mention Gerard that night. his children. and learns about the man who has a wife and a little girl he will never see again. Tjaden.  In the morning. who will never know how exactly her husband was killed. It was that abstraction I stabbed. (Note that Paul doesn't plea to God here.145). Albert tells him he did the right thing.)  Finally. He knows he must creep back to camp. they begin a mini industry of trade. by luck. floor beds. "Comrade. He thinks about the man's wife.  Paul begs forgiveness and offers twenty years off his life if the corpse will come to life. who have come out with a stretcher to look for him. the man is finally dead. Paul crawls out of the shell hole in which he made his first kill and.  He confesses to the corpse. opens it. and sleeping. eating. his family. Albert. stabbing him with an invisible dagger.  Almost magically. he cannot hold it in any longer.  Using their supply stores. and furnishings.  They choose a concrete cellar to live in – it's well protected with concrete walls.  He calls out and there is silence. It is Kat and Albert.  And Paul learns the man he killed was a printer named Gerard Duval. an abstraction *…+ that called forth its appropriate response.  Kat. but is worried that his own comrades will mistake him for the enemy and shoot him. what he can do now.  Paul is exhausted and hungry and beginning to tremble with fear and fatigue. Nobody replies.  By about 3pm. they find two baby suckling pigs – they capture and kill them and make a hodgepodge. but. And Paul tells them that he doesn't understand what happened. And calming down.  They are shocked that he is not wounded. Müller.  The day passes by and Paul calms down. They are given a green light to eat from the supply tent and barter whatever is in it. though.  . Paul would give much to let this man stay alive. Paul sees something move in the wire that they laid previously.  Paul breathes freely again. But now I see you are a man like me" (9. for the first time truly studies the man's face and all that is implied by his person. sumptuous meal for all of them. He feeds himself and sleeps. His friends comfort him.  Paul's emotional state gets worse – he wants to know all about this man.The dying man's every gasp tears through Paul's heart. I did not want to kill you *…+ you were only an idea to me before. Chapter 10  Paul believes he has been given a good job – guarding a supply dump that is not yet empty. things are quiet on the Front.

and play. bombs suddenly dropping closer and closer to them. they are given orders to go back to the Front. forcing the orderlies to hold his arms down. but not before Kat takes the suckling pigs with him. they are sent to evacuate a village where children clinging to their mother's hands silently pass. The roast is finally cooked when the bombs reach their grounds and begin to hit the building. throwing pig bones out the door. For almost three weeks. presumably by shrapnel. The group realizes that they must escape the building. The party stops suddenly when they realize that the enemy balloons have spotted smoke from their chimney and shelling begins. Paul helps drag him away. eat. The surgeon finally announces that Paul will have to have chloroform. Paul reflects that "the town gradually vanishes under the shells and we lead a charmed life" (10. Darkly.                 Even guests come to the celebration. Paul stops moving and promises to keep still. the men loaf around. The village is silent until it is evacuated. He moves. take a tetanus needle from a lieutenant. Paul grabs the other foodstuffs. even if he has to "crack their skulls." The surgeon pokes in and around Paul's wounds and he feels himself wincing in pain. They bind each other's wounds – Paul was injured a bit. Albert says that if they have to amputate his leg.21). load up. they are taken to surgery (which Paul calls "the chopping block"). The Saxon guests have stopped singing at the piano and the party has suddenly sobered up. maybe blacking out. In the rain of those shells. Paul swears that . where they have uncovered a piano. Paul has no trust in the surgeons and is determined not to receive chloroform (to knock him out so he doesn't feel the pain). that the cackling doctor will not have to chloroform him. and hope for a ticket home. the village is shelled heavily and brought to ruin. At that moment. The narrator notes that the French do not fire on villages occupied by civilians – but as soon as the evacuation is done. Unfortunately. he will commit suicide. That night. They crawl to a passing ambulance. he won't go through life a cripple. smoke. They hide out back in their concrete cellar and take five hours to eat the full meal. the baby pig was not cooked deep enough and the men feel a war brewing inside their stomachs. suddenly Albert cries out – he has been shot in the knee and falls in a ditch. and he is bleeding. A week later. fighting Albert's wishes to lie down and try and recover in the shell hole. As they travel in the Front direction. The shells have all but destroyed the supply depot.

though their nurse (who is a nun) tells them not to worry about it – they will wash the sheets after. puts in him a plaster cast. and tells him he will be heading home. At night. in a day or two. One man is in very bad pain and calls out." Eight men sit in a room recovering with Paul. he is used to the process of relieving himself this way. along with everyone else in the cabin. The sisters are praying loudly and this prayer keeps waking up the men. The train travels slowly and the dead are unloaded at each stop. the room is dark. Suddenly Paul fakes pain and the nun takes his temperature. Josef Hamacher speaks up before Paul can say anything and takes the blame for the bottle. The men regret not being able to bring the red leather chairs and other booty they found in the supply store they were guarding. heading back to home base in the morning. they are in a large room together. Paul cannot sleep – he needs to pee. Paul wants to stick with Albert and knows he will be let off in Cologne – Paul needs to look sicker than he is. The train to home base begins to move. He clambers out of bed – the top bunk – and crashes to the floor.6 and gets to remain with Albert. Paul bribes a guard with two cigars and the commitment is made to get Paul on the same train as Albert. The man's bandage is wet. and the men helpless as they wonder if the sister has fallen asleep." In Josef's midst. The men are still muddy from the battlefield. They ask multiple times for them to close the door or pray more quietly. They ring again and nothing happens.              he will die before the surgeon will do such a thing. Paul is shocked when the inspector just nods and departs. but finally the . Paul finally must ring the bell for a night nurse/sister who does not come. They are weak from the surgery. A sister comes in and Albert tells her that Paul needs to go to the bathroom. At Catholic Hospital. Paul squeezes hard on the grips until the surgeon finds and removes the shrapnel and throws it in a bucket. One sister says that prayer "is better than sleep" but the men aren't buying it. Paul realizes that he "can risk anything. Hugely embarrassed. Josef explains that he has a shooting license – presumably he's a valuable sharpshooter – and so he is "untouchable. Finally Paul throws a bottle out the door toward the prayers (symbolism!) and it bursts into a thousand pieces. Josef asks if they should perhaps smash another bottle. but on the train back to the hospital they find "snow white linen" for their bedding. Paul is given a bottle and. The prayer stops and an inspector angrily asks who threw the bottle. He squeezes the mercury to 101.

as the man now looks close to death. They return with bandaged feet. one of them also tries to kill himself as fast as he can. He notes that. Albert is in bad shape after his leg is amputated. Two blind men are brought into the room. And then another. testicles. Another man. he is pushed back down and they explain that they are just taking him to the bandaging ward. Even Josef admits this is the first time he'd seen this happen. a survivor of the Dead Room. He notes that the man in pain is taken away. Feebly. is taken away to the Dying Room a few days later. himself. Tetanus and other infections take lives. one day the door flies open and a healthy Peter returns to Paul's room – seemingly recovered. ear. Josef details the damage the surgeons have done and encourages the new arrivals to fight any effort of the surgeons to "fix their flat feet. His bones are broken badly and won't grow together. Two new soldiers arrive – they have "flat feet" and the sadistic surgeon looks forward to operating on them. the sister attends often. They accept the "club foot surgery" out of personal weakness against being able to just say no. intestines. seeing spine and head wounds.196). He swears suicide the first chance he gets. to The Dead Room where nobody seems to return from." Two young fellows are lectured by the surgeon long enough so that they give in. asleep. double amputations. Josef explains that they are science experiments for the surgeon that those operated on end up with club feet. ashen. . he never comes through" (10. "Many a man has said that. He swears to the other men in the room that he shall return… Josef intones that. Peter. Once a man is in there.                door opens and she is surprised to see the man in such pain. has a fever that spikes and they roll him toward the Dying Room. and neck wounds. When he realizes where he is headed he tries to jump off the trolley. Shockingly. a few men begin to stand. nose. Paul vomits two days after his operation. "Here a man realizes for the first time in how many places a man can get hit" (10.209). The sisters attend sporadically as Paul recovers. She binds him quickly and. Gradually. wounds in joints. The Death Room is filling up with more dying wounded. Paul gets crutches and walks down rows. Josef explains that The Dead or Dying Room is conveniently placed next to the morgue. so aggressively that the sisters won't feed him with a knife anywhere nearby. gas cases. jaw wounds. The moved man's bed is re-occupied by another visitor who.

 Paul gets convalescent leave. stealing a cherry blossom to take home. more violently and more urgently. how much damage each shell is now able to do to them versus what it was like a year ago. Paul waxes philosophically about how little he knows or feels beyond killing and being killed.  . Before death.  After a few weeks of recovery.  Their artillery is fired out and worn. their horses dead.  Paul tells of other deaths and injuries.  Albert's amputated stump has healed well but he is silent. suffering 30 minutes in huge pain while highly conscious. The desperate clinging to life gets more intense – men eat faster. easier. starving. hits.  Paul is sent to the base and then back to the Front – again.  He relates their low resources and frailties to that of "a polar expedition.  Müller is killed with a bullet in the stomach. and sick.33). even in doctors to render fair. but the other men warned him not to as it's too dangerous. Their food is so polluted with germs that they all just learn to live with perpetual dysentery (which causes diarrhea) – "It is not much sense pulling up one's trousers again" (11. He wanted to run and euthanize the suffering dog. Then he went AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave).  The troop is emaciated. court-martialed.  He details Detering's story – he went crazy.  The men lose faith is lost in all authority figures."  Paul notes how fragile their army has become. Their front line is no longer "iron" – it is now elastic. and more terribly now at this stage of the war. They bury him. Berger didn't listen. human appraisals of the human condition. and was shot in the pelvis in the process. Chapter 11  Paul waxes about death coming faster."  Morale has turned to misery and Paul talks of giving up hope soon. was captured.  His mother is much worse than when he saw her last time. he handed Paul his affects. Paul attends physical therapy for his arm and leg. The medic that rescued him took a bullet in the cheek. Kat intones. dark. and never heard from again. He was sympathetic to a messenger dog that was shot. he ran to shoot the dog. "Germany ought to be empty soon. with many enemy able to slip through.  Berger is wounded dies in gruesome fashion. as if sucking in every last second before the death that they know will come to them.The shattered bodies pile up. but Paul knows that the resting place will soon be disturbed as masses of fresh American and British recruits arrive in droves across the line.

shot in the shin. "What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician at school?" Months pass through the summer of 1918 as Paul watches his army slowly annihilated. Paul can't fathom not seeing him again if Kat is sent home from the war. their caterpillars run on as endless as the war *…+ they roll without feeling" (11. typhus – murder. Food. hospitals. setting Kat down. clothing. Under enormous labor. burning. For every hungry. They rest a few times along the way. wretched German are five American fresh faces. But the generals still push the men to fight.                The final stages of the war are symbolized by the newfound tank effort – "The attacking lines of the enemy infantry are men like ourselves. The hit flamethrower sinks and Bertinck's flames engulf him.48). starvation. In this sense." with various descriptive flowery language. Kat is light and Paul determines to carry him to safety. death. They muse about reconvening during peacetime. Paul anguishes at the notion of Kat being "taken from him. shooting at the enemy through the flames. blood dripping from Kat's wounds to the ground in front of Paul as he runs and sweats. bravely fighting his way out of a trench. death. One day Kat falls. Paul uses that fear to give him strength to carry Kat the rest of the way to the triage area. Dehumanization is almost complete. every man knowing that Germany is losing the war. Paul repeats three times. Trenches. Leer dies with a bullet to the chest and "like an emptying tube. He falls. he continues to fire at them. Tons of airplanes now dominate battle. the common grave – there are no other possibilities" (11. "Summer of 1918. He is sensing the demise of the war. reflecting on past glories of goose-stealing and Paul's first newbie recruit wound. They talk as they go. as if in a kind of odd prayer. Commander Bertinck dies at the hands of flame-throwers. influenza. Paul slings him over his shoulder and carries him for what seems to be miles.41). For every German. Even shot. what they could do together after the war." the crushing loneliness of that feeling. of himself. there are five American and British planes. the machine has won. feeling their strength dwindle. now three years ago. but these tanks are machines. after a couple of minutes he collapses" (11.42-4). Paul narrates. The orderly looks at . Paul's comment is "Shells. hope. trying to comfort him – but then realizes that the wound is not so bad. gas clouds. Dysentery. guns all share the same mismatches. Paul panics. and flotillas of tanks – shattering. of hope.

his emotions seeming to fade away into the drivel of army regulations that categorize this death mechanically. almost nothing else exists.  The last paragraphs of the book are just a must-read: [Paul] fell in October 1918. time spent in the camps usually means finding and stealing some Setting .  He stands up bravely after this train of thought. fighting for the losing team. He is flooded by feelings – "greed of life. on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front. and so without hope that I can confront them without fear" (12. his face had an expression of calm. as though almost glad the end had come. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. though the sounds of war are always prevalent. The orderly gives him Kat's things." Chapter 12  Paul notes that not many old-timers are left. In these camps the soldiers form rituals. Paul can't feel his feet. Paul and his compatriots move back and forth from camps to the front lines.    Paul. love of home. He has fourteen days' rest from swallowing gas and he is contemplative. such as placing their wooden toilet-boxes in a circle out in the open air so that they might chat away while taking care of other business. "That as well. there will be no glory. panting. Paul stands slowly. "You might have spared yourself that [effort]" (11. For Paul and his friends.87). "Then I know nothing more." Paul steps backward and realizes that somewhere along the way on this last run. yearning of the blood. The setting in All Quiet on the Western Front is almost entirely in and around the battlefield of the war. that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. and says blankly.4). Kat was shot in the head and is dead. Paul is confused – says that he has just been hit in the shin. The Western Front during World War I It would be hard to conceive of a more bleak and miserable existence than that of a soldier on the front lines of a brutal early 20th-century-style war.  He knows that if he and his fellow soldiers return home now. they bring me nothing more *…+ I am so alone. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long. that he will be isolated and not understood. Paul. intoxication of deliverance" (12.10). as if now fully ready to face Death. to lose to it: "Let the months and years come. For our hero and narrator. The camps often involve a good deal more of comfort and ease. The orderly says. He narrates. Peace talks never really happen.

confined to these tiny dugouts while all hell breaks loose above them. personal. or a fancy Catholic hospital. Paul's home is heaven compared to trench life. Do you think this "paradise" is really a paradise. and coffee. This basement is the closest thing to a paradise or to a dream realized that the soldiers find. books the likes of which he hasn't seen in months. soft. Oh the rats. carrots. Whether it's a make-shift hospital near the front lines. welcoming. And then there are the rats. Paul finds similar things in each: incompetent nurses. Each time we are excited for our protagonist to finally reach a safe place. cauliflower. he finds a comfortable bed with real bedding. Trench life is abysmal. The constant pounding of bombs can last for days. We also get to explore a number of hospital settings in this novel. peas. and quiet. Paul now feels out of place at home and grows to miss his "family" of soldiers. even in spite of the amenities and comforts and beer of his hometown.geese to roast or playing cards or chatting about the meaninglessness of this war. rum. Sometimes. and potato cakes. or warm operations. Even the process of recovery becomes a dangerous game one has to play. and they have the one thing that they love the most (food) in abundance. and water is scarce. He visits home on leave and is sent home to convalesce. However. they are far from enemy lines. starving rats who will crawl on your face at night in the hopes of gnawing on a piece of molding bread that you are hiding in your pillow for breakfast. They cook a feast of suckling pig. and surgeons with odd fetishes. Trench life is blood and mud and noise. Here. and each time we are disappointed by what he finds in these hospitals. The soldiers have to kill them. just as they have to kill the enemy soldiers. they drink cognac. and they are able to live off of the supplies they find. warm. the rats get so hungry that they attack the trenches by the hundreds. and comforting. The most peaceful and vibrant setting is a makeshift home that Paul and his friends fashion out of a basement in an abandoned town. a spotless train-hospital staffed by Red Cross nurses. or is there something a little strange about it? Would you consider this . They are not safe. They are sent to guard a supply dump. unfeeling orderlies. They tease one another and live in great comfort for a little while. Crusty. and they smokes cigars and cigarettes. It is not uncommon for soldiers to go mad. food (rationed though it may be). assaulting all five senses. They pull luxurious bedding and furniture from the empty houses in town and create a tiny but opulent paradise in their basement. Brazen. greedy attendants. His old bedroom is quiet. and everyone must look out for himself. thundering in the soldiers' ears. moldy bread forms the only source of nutrition. There.

Remarque portrays the overall effect of these conditions as a crippling overload of panic and despair. epitomizing the war’s devastating effect on the generation of young men who were forced to fight it.. In Remarque’s view. honor. to deal with the frequent. suppressing their emotions and accepting the conditions of their lives. replacing the romantic picture of glory and heroism with a decidedly unromantic vision of fear. and butchery. as they could literally be blown to pieces at any moment. sudden deaths of their close friends and comrades. almost every major character is dead. the soldiers are forced to live in appalling conditions—in filthy. The Effect of War on the Soldier Because All Quiet on the Western Front is set among soldiers fighting on the front. for instance.g. This intense physical threat also serves as an unceasing attack on the nerves. at the beginning of the novel. All Quiet on the Western Front sets out to portray war as it was actually experienced. often in close proximity and in extremely violent fashion. one of its main focuses is the ruinous effect that war has on the soldiers who fight it. emphasizing ideas such as glory. Soldiers no longer pause to mourn fallen friends and comrades. patriotic duty. moreover. Remarque’s novel dramatizes these aspects of World War I and portrays the mind-numbing terror and savagery of war with a relentless focus on the physical and psychological damage that it occasions. meaninglessness. adequate clothing. waterlogged ditches full of rats and decaying corpses and infested with lice. when Kemmerich is on his deathbed. its battles that lasted for months. Paul. He also loses his ability to speak to his family. and its gruesome new technological advancements (e. poison gas. which informs every scene in the novel. becomes unable to imagine a future without the war and unable to remember how he felt in the past. forcing soldiers to cope with primal.particular setting to be peaceful? Characterization Major Themes The Horror of War The overriding theme of All Quiet on the Western Front is the terrible brutality of war. The only way for soldiers to survive is to disconnect themselves from their feelings. They frequently go without food and sleep. In many ways. instinctive fear during every waking moment. trenches) that made killing easier and more impersonal than ever before. Additionally. this emotional disconnection has a hugely destructive impact on a soldier’s humanity. and adventure. the most pressing question among his friends . machine guns. At the end of the novel. or sufficient medical care. These men are subject to constant physical danger. They are forced. Whereas war novels before All Quiet on the Western Front tended to romanticize what war was like. World War I demanded this depiction more than any war before it—it completely altered mankind’s conception of military conflict with its catastrophic levels of carnage and violence.

" As he watches Kat roasting the goose and hears his voice. Man's Inhumanity to Man Paul and his friends become so inured to death and horror all around them . Paul and Kat have captured a goose and are roasting it late at night. we see the comradeship of this tiny group of men. he loses his nerve and his direction and is afraid he will die. Through thick and thin. in a simpler. There is such final irony in the medic's question about whether they are related. horror and hopelessness. Over and over again. in the face of all sorrow and hopelessness. tells him that he will get used to it (Chapter 4). these words that have saved me and will stand by me. we laugh because he deserves it and they are only giving him his due. I could bury my face in them in these voices. we are not related. Comradeship Throughout all the horrifying pictures of death and inhumanity. and Paul kindly. In Chapter 9. These feelings are the only romanticized element of the novel and are virtually the only emotions that preserve the soldiers’ fundamental humanity. he hears the voices of his friends: "I belong to them and they to me. Even though Paul counts their losses at various points. we are nearer than lovers. and they provide a bright light in a place of such terrible darkness. In Chapter 5. Finally. however. Perhaps the two most amazing scenes of humanity and caring can be found in the story of the goose roasting and the battle where his comrades' voices cause Paul to regain his nerve. the pictures of camaraderie relieve the terrible descriptions of front line assaults and death. "We don't talk much. this life — has been closer to Paul than his own blood relatives and yet Paul must say. Among the living soldiers. Paul says. a harder way. he always considers their close relationship and attempts to keep them together to help each other. A young recruit becomes gun-shy in his first battle when a rocket fires and explosions begin. outside is the night and the circle of death. As time goes by. gently. When Paul and his friends waylay Himmelstoss and beat on him. Kat's death is so overwhelming and so final that we do not hear Paul's reaction. Instead. however. this hero. This man. when Paul is alone in the trench." It is the final stunning blow before Paul must go on alone.is who will inherit his boots." There is a grace here. this father. we all share the same fear and the same life. Remarque does scatter a redeeming quality: comradeship. He creeps over to Paul and buries his head in Paul's chest and arms. but I believe we have a more complete communion with one another than even lovers have. we only see him break down in the face of it. two minute sparks of life. in scenes of battle and scenes of rest. We are two men. these men hold each other up. a grace that occurs when men realize their humanity and their reliance on others. battle and rest. it brings Paul peace and reassurance. "No. Remarque portrays intense bonds of loyalty and friendship that spring up as a result of the shared experience of war. Paul has only Kat and he loses even this friend and father-figure in Chapter 11.

for they had some inkling of the horrors that awaited them there. Atrocities are simply a part of the inhumane business of war. and make movements. tremble. A difference in generation developed. and give in to front-line madness described over and over again in scenes of the front. and ties between the young soldiers solidified.that the inhumanity and atrocities of war become part of everyday life. They later pile the dead in a shell hole with "three layers so far. and then his body drops away with only the stumps of arms and hands hanging in the wire and the rest of his body on the ground. and harassed. The assault on the senses is overwhelming. For us the brief training period was a strenuous but also an amusing transition. "The heroic gestures of the volunteers was barred to Erich Maria Remarque and his age group. he sees a Frenchman who dies under German fire. a great joke. They use spades to cleave faces in two and jab bayonets into the backs of any enemy who is too slow to get away. He describes the atrocities." Brutality of war . drilled. Here is where Remarque is at his greatest: in his description of the true horror and paralyzing fear at the front. Paul and his men come across soldiers whose noses are cut off and eyes poked out with their own saw bayonets. much as if we were playing parts in a highly realistic military comedy." The smell of blood and putrefaction is overwhelming and causes many of Paul's company to be nauseated and retch. Remarque vividly recounts the horror of constant death as Paul comes upon scenes of destruction. a playwright and friend of Remarque. and they went into the field without illusions. and Paul brutally describes pieces of arms here and half of a naked body there." This horrifying picture is grimly elaborated on in Chapter 9 when they pass through a forest where there are bodies of victims of trench mortars. They later come upon a scene with dead bodies whose bellies are swollen like balloons. Their callousness is contrasted with the reaction of the new recruits who sob. the terrible consequences of weapons of mass destruction." Parts of naked bodies are hanging in trees. Friendship The one element that retains its positive value in the novel is friendship between the comrades. belch. hands suspended. Carl Zuckmayer. Their mouths and noses are stuffed with sawdust so they suffocate. In Chapter 6. The gases in them make noises. writes in A Part of Myself. In Chapter 6. It is a "forest of the dead. and how soldiers become hardened to death and its onslaught of sensory perceptions during battle. they had to sweat out their normal time in school and then be unwillingly drafted. The man's body collapses. "They hiss. This constant view of death causes the soldiers to fight back like insensible animals.

that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. Kemmrich. while trying to survive in this brutal war. Each time Paul counts the thinning ranks of his company. Himmeltoss etc…+  Use’s “I” or “We” indicating First Person Narration  Paul explains situations about his life experience. The consequences of war are given due consideration--Paul watches friends die. Point of View First Person (Main) and Third-Person Objective  All quiet on the Westen Front is told from the perspective of the protagonist (Paul)[First Person Narration]  The perception is limited since we only experience his feelings. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long. and poisonous gas. his face had an expression of calm. Quote He fell in October 1918. very soon. on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front. machine guns. we are reminded that all the fighting is only over a small piece of land--a few hundred yards or less--and that. The reader is also introduced to all the new forms of assault World War I developed--tanks. Tajden. his thoughts and opinion’s that he has about the secondary characters within the story *Kat. and inclement weather--to say nothing for actual combat and the deadly zone of no-man's-land between enemy trenches. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Included are two detailed chapters about fighting at the front and in the trenches (Chapters Four and Six). shell-shock. .Remarque writes in the epigraph that his book will describe the men who were "destroyed by the war. the fighting will renew over whatever was gained or lost. more accurate artillery bombardment. sees dislocated body parts. Remarque smashes whatever romantic preconceptions the reader may have about combat in his descriptions of ratinfestation." and after that All Quiet on the Western Front is a nearly ceaseless exploration of the destructive properties of The Great War.  He explains his pain when telling the stories of the war [gore/violence]  Repetition of how pointless war is and constantly describing the inhumanity of war  The final two paragraphs are in Third-Person (Objective) narration making it dramatic and creating emphasis on Paul’s death. nerve attacks. starvation. airplanes. as though almost glad the end had come. and tours a hospital of the wounded.

" Euphemism "At the same time he ventilates his backside. receives him again and often forever. lorries." "Darknesses blacker than the night rush on us with giant strides. torn to pieces. she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live. trains. then she is his only friend." "My arms have grown wings and I'm almost afraid of going up into the sky. Self Character vs.'" Imagery "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier." "I recognize the characteristic outline of the Dolbenberg." Simile "Like a big. a jagged comb. I run." Repetition "Earth! — Earth! — Earth!" "Dawn approaches without anything happening — only the everlasting." "All at once he remembers his school days and finishes hastily: 'He wants to leave the room. it plays with our words and thoughts. we can destroy and kill.Conflicts Main Literary Devices Character vs. over us and away. his brother. Character Character vs. he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security. ten seconds of life. and now we are melted down." "The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen. nerve-wracking roll behind the enemy lines. crushed. Nature Character vs. trains. sister. as though I held a couple of captive balloons in my fists." Parallel construction "My feet begin to move forward in my boots." Personification "The wind plays with our hair. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully. to save ourselves. when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire. Humor "Then [the sergeant major] steams off with Himmelstoss in his wake." "No longer do we lie helpless. [gas] floats into our shell-hole and lolls there . soft jelly-fish." "It is as though formerly we were coins of different provinces. waiting on the scaffold. lorries. springing up precipitously from the limits of the forests." "Over us Chance hovers. but what are they concentrating?" Antithesis "A man dreams of a miracle and wakes up to loaves of bread. I go quicker. and all bear the same stamp. to save ourselves and to be revenged. his mother." "The wood vanishes. to run. it is pounded.

they are the strongest. musty platoon huts. Mother! You still think I am a child — why can I not put my head in your lap and weep?" Allusion "The gun emplacements are camouflaged with bushes against aerial observation. bury ourselves in thee. streams back through our hands from thee.'" "Immediately a second [searchlight] is beside him. dark." Rhetorical question "Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled?" "If one wants to appraise it. the lockers and the stools! Even you can become the object of desire." Metaphor "When Kat stands in front of the hut and says: 'There'll be a bombardment. they are more than motherliness and more than fear. and listen for soft words which will come. . the chequered bedding. thy redeemed ones. I lie in the pale cradle of the twilight. and through the long minutes in a mute agony of hope bite into thee with our lips!" "The evening benediction begins." "Ah! Mother. but if he says it here. it is at once heroic and banal — but who wants to do that?" break Aphorism "No soldier outlives a thousand chances. . soft and near — am I crying?" Liturgical prose "Our being. then the sentence has the sharpness of a bayonet in the moonlight." "The guns and the wagons float past the dim background of the moonlit landscape." "I don't know whether it is morning or evening. most comforting things there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades. terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks — but it kills. and we." ". if a . these voices. . with the iron bedsteads. it thrusts nearer and speaks to this unknown thing that is awakened in us." "In the evening we are hauled on to the chopping-block.obscenely.' that is merely his own opinion. it is strangely beautiful and arresting." Hyperbole "They are more to me than life. and look like a kind of military Feast of the Tabernacles. the riders in their steel helmets resemble knights of a forgotten time. almost utterly carried away by the fury of the storm. a dark meaning — 'There'll be a bombardment." "He had collapsed like a rotten tree. . it cuts clean through the thought. a black insect is caught between them and tries to escape — the airman." Apostrophe ".

. and pine. a high double wall of yellow.man thinks about it. ." Foreshadowing "'I can sleep enough later." "Thirty-two men.' she chirps but shuts the door all the same. unpolished. which lies there already made up because I have to leave early in the morning." Cause and effect "Our faces are neither paler nor more flushed than usual. the weeks." "And the war would be over and done in a day." Caesura "It is all a matter of habit — even the front-line. and our dead comrades shall then stand up again and march with us. They still smell of resin. our heads shall be clear.' she says. and so we shall march. against whom?" "Pen-holders.' "I have killed the printer. and the forest. the ink-well — here nothing is changed. Her face is a white gleam in the darkness. we shall have a purpose." "They have taken us farther back than usual to a field depot so that we can be re-organized." Onomatopoeia "The man gurgles. they are not more tense nor more flabby — and yet they are changed." Symbolism "The national feeling of the tommy resolves itself into this — here he is. . I look right and left." "'Heathen." Alliteration "The satisfaction of months shines in his dull pig's eyes as he spits out: 'Dirty . the years out here shall come back again." "." "Life is short. our dead comrades beside us." Appositive "Thus momentarily we have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and rest. . . Gérard Duval. . . ." Short utterances "It is not fear." Doggerel "Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay. a shell as a paper-weight." ". brand-new coffins. smash through the johnnies and then there will be peace. ." "On the landing I stumble over my pack." "I pass over the bridge." Irony "The shells begin to hiss like safety-valves — heavy fire — . the water is as full of weeds as ever." "The days. the year at the Front behind us — against whom. .

rather. Using . In this way. for Kat is an old front-hog. and can smell what is coming. Müller immediately begins maneuvering to receive the boots. and in the night shattered life groans painfully into silence. 2. out of the confusion of grey and yellow the hail of splinters whips forth the child-like cries of the wounded. Paul brings them to Müller after Kemmerich dies and inherits them himself when Müller is shot to death later in the novel. one must block out grief and despair like a machine. The question of who will inherit them continually overshadows their owners’ deaths." "The storm lashes us. but one important symbol in the novel is Kemmerich’s boots. Kemmerich himself took them from the corpse of a dead airman. Kemmerich’s high. Discuss Remarque's use of nature throughout the novel. using examples when possible. A good pair of boots is more valuable—and more durable—than a human life." "Outside the window the wind blows and the chestnut trees rustle. supple boots are passed from soldier to soldier as each owner dies in sequence. you old blubber-sticker." Cacophony "But first you have to give the Froggies a good hiding. Remarque's novel presents nature in many moods and for many purposes." Slang "And now get on with it. They comfort me: it looks as though there were little windows in dark village cottages saying that behind them are rooms full of peace. The boots also symbolize the necessary pragmatism that a soldier must have. and don't you miscount either. Critical Approach Essential Questions 1. and as Kemmerich lies on his own deathbed. of course. the boots represent the cheapness of human life in the war." "You get off scot free. This World War I novel is a story of powerful bonding among men. One cannot yield to one’s emotions amid the devastation of the war." "Kat has lost all his fun since we have been here." "That cooked his goose. which is bad.hound!'" "What would become of us if everything that happens out there were quite clear to us?" Euphony "Now red points glow in every face." Symbolism Kemmerich’s Boots All Quiet on the Western Front doesn’t employ a great deal of symbolism.

Using several examples from the myriad choices. What role do they play in his book? 4. Study the few places where women enter Remarque's novel. explain how Remarque develops his idea of comradeship in the face of battle. The progress of the war can be seen though the author's descriptions of the few comforts of the front.cliffsnotes. and the creature comforts. Paul and his friends are constantly occupied with the search for food.examples from the book.com/all-quiet-on-western-front/narrator-point-of-view.sparknotes. http://www. show how Remarque's descriptions of life at the front seem to reduce humans to animals.com/lit/allquiet/ http://www.html http://www. How can the reader follow the progress of the war through their search? 7. 6. Was Paul's death at the end of the novel a blessing or a tragedy? Take a stand and defend your opinion based on the incidents of the novel. Using specific examples from the novel. 5. 8. 3. particularly in comparing the battlefield with nature. Discuss Remarque's extensive use of simile. From the very title of the novel through the grim ending. shelter. explain his use of irony in the novel.html .com/study_guide/literature/all-quiet-on-the-western-front/booksummary. Remarque uses irony.shmoop.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful