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
Suddenly. earthy tastes would have preferred beef. everyday kind of guy. Himmelstoss's demeanor is discussed – they criticize Himmelstoss
. they fit well. greater than comes from the belly alone. "Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay and the war would be over and done in a day" – that is." The group disses drilling and structure and the lunacy of the "skills" they were taught in boot camp. Paul gives Muller the boots. but one with nice beds and cozies." or at least experienced. uneven compensation between soldiers and officers is to blame for many of the war's issues. I breathe the air deeply. Kat appears with warm bread to share with the troops. "Seen the infants?" (3. almost magically. They cobble together a nice meal with horse flesh and bread (this is good eats on the Front). Those skills are useless to them now. I feel my joints strong. Kat is just such a down to earth. Paul goes on about Kat's "sixth sense" for knowing things – Kat leads them to a burnt out shelter. More absurdities mount when Kat rhymes. In another shelter. I live. Kat has traded string to the cook and offers them beef stew. overhead. He warns that this food is for barter purposes only – next time they need to bring him a cigar.1) – meaning the new recruits. a German plane is shot down in an explosion – this is not a game.
life (face still wet due to tears). Paul notes that Kat's "masterpiece" was producing four boxes of lobsters once – but that Kat's simple. The night lives.” (19). he seems to know where Mother Nature hides things. They talk about games like "Change at Löhne" – a weird dressing game where men scramble under beds. who are two years younger than Paul and his pals. I feel a hunger. Kat jokes about the scarcity of decent food and promises an upgrade to current fare. The author contrasts Kat with Kropp "who is a thinker" – Kropp suggests that the War should be fought by the countries' generals. The troops joke about how vital it is to salute on the Front. as new troops arrive. this is war. Paul takes Kemmerich's belongings to bring it back to the others (identification disc and boots) Quote “My limbs move supplely.
Chapter 3 Paul already appears "old. He feels that "the wrong people do the fighting. Kropp jokes. Later. the troops are drilling "how to salute" on a sunny day because of Tjaden's bad behavior in failing to salute a superior.
"Revenge is black-pudding. Those large guns carry a long way – they can reach bunkers.and men like him – small men who try to be big based on their fancy uniforms. 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. "Earth! Earth! Earth!" (4. and mapping. Himmelstoss staggers away as the men run. the men decide to jump Himmelstoss and whip him when he comes home semi-drunk from his nearby regular pub. Out of nowhere. Kropp decides to enlist in the post office. presumably means that revenge is good. Since he's more education than Himmelstoss. 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. and having an officer's uniform won't save you from bullets).24). They are joined by many other troops. Man will do anything and everything that he can get away with. Allegorically they describe how men behave more or less just like dogs. They pass noisy geese and all eyes turn to Kat for leadership in hunting and cooking them after a successful mission. This is as close as anything gets to a prayer in All Quiet on the Western
. It is not fear – only newbies feel fear. undiscovered. They jump him one night and Tjaden takes particular delight in the whipping. each with their own particular missions. Chapter 4 The men are sent on a mission to lay barbed wire at the front slow the approach of the enemies. cover. Haie says." which. The earth feels like it's quaking. Our narrator talks about the natural fog of the area blending with the gunpowder smoke and the exhaust of the motorcar engines. He talks about the earth as friendly to a soldier who relies on it for movement. Noisy trucks ferry them forward with the wire. He says. almost as if praying to it. Paul describes the Front as a mysterious whirlpool with a "vortex" sucking him in. the troops are certain that they will be bombed tonight and they steel themselves for it. Paul outlines how they are "embraced" by the Front. Kropp could be his superior. Kat knows it will be a long night. Paul and gang have thick skin now. Tjaden especially dislikes Himmelstoss because of the way he "disciplines" bed-wetters. Under Kat's suggestion. The men dream of ways to get back at Himmelstoss after the war. Suddenly three shells land near them.
is most bothered by the horses agonized
. Detering. a loving farmer.40).
Front. and quivers a little. "Mighty fine fire-works if they weren't so dangerous" (4. The men unravel the barbed wire. 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. and just tells the recruit to go behind a bush and throw out his skivvies and not to feel ashamed. They walk forward in moonlight. They arrive at the front and the motorcars that carried them there leave. Paul describes the bombardment almost as if it is alive. crying. seeking their point area to begin laying the barbed wire as part of their mission. Kat says. To Paul he looks like the recently dead Kemmerich. Finally. One new recruit is frozen. Paul makes it clear that he is not going to adopt the cruelties of Himmelstoss and the other authority figures. noting how its glow creates a target for the bombers. The recruit shudders again and again under the loud bomb noises. Some are dead. passing bodies. 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. hissing. Suddenly the sky lights up with bombs and fire – the bombardment begins. His mates sleep a few hours. There are planes involved as well – searchlights sweep the sky: "one of them pauses. Paul continues walking back from the bombing – he and Albert hear the screeching whinny of wounded horses. a few are alive and terrified. is blinded and falls" (4. Paul tears his hand. One bomb lands very close to Kat and Paul.26). the smell of that smoke would give away their positions. he does fall asleep. They are being hit hard. Vast loneliness and independence flood them. but it is too cold for Paul to sleep. a black insect is caught between them and tries to escape – the airman. from new bombs and striped lights in the sky.45). childlike. an evil animal. The process takes a few hours. Immediately a second is beside him. He hesitates. The men crawl away under heavy fire. 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. and Kat quickly puts out his pipe. but is awakened suddenly. Paul realizes the reason for the recruit's unwillingness to move – he has gone to the bathroom in his pants. terrifyingly.
Firing a gun would give away their position to the enemy and put the men in danger." Paul notes a random leg lying in a field. and keeps running. and come upon a loose coffin lid. the horse trips over his own guts. One percussion cracks Paul on the skull and he is on edge of losing consciousness. he can't find the body of
. "Like to know what harm they've done. They crawl along the graveyard floor. which is not a good sign. He flings himself down on mother earth for protection. Suddenly. "having died twice. The earth appears to be wounded. The men try to avoid it – a gas bomb is dropped and they struggle for their masks.71) Troop 9 gets ready to go back to barracks back from the Front. looking for shelter.
cries and begs out loud for somebody to "Shoot them! For God's sake! Shoot them!" (4. The body is then blown up by a nearby bomb.64). He breathes in his vale cautiously. he asks. driving them mad. Detering raises his gun to put the horse out of its misery – Kat asks. He half wakes up and feels an arm – "a wounded man?" (4. The men open the heavy lid and throw out the body so that they can climb inside for protection from the bombs. when they are silenced. And finally. It takes Kat shaking Paul to make him realize he has to put on his mask quickly. Paul describes the darkness as having come to life and attacking them. "Are you mad?" (4." (4. The shelling gets stronger and Paul as our narrator capitalizes Death as a living character. Trees shatter and splinter. they wait for the motorcars. lying in wait for the men.60) Kat explains that the medics must look after the men first – so the horses must suffer. his body was presumably what Paul had landed on when he jumped into that bomb crater. One horse's guts have been ripped out. And then he realizes that the body is part of many in the graveyard they have stumbled upon. everything seems to explode. Under the mask. Bombs everywhere. inside a hole made by a previous bomb. They come upon a mist-heavy area of bombed out craters – Kat is quiet. human-like. Paul barely recognizes his closest friend Kat. now raining dirt clods on the men from the bombs.87) he wonders – but the man is dead. Detering gives up and suffers the noises. Paul recalls the burnt-lung victims side by side in the hospital.
even if he survives through enormous pain. the men sit half naked and discuss Himmelstoss's return/appearance at the Front. Kat tells the boy to stay there as the men prepare to get him a stretcher. 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. The narrator notes that their losses are less than expected – only five killed and eight wounded. As it's warm outside. so he asks. They do nothing. he realizes that this is the new recruit that he had encountered earlier (the one who messed his pants). The men lift a wounded soldier. Sadly. they can't give serious answers to what they would do. The shelling has stopped. The first set of answers are all pleasures of the flesh or gullet (sex or food).
. Tjaden's goal is to cage and torture Himmelstoss. they have a hard time fathoming the notion of peacetime and." It rains. Chapter 5 Paul details how they kill lice. And then there's the retirement pension (money!). Tjaden notes that the whipping of Himmelstoss was "the high-water mark of his life" (5. Even Paul agrees that they should euthanize him.whoever owned it. The men discuss what they would do if there were suddenly peace. They realize the boy will get the stretcher and will probably die a very painful and slow death. the army is a reliable. His hip is covered with blood – the man seems close to death and is bleeding from many places. And then it is too late – others arrive on the scene. even when they can. The narrator notes what little of life will be left to the youngster. decent job. as Paul comforts. Kat tries to bandage him and. Paul sees a newbie recruit walking around without a mask – he hates his and tears it off.5). Kat suggests that they get a gun and finish him off mercifully. The boy is in such bad shape. Himmelstoss walks up to the men. Sheesh. They go back silently to the motor cars so that they can go "home. They think about the dead who have fallen before them as they drive carefully through areas wired for defense. And then Haie says that he would stay in the army – in a time of peace. but they have to do it quickly.
"The war has ruined us for everything" (5. name-calling. 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. Tjaden disappears. noting how useless these are to the men in life and in the war. Albert says. "He seems to have learned already that the front-line isn't a parade-ground" (5. and they note the bad rep that tattle-tales have in the military.55). The vibe is that hope is dying here. Himmelstoss accosts the men in the camp judicial area. Himmelstoss is less volatile with the troops than he was at boot camp. Himmelstoss returns and demands respect.
"Well?" (5. They bark at each other a while. At the trial the men explain the character of Himmelstoss. this case comes up for trial. Tjaden doesn't care – he escapes and hides from Himmelstoss. Tjaden refuses to obey. Tjaden tells Himmelstoss that he's a dirty hound. That evening. Himmelstoss.132). Paul underscores how low they've stooped: "That is our sole ambition: to knock the conceit out of a postman" (5. And they mock Kantorek's set of trivia questions they suffered through in school. Kropp asks him if he's ever fought at the Front before. They collectively decide that they would no longer listen to their clueless Fatherland-ideal-loving former teacher Kantorek.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. asking for Tjaden. The men continue their discussion of what they would do in a time of peace.56). Himmelstoss tells Tjaden to stand up and salute. Nobody salutes. The narrator notes. Kat thinks Kropp will get three days in jail for talking back to his superior. detailing his abuses. suggesting that Himmelstoss's love of rules and hierarchy is pretty useless and silly in such a brutal war. Himmelstoss stomps off. Kat intones that the penalty will be at least five days' "close arrest" (jail). The magistrate understands and gives Tjaden and Kropp very light
. even after being threatened with a court-martial.120). The men tell him they don't know where Tjaden is. The magistrate asks the men why they didn't report Himmelstoss before.
eerie – Kat notes that the English are bringing enhanced guns and new. eat. the men just wait and play games. Detering leads an extermination project. They finish cooking the goose. Lots of noise. Paul thinks about shooting the dog. On the ride back "home. He's afraid to move. even apologizing for having to give them any. The attack begins by waking the men in the middle of the night. but a chin choker prevents him from biting Paul. smoke. the biggest eater in the group. The first night is quiet. We lie under the network of arching shells and live in suspense of uncertainty. they would normally expect one to follow the gas. they can hear another air raid and bombs and guns. ready for roasting. Killing rats occupies their time for days before the attack. Above. but finally he has the energy to do so and zips out of there with a dead goose. But there is no attack.10). They use bread as bait and then attack the gathering rats with shovels – the rats have killed cats and dogs in the camp. The new recruits are scared. Rumors of a huge attack intensify. which are over-running the camp and the trenches. They steal food and scamper over soldiers' faces while they are sleeping." Kat and Paul find geese – Paul grabs one that puts up a tough fight.
. And then the enemy sends over gas one night. Paul says. but the old hands (like Troop 9) are seasoned to the ways of war. Our narrator paints the land as being torn to shreds as recruits in sheer terror vomit their fear. The men darkly note that those coffins are ready in preparation for the upcoming battle. They cook the goose together in the middle of the night. the men return to the Front. "The Front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen. They have a bonding moment as they realize that they were total strangers not long ago. and then take a generous portion in a bag back to Tjaden. The men's attention turns to rats. A bulldog comes to their rescue. Bombs. better French technology. Over us Chance hovers" (6. Troop 9 is in low spirits. Heavy fire. Their own guns are wearing out – this last day their own guns wounded two of their own men.sentences. passing a bombed schoolhouse with rows of brand new coffins stacked high beside it. Himmelstoss is put in his place. Chapter 6 With rumors of an attack coming.
Tjaden regrets the bread they wasted trapping the rats – he would gladly eat those pieces now. Gruesome imagery accompanies the rush – shot off arms dangle in the barbed wire fences. the men reach another set of trenches. Kropp and Haie throw hand grenades at exact yardages trying to drive wedges in the enemy's assault. Paul notes how he and his fellow men have become wild beasts. Troop 9 can see the enemy coming again. and from their dugout. With pressure mounting. literally. This confrontation makes the atmosphere worse. then the battle is not so bad.
The bombs come closer. (Check out
. Paul desperately wants to head home. Night comes again. The forward trenches have been abandoned – Troop 9's enemy is clearly winning. The men are running out of food – perhaps all of it didn't make it to the Front. They start into their food reserves to quell hunger. At noon. Tjaden notes that this night food will be brought to them and the others believe he is right. He notes the way the earth seems to be tearing away under his feet and his having lost feeling on many levels. Their machine guns open and fend off a counter-attack that came very close to hand-tohand combat. He notes that if he were not on auto-pilot mode. Two offensives are made with the soldiers returning back to base twice. they did not seem to count on such fierce. The newbies are calmed by the news that. violent enough so that their trench is now almost destroyed with only eighteen inches of cover left. more repressive. But the enemy is suffering many casualties. one of the new recruits snaps and has a fit. animalistic resistance. to his senses to save his life. In the heat of the battle. He tries to leave the safe zone and escape his claustrophobia outside (where he will surely be shot to death). Paul refers to himself for the first time as being dead. And then a bomb strikes the dugout. but he can't – instead he is forced to plunge into the horror of battle. The men marvel that they have had no casualties yet in this offensive. They win this little battle. One of the recruits starts butting his head against the wall. as well as the pieces the rats gnawed. he would not be able to do this. if food can be delivered. The waiting at night is terrible. dancing with Death. He cannot help himself and the men beat him. far from the Front. noting how few are stopped by the wire they laid.
and if their memory is what gives him strength to continue fighting to live. Paul describes a series of attacks and counter-attacks where no progress is made and bodies pile up. which is now the minority sound in his mind. The battle heat dissipates as positions stabilize. He refers to himself repeatedly as either dead or a ghost as Death becomes almost a companion. Over time. Paul tells us. Paul wonders over one man's three-day death: if he is thinking of his wife. There are so many. "The days are hot and the dead lie unburied" (6. but it is silenced by a bomb. they continue to stack the dead.) This new offensive of Troop 9's is successful and the enemy is on the run. Haie collects lovely French silk parachutes and parachute rings – he is determined to give them to his girlfriend. his kids. and experienced like old men. The others collect the chutes themselves – they will make nice dresses. "We are forlorn like children. Paul observes the battle planes. and the men grow increasingly hungry.
.105). now three bodies high. Paul waxes poetic about the silence. even through it is in sparse amounts. they arrive with less and less training. paragraph 101. he will have a hard time carrying all of them. Many recruits are dead and dying – they die at a much higher rate than old-timers like Paul. and the men hear their cries. we are crude and sorrowful and superficial – I believe we are lost" (6.117). The men think they hear the name "Elise" being called out. The shelling begins again aggressively. Paul says. which they don't mind. Paul complains that the new recruits often give them more trouble than they are worth. sometimes for days as they die slowly under the elements. in a big hole. Those planes drop volume bombs aimlessly. Paul refers to a machine gun as barking. Many of them have to be left in no man's land to suffer. Meanwhile. While the men know they need reinforcements. They eat corned beef and jam in a kind of food orgy. what Paul and his men fear are the observation planes who are then followed by much more precise trench bombings shortly thereafter. not knowing to duck shrapnel and clinging together rather than being separated for bombing raids.
Chapter Six. He focuses on the wounded more than the dead – they have a hard time bringing in bodies.
Paul is furious and literally throws him out of the trenches. pretending to be wounded. faces. He calls again. And that is the last sentence of the chapter: "Thirty-two men" (6. 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. piercing a lung.166). essentially asking. after starting at 150. we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off. The company commander calls "Second Company!" (6. or months of this set of battles. Paul reflects on habit as being a definition of change. Under this onslaught Haie Westhus is wounded in the back. Paul finds solace in mentoring new recruits.The new recruits fall in a ratio of 5 or 10 to 1 of the more experienced soldiers. Paul describes the brutality: "We see men living with their skulls blown open. life is at an end" (6. *…+ we see men without mouths. but Himmelstoss cowers with a small scratch.169). Chapter 7 Paul's Company needs to regroup. One day in mortar fire. A surprise gas attack takes many of them in one shot. The men loaf around – even Himmelstoss has mellowed. is now down to 32 men. the shells whine. as they don't learn to panic fast enough. not repetition in its classical sense. They ride the motor cars back to home base. The sun goes down. The men are relieved. Running through the trenches. And then Paul notes with odd pride that for all of that gore. jaws. "Is that all?" (6.158). weeks. who can't remember if it was days. they have held their little plot of land against a seemingly overwhelming enemy. night comes.139). He knows he is going to die. Paul notes that now they have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and good rest. The recruits listen hard – and then under the heat of real battle do everything wrong. another day foraging for
. they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell-hole. They "choke to death with hemorrhages and suffocation" (6. Second Company. Himmelstoss announces that he is taking over for an injured cook and brings the men sweets. Paul bangs into Himmelstoss.164) for Paul's group. The back and forth of pointless battle begins to dissolve time for Paul. They are supposed to be in an offensive. training their eyes and ears for signs of danger. The men have gained a bit of respect for him for his having helped bring in Haie Westhus after Haie was so badly injured. Many were killed in this battle.
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. and he lists all of the men he knew who could not pay that price. Paul rides the train home. nervous.
. and fold themselves into a good old-fashioned love session." A poster of a beautiful girl gets the soldiers' attention. here the intimacy is private. 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. They sweat over what foods. another day in transit. they decide to run away. They make the international sign for sleep and it becomes clear that they will come visit later that night. The door opens and they are welcomed. at which point the women wave over the men hungrily. even hopeful. 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. 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. Paul waxes about the frailties of life. While swimming on their break. awkward. The men understand few French words. He muses on their turning into animals to survive the Front. and soft. The men stuff their clothes in their water-tight boots and swim naked across the river. They worry that there are other military officers with the ladies – and if there are. quiet. and so on they will bring the women.
food. where he is given a pass to go on vacation for a total of seventeen days. cigarettes. The women unwrap the food and eat ravenously. meaning that he will be out of Front circulation for six weeks. The men reconvene to swim back across the river. unable to fully enjoy this moment as his desires are painted as "strangely compounded of yearning and misery. that "Life is short." He notes how different this intimate gathering feels as compared to the officers' brothels. the soldiers see a few French women who look hungry. The men now appear to the reader as boys. fidgety. As they leave. noting that the experience was worth more than their army-loaf price of admission. Paul is the only one who appears conflicted. wanting to live at any price.
even though his family is not very openly affectionate. He is struck by his alienation from it. than it would be in another family. He is greeted by his loving sister. Paul's father appears further as a lout. He can not relax into it. Paul offers Edam cheese and they connect over food. He is clearly another flavor of Himmelstoss. bombed in trenches. gory details which dehumanize the very real human beings who died for "ideals. Paul sits in a beer-garden. The fact that Paul's mother calls him her "dear boy" (7. but he's emotionally distant. Paul reports to the District Commandant and walks through his old village. he notes. can not be a part of it. As a result. "Was it very bad out there?" (7. Paul refuses the parading. and can only observe little details and elements. who finds him crying. His mother asks suddenly. his realization that he could not even possibly explain a moment of what life is really like at the Front. have heard how terrible life is at the Front. in turn. rather than being scarred from the outside like that of his young friends. which forms such a contrast to the hellish world of the Front. This is Paul's father – another example of the shallow authority figures thoroughly derided in this book. The source of his mother's illness is internal. who then softens up when he feels he is being shown respect. Paul returns home and puts on one of his old suits – he has grown in the army and that suit is tight. Order and safety and quiet are pervasive here. Paul is stunned when he passes a Major and forgets to salute. but rather than cause an even bigger fuss. Paul is furious.125) is a much bigger deal. Erna. The Major. but his father would prefer he remain in military garb so he can be paraded to be shown off to his father's friends. He finds his mother in bed. He minimizes stories his mother has heard from other mothers who.134) and Paul can only lie. Paul feels her love. His mother likes him better in civilian clothes. He looks strange to himself in the mirror. clearly not someone who has spent any time in real battle at the Front. watching the leaves fall. makes him march as punishment. Paul finds his home and creaks up the stairs. obeys the Major. asking salacious questions about the edges of the Front."
. sick with cancer. But it is her absolute lack of understanding that distances him.
His journey is a transition from scarred broken earth to picturesque farms and carefully manicured homes. It's because he's surrounded by the safety of his childhood home.
newspaper clippings that once meant something to him. He longs for the feelings of innocence he had as a child. He muses that he thought he was in foreign lands at the Front. has been called up to the Front. Paul is delighted that Kantorek will see what he has been espousing and defending to naïve. classical books and plays that seek ideals that seem laughably wasteful in the face of the war. eh?" and other light treatments of events which demand respect. Paul wants to remind him of his pushing Joseph Behm to enlist and that Joseph is now dead because of him. easily-influenced students. He reviews posters he'd hung in his youth. Paul sits in his room. so he smokes it as fast as he can. Müller. it too seems to turn on him and he is alienated by the feelings the room conjures in him. but this feels even more foreign to him. Paul visits Mittelstaedt in the army barracks. terrible. He wants to put it off as long as possible. As he inhales. and Tjaden express. He misses them. recalling how thrilled he felt reading those literary works. He longs to be alone – the men here don't hold a candle to the raw and honest humanity which Kat. how he cannot ignore enough things now to climb back down to that cozy ignorance that he once lived inside.
Paul runs into his old teacher. marching in a dramatically oversized uniform. he leaves. he listens to the others gathered there talk about the war like it is a sport. Paul and Mittelstaedt walk to the field grounds where they see Kantorek looking ridiculous. like a chimney. and he is repulsed. Mittelstaedt gives him the news that his old teacher Kantorek. On his walk. He cannot escape his surroundings because they have pervaded his interior. Paul makes the mistake of accepting a cigar and now must stay as long as it is lit. when the
. the best of which was a Himmelstoss trick where the company leader would be twenty paces ahead of the company. who skates over how truly terrible things are at the Front with "Terrible. they are not telling stories. When he can no longer handle the quiet. Mittelstaedt puts Kantorek through embarrassing drill practices. then. Paul begins to regret having come home for leave. Albert. But as he sits alone in his room. In almost desperation. he pulls out a book and tries to read. Mittelstaedt stops Kantorek and chides him militarily for his ludicrous appearance. the defender of Fatherland ideals. but the words are just words. to be able to move on and be left alone. Paul realizes that he must soon go to see Kemmerich's mother.
His mother comes in and watches him. a survivor of the Front.company reversed direction. The narrator notes that he cannot write it down. Paul cannot do that and he relies on basic things like warmth and the promise of food to comfort him. She asks how he died. with four days' vacation left. His last evening at home. to see Kemmerich's mother. his youth. Mittelstaedt has nothing but contempt for Kantorek either. increasingly anxious to get back to the Front – it is as if the Front is now his real home. Mittelstaedt unloads academic phrases at Kantorek as if they will help his difficult labors now. He has no ethical qualms about lying to her and agrees to swear it on anything sacred she would put in front of him. the leader would have to run fast to get to the lead again. time. Paul muses on the term "leave" (vacation). and just be her son and be happy and whole and fulfilled by the world of his little home. we see his inner pleadings to his mother. asking her to let him return to his innocence. stream it onto the page. hours. 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. his little village. The quaking sobbing woman asks Paul. Paul leaves. she warns him about those women in France. but he knows almost nobody there now. but he doesn't want to talk about what he is about to do. Paul goes to bed early in a quiet home. Paul asks if Kantorek has reported Mittelstaedt's somewhat abusive behavior.
. only to have direction changed again. She does not believe him. but is informed that the commander has a dislike for schoolteachers and also notes that Mittelstaedt is dating his daughter. he knows she is worried. he could not drink it in. he spends great pains convincing her of the short suffering of her son. as he must leave early in the morning. as if Paul needed it. Paul lies that he was shot through the heart and died immediately. Perhaps her grief was so striking. He counts his days. "Then why are you alive and he is dead?" Paul has no answer. He leaves and she gives him a picture of her son to remember him by. to be careful… And almost as a prayer. Almost comically compared to what he has already been through. Chapter 8 Paul is sent back to the base where he did his basic training with Himmelstoss and Tjaden. He questions whether he will ever lie in this feather bed again.
like the rural Germans who make up the backbone of the country. They beg for things to eat and shiver in silence. This thinking frightens Paul – these thoughts will soften Paul at the Front where he must view the world as friends versus enemies. and Paul keenly observes that the poor are afraid to ask prices in advance for fear of alienating the surgeon. so he only gives the Russians two. They pick over garbage tins for food and seem to barely stay alive. and fight with aggression and cold delivery. filled with prisoners who seem nervous and fearful of the soldiers. "Their life is obscure and guiltless" (8. and sullen. Some of the Germans are friendly. give the Russians cigarettes. he has remained soft inside. He hears their hymns and this makes him feel closer to them. The best topic they can come up with is his mother's illness – they know it is cancer. with nothing to speak about. His father's focus is not knowing how much the operation will cost. Paul does. they bow to him in thanks. That evening Paul intends to give the cakes his mother made for him to the Russians. Paul is struck to see "these enemies of ours" who look so much like him. The prisoners come to the fence each night to make trades. Those hours are torture for him.10). Next to camp is a large Russian prison camp. Paul guards the burials. They don't get much for these goods even though they have "taken immense pains to make them. usually things like boots for bread – a common trade. They are listless. as their boots are good and the German boots are bad. Days pass and it seems that each day another Russian dies. On the last Sunday before going back to the Front. He notes the beauty of the surrounding wood and the colors as nature changes seasons. sick with dysentery.
He mechanically goes through his refresher military drill training and spends his evenings reading." Paul feels their pain. however. They have tried to manufacture pitiful pieces of clothing or bands made of gun shells to barter for food. some treat the prisoners as sport. the wealthy ask as a matter of course. through all of the harshness of his Front life thus far. Paul is often put on guard over the Russians. but then he realizes that she probably spent many pain-filled hours preparing them. But many of the Russians have already bartered away most of their clothing for food and now have little left. They rarely speak and use only a few words when they do. kicking them every now and then to see if they will fall over. Paul's father and sister visit him in his barracks.
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. many with fresh-dripping blood. Tjaden is struck that the Kaiser looks more or less like an ordinary man. and they discuss the belief that the Kaiser puts his pants on one leg at a time. Paul notes that the Kaiser looks much smaller in real life than he does in pictures. A patrol is sent to discover the current enemy position. The Kaiser himself appears to send them off – all of them are puffed and shiny. The men talk about the real people who live in the warring countries. their clothes literally blown off of their bodies by the concussion of bombs. The Kaiser distributes various Iron Crosses and the group. The men polish and prepare for the journey. the men march through a forest where bodies are dangling from trees and brush. to the next stretcher station. The men determine to report these bodies. and Kropp enter and the group is reunited by Paul's mother's cakes and jams. He reports to the Orderly Room and is asked about his leave.50) The discussion turns to how the war started – one country offends another. Several are naked. Tjaden notes that he personally does not feel offended by France. just like they do. then marches off. Tjaden. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. which are actually good since they're not military issue. Other body parts lay in pieces. and Paul
. Now. Müller. Instead of going straight to Russia. and it becomes clear that there is no single uniting force behind the various wills. The war glory of generals enters the conversation. as the uniforms were there just for the Kaiser's inspection. Kat. asking about Kat and Albert. Albert then brings in the question of the one word "No" versus "Yes" in entering the war. but nobody has heard of or from them. who's in the right?" (9. Paul is informed that they are likely heading into Russia – where there is apparently little fighting going on. literally littering the forest floor. The men are bummed out by the fact that they must now return their lovely uniforms and go back to their old green drabs. The irony and ambiguity of the reason all of these people are dying is brought forward: "We are here to protect our fatherland.Chapter 9 Paul travels back to the Front. the sergeant-major knows the vibe of misery that Paul felt.
Paul pulls back and hears a gurgling – it is the man. The man tries instinctively to defend himself. talking and walking along. but he cannot resist. 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 is filled with warmth. He is disoriented and realizes that crawling in the right direction is now a matter of life and death. suffering. save him. but the man is still not dead – he moves. suddenly feeling powerless over the man (Death is the ruler here) and tries to unbutton the man's vest. he stabs the Frenchman as showers of machine gun rattle around him. but it has not yet gone off. Paul stares at him in the trench. Suddenly there is a flash and a clamor and. The man groans and all Paul can do is wait.
volunteers to go on it. This is the first man Paul will have killed with his bare hands. Paul can see him only faintly. Paul glides over the edge and snakes his way along. in savage animalistic fury. but rockets continue to hail around him. give him water. Almost frozen. but this was painful for Paul and nothing like what he expected. the other men in this troop have already had their first kill. lying there with the enemy. Paul feels his heart pounding. waiting for death. mercilessly still living. to his shock. He fetches water for himself and gives some to the dying man. He hears voices and recognizes what he believes is Kat. Images of Russian prisoners run through his head and he sweats. Hours pass and morning light comes. peppered with accompanying bullets. The bullets continue around him. a French soldier jumps into the shell hole in which Paul was crawling. Machine gun fire makes Paul conscious of keeping down. Paul drops to his knees.
. A shell crashes and Paul finds himself in the middle of a large bombardment. It takes hours. in part to reconnect with the Front he has been gone from for seven weeks now. Instinctively. A bomb lands near him. waiting. It's noon and Paul feels like his hunger is eating him. his whereabouts purposefully unknown. Paul is paralyzed in fear in the dark. He raises himself and begins to slowly pull himself out of the small shell hole he has been cowering in. The man is lying there with his hand on his chest – he tries to raise his head and Paul feels empathy for the man. ready to spring on him again. He clings to the earth like a monkey clinging to its mother or a tree. But the man is dying. Paul pulls out his dagger and.
though. who have come out with a stretcher to look for him. opens it. Tjaden. And Paul tells them that he doesn't understand what happened. Paul would give much to let this man stay alive. In the morning. Müller. Almost magically. his children. It is Kat and Albert. The day passes by and Paul calms down. They choose a concrete cellar to live in – it's well protected with concrete walls. things are quiet on the Front. They are given a green light to eat from the supply tent and barter whatever is in it. By about 3pm. what he can do now. Albert. they find two baby suckling pigs – they capture and kill them and make a hodgepodge. Paul begs forgiveness and offers twenty years off his life if the corpse will come to life. Paul breathes freely again. Albert tells him he did the right thing. Paul does not mention Gerard that night. his family. and learns about the man who has a wife and a little girl he will never see again. (Note that Paul doesn't plea to God here.145). but is worried that his own comrades will mistake him for the enemy and shoot him. And Paul learns the man he killed was a printer named Gerard Duval. His friends comfort him. and furnishings. I did not want to kill you *…+ you were only an idea to me before. they begin a mini industry of trade. Nobody replies.The dying man's every gasp tears through Paul's heart. who will never know how exactly her husband was killed. and sleeping. the man is finally dead. Using their supply stores. Paul crawls out of the shell hole in which he made his first kill and. he cannot hold it in any longer. Kat. but. by luck. He thinks about the man's wife. for the first time truly studies the man's face and all that is implied by his person. He knows he must creep back to camp. Paul's emotional state gets worse – he wants to know all about this man. sumptuous meal for all of them. He feeds himself and sleeps. It was that abstraction I stabbed. But now I see you are a man like me" (9. He calls out and there is silence. stabbing him with an invisible dagger. He takes the man's wallet. Paul sees something move in the wire that they laid previously.) Finally. He confesses to the corpse. floor beds. eating. Paul is exhausted and hungry and beginning to tremble with fear and fatigue. an abstraction *…+ that called forth its appropriate response. And calming down. "Comrade. Chapter 10 Paul believes he has been given a good job – guarding a supply dump that is not yet empty.
. Paul promises to write the man's wife. They are shocked that he is not wounded. and Detering are all there.
The narrator notes that the French do not fire on villages occupied by civilians – but as soon as the evacuation is done." The surgeon pokes in and around Paul's wounds and he feels himself wincing in pain. They hide out back in their concrete cellar and take five hours to eat the full meal. presumably by shrapnel.21).
Even guests come to the celebration. forcing the orderlies to hold his arms down. The shells have all but destroyed the supply depot. Paul grabs the other foodstuffs. Paul swears that
. The roast is finally cooked when the bombs reach their grounds and begin to hit the building. suddenly Albert cries out – he has been shot in the knee and falls in a ditch. 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. the men loaf around. throwing pig bones out the door. Albert says that if they have to amputate his leg. At that moment. Paul helps drag him away. and play. Unfortunately. 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). They bind each other's wounds – Paul was injured a bit. They crawl to a passing ambulance. That night. For almost three weeks. but not before Kat takes the suckling pigs with him. take a tetanus needle from a lieutenant. he will commit suicide. load up. The village is silent until it is evacuated. In the rain of those shells. and hope for a ticket home. and he is bleeding. that the cackling doctor will not have to chloroform him. Paul stops moving and promises to keep still. even if he has to "crack their skulls. The Saxon guests have stopped singing at the piano and the party has suddenly sobered up. they are sent to evacuate a village where children clinging to their mother's hands silently pass. fighting Albert's wishes to lie down and try and recover in the shell hole. Darkly. As they travel in the Front direction. the village is shelled heavily and brought to ruin. Paul reflects that "the town gradually vanishes under the shells and we lead a charmed life" (10. maybe blacking out. The surgeon finally announces that Paul will have to have chloroform. they are taken to surgery (which Paul calls "the chopping block"). the baby pig was not cooked deep enough and the men feel a war brewing inside their stomachs. eat. he won't go through life a cripple. A week later. bombs suddenly dropping closer and closer to them. He moves. they are given orders to go back to the Front. where they have uncovered a piano. smoke.
Paul finally must ring the bell for a night nurse/sister who does not come. Josef asks if they should perhaps smash another bottle. The train travels slowly and the dead are unloaded at each stop. Suddenly Paul fakes pain and the nun takes his temperature. and the men helpless as they wonder if the sister has fallen asleep. Paul squeezes hard on the grips until the surgeon finds and removes the shrapnel and throws it in a bucket. The sisters are praying loudly and this prayer keeps waking up the men. Paul cannot sleep – he needs to pee. but on the train back to the hospital they find "snow white linen" for their bedding. Paul realizes that he "can risk anything. though their nurse (who is a nun) tells them not to worry about it – they will wash the sheets after. Paul wants to stick with Albert and knows he will be let off in Cologne – Paul needs to look sicker than he is. They ask multiple times for them to close the door or pray more quietly. At Catholic Hospital." Eight men sit in a room recovering with Paul. Josef Hamacher speaks up before Paul can say anything and takes the blame for the bottle. in a day or two. Paul is given a bottle and. Finally Paul throws a bottle out the door toward the prayers (symbolism!) and it bursts into a thousand pieces. Hugely embarrassed. but finally the
. One sister says that prayer "is better than sleep" but the men aren't buying it. At night." In Josef's midst. The men are still muddy from the battlefield. and tells him he will be heading home. 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. he is used to the process of relieving himself this way. He squeezes the mercury to 101. The men regret not being able to bring the red leather chairs and other booty they found in the supply store they were guarding. Paul is shocked when the inspector just nods and departs.6 and gets to remain with Albert. The train to home base begins to move. they are in a large room together. the room is dark. puts in him a plaster cast. Josef explains that he has a shooting license – presumably he's a valuable sharpshooter – and so he is "untouchable. heading back to home base in the morning. along with everyone else in the cabin.
he will die before the surgeon will do such a thing. They ring again and nothing happens. A sister comes in and Albert tells her that Paul needs to go to the bathroom. The prayer stops and an inspector angrily asks who threw the bottle. One man is in very bad pain and calls out. They are weak from the surgery. He clambers out of bed – the top bunk – and crashes to the floor.
Tetanus and other infections take lives. Another man. The moved man's bed is re-occupied by another visitor who. And then another. ear. jaw wounds. Two new soldiers arrive – they have "flat feet" and the sadistic surgeon looks forward to operating on them.196). one of them also tries to kill himself as fast as he can. "Many a man has said that. he never comes through" (10. Two blind men are brought into the room. he is pushed back down and they explain that they are just taking him to the bandaging ward. ashen. as the man now looks close to death. double amputations. She binds him quickly and. 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. They accept the "club foot surgery" out of personal weakness against being able to just say no. himself.
door opens and she is surprised to see the man in such pain. intestines. Shockingly. gas cases. testicles. is taken away to the Dying Room a few days later. Gradually. "Here a man realizes for the first time in how many places a man can get hit" (10. Paul vomits two days after his operation. They return with bandaged feet. The sisters attend sporadically as Paul recovers. and neck wounds. nose. wounds in joints. Josef explains that The Dead or Dying Room is conveniently placed next to the morgue. Feebly. The Death Room is filling up with more dying wounded. Paul gets crutches and walks down rows. Once a man is in there. to The Dead Room where nobody seems to return from. a few men begin to stand. has a fever that spikes and they roll him toward the Dying Room. His bones are broken badly and won't grow together. Even Josef admits this is the first time he'd seen this happen. He swears to the other men in the room that he shall return… Josef intones that. so aggressively that the sisters won't feed him with a knife anywhere nearby. seeing spine and head wounds. Josef explains that they are science experiments for the surgeon that those operated on end up with club feet." Two young fellows are lectured by the surgeon long enough so that they give in. one day the door flies open and a healthy Peter returns to Paul's room – seemingly recovered. Albert is in bad shape after his leg is amputated.
. He swears suicide the first chance he gets. He notes that the man in pain is taken away. the sister attends often. asleep. a survivor of the Dead Room.209). Peter. He notes that. When he realizes where he is headed he tries to jump off the trolley.
and sick. Paul gets convalescent leave.33)." Morale has turned to misery and Paul talks of giving up hope soon. Müller is killed with a bullet in the stomach. Paul is sent to the base and then back to the Front – again.
. and more terribly now at this stage of the war. suffering 30 minutes in huge pain while highly conscious. The troop is emaciated. Their artillery is fired out and worn. After a few weeks of recovery. hits. he ran to shoot the dog. Paul attends physical therapy for his arm and leg. stealing a cherry blossom to take home. He details Detering's story – he went crazy. more violently and more urgently. He wanted to run and euthanize the suffering dog. and never heard from again. he handed Paul his affects. Berger is wounded dies in gruesome fashion. but the other men warned him not to as it's too dangerous. Paul tells of other deaths and injuries. their horses dead.The shattered bodies pile up. Berger didn't listen. starving. and was shot in the pelvis in the process. They bury him. was captured. how much damage each shell is now able to do to them versus what it was like a year ago. He was sympathetic to a messenger dog that was shot. dark. easier. He relates their low resources and frailties to that of "a polar expedition. as if sucking in every last second before the death that they know will come to them. 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. Chapter 11 Paul waxes about death coming faster. Paul waxes philosophically about how little he knows or feels beyond killing and being killed. court-martialed. Then he went AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave). "Germany ought to be empty soon. Before death. even in doctors to render fair. The medic that rescued him took a bullet in the cheek. Albert's amputated stump has healed well but he is silent. human appraisals of the human condition. Kat intones. Their front line is no longer "iron" – it is now elastic. His mother is much worse than when he saw her last time. The desperate clinging to life gets more intense – men eat faster. The men lose faith is lost in all authority figures. with many enemy able to slip through." Paul notes how fragile their army has become. 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.
Under enormous labor. "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. shooting at the enemy through the flames. In this sense. trying to comfort him – but then realizes that the wound is not so bad. the machine has won. death. as if in a kind of odd prayer.41). Tons of airplanes now dominate battle. clothing. influenza. starvation. every man knowing that Germany is losing the war. feeling their strength dwindle. He is sensing the demise of the war. For every German. They talk as they go.
The final stages of the war are symbolized by the newfound tank effort – "The attacking lines of the enemy infantry are men like ourselves. there are five American and British planes. Paul can't fathom not seeing him again if Kat is sent home from the war. "Summer of 1918. death." with various descriptive flowery language. the common grave – there are no other possibilities" (11. typhus – murder. They muse about reconvening during peacetime. of hope. blood dripping from Kat's wounds to the ground in front of Paul as he runs and sweats. Paul narrates. after a couple of minutes he collapses" (11. their caterpillars run on as endless as the war *…+ they roll without feeling" (11. setting Kat down. Trenches. and flotillas of tanks – shattering. Paul slings him over his shoulder and carries him for what seems to be miles. Paul repeats three times. now three years ago. guns all share the same mismatches. But the generals still push the men to fight. burning. The orderly looks at
. Dysentery. gas clouds. bravely fighting his way out of a trench. Commander Bertinck dies at the hands of flame-throwers. Paul's comment is "Shells. One day Kat falls. Paul panics.48). Paul anguishes at the notion of Kat being "taken from him. Even shot. wretched German are five American fresh faces. For every hungry. shot in the shin. of himself. Paul uses that fear to give him strength to carry Kat the rest of the way to the triage area.42-4). he continues to fire at them. They rest a few times along the way. Dehumanization is almost complete. but these tanks are machines. The hit flamethrower sinks and Bertinck's flames engulf him. what they could do together after the war." the crushing loneliness of that feeling. reflecting on past glories of goose-stealing and Paul's first newbie recruit wound. hope. Kat is light and Paul determines to carry him to safety. Food. He falls. Leer dies with a bullet to the chest and "like an emptying tube. hospitals.
as if now fully ready to face Death. 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.
Paul. Paul. He narrates. "Then I know nothing more. He has fourteen days' rest from swallowing gas and he is contemplative. For Paul and his friends.10). Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long. Peace talks never really happen. For our hero and narrator. panting. that he will be isolated and not understood. they bring me nothing more *…+ I am so alone. intoxication of deliverance" (12. The last paragraphs of the book are just a must-read: [Paul] fell in October 1918."
Chapter 12 Paul notes that not many old-timers are left. Kat was shot in the head and is dead. Paul stands slowly. there will be no glory. and says blankly. fighting for the losing team. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. to lose to it: "Let the months and years come. He is flooded by feelings – "greed of life. and so without hope that I can confront them without fear" (12. The orderly gives him Kat's things. on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front. Paul is confused – says that he has just been hit in the shin.87). almost nothing else exists. "That as well.4). time spent in the camps usually means finding and stealing some
. Paul can't feel his feet. 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. The orderly says. "You might have spared yourself that [effort]" (11. The setting in All Quiet on the Western Front is almost entirely in and around the battlefield of the war. his face had an expression of calm. though the sounds of war are always prevalent. The camps often involve a good deal more of comfort and ease. as though almost glad the end had come. In these camps the soldiers form rituals. love of home. He knows that if he and his fellow soldiers return home now." Paul steps backward and realizes that somewhere along the way on this last run. Paul and his compatriots move back and forth from camps to the front lines. his emotions seeming to fade away into the drivel of army regulations that categorize this death mechanically. He stands up bravely after this train of thought. yearning of the blood.
They cook a feast of suckling pig. greedy attendants.geese to roast or playing cards or chatting about the meaninglessness of this war. he finds a comfortable bed with real bedding. and everyone must look out for himself. just as they have to kill the enemy soldiers. The constant pounding of bombs can last for days. We also get to explore a number of hospital settings in this novel. Do you think this "paradise" is really a paradise. Here. They pull luxurious bedding and furniture from the empty houses in town and create a tiny but opulent paradise in their basement. Trench life is blood and mud and noise. 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. and they have the one thing that they love the most (food) in abundance. Crusty. moldy bread forms the only source of nutrition. and they are able to live off of the supplies they find. and coffee. cauliflower. carrots. This basement is the closest thing to a paradise or to a dream realized that the soldiers find. rum. and quiet. thundering in the soldiers' ears. books the likes of which he hasn't seen in months. Brazen. Sometimes. Trench life is abysmal. and comforting. Paul's home is heaven compared to trench life. The soldiers have to kill them. However. personal. they drink cognac. warm. They are not safe. Oh the rats. Each time we are excited for our protagonist to finally reach a safe place. the rats get so hungry that they attack the trenches by the hundreds. His old bedroom is quiet. It is not uncommon for soldiers to go mad. and each time we are disappointed by what he finds in these hospitals. or warm operations. or is there something a little strange about it? Would you consider this
. They are sent to guard a supply dump. and surgeons with odd fetishes. unfeeling orderlies. Paul finds similar things in each: incompetent nurses. and they smokes cigars and cigarettes. The most peaceful and vibrant setting is a makeshift home that Paul and his friends fashion out of a basement in an abandoned town. or a fancy Catholic hospital. peas. There. They tease one another and live in great comfort for a little while. Even the process of recovery becomes a dangerous game one has to play. a spotless train-hospital staffed by Red Cross nurses. And then there are the rats. assaulting all five senses. He visits home on leave and is sent home to convalesce. confined to these tiny dugouts while all hell breaks loose above them. Whether it's a make-shift hospital near the front lines. welcoming. and potato cakes. food (rationed though it may be). they are far from enemy lines. soft. and water is scarce. 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.
All Quiet on the Western Front sets out to portray war as it was actually experienced. Soldiers no longer pause to mourn fallen friends and comrades. one of its main focuses is the ruinous effect that war has on the soldiers who fight it. forcing soldiers to cope with primal. and its gruesome new technological advancements (e.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. machine guns. its battles that lasted for months. Paul. replacing the romantic picture of glory and heroism with a decidedly unromantic vision of fear. instinctive fear during every waking moment. honor. At the end of the novel. In Remarque’s view. to deal with the frequent. In many ways. Whereas war novels before All Quiet on the Western Front tended to romanticize what war was like. trenches) that made killing easier and more impersonal than ever before. 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. adequate clothing. patriotic duty. often in close proximity and in extremely violent fashion. epitomizing the war’s devastating effect on the generation of young men who were forced to fight it. The Effect of War on the Soldier Because All Quiet on the Western Front is set among soldiers fighting on the front. waterlogged ditches full of rats and decaying corpses and infested with lice. Additionally.g. sudden deaths of their close friends and comrades. as they could literally be blown to pieces at any moment. and butchery. when Kemmerich is on his deathbed. The only way for soldiers to survive is to disconnect themselves from their feelings. this emotional disconnection has a hugely destructive impact on a soldier’s humanity. for instance. becomes unable to imagine a future without the war and unable to remember how he felt in the past. moreover. They are forced. the most pressing question among his friends
. almost every major character is dead. These men are subject to constant physical danger. emphasizing ideas such as glory. and adventure. This intense physical threat also serves as an unceasing attack on the nerves. poison gas. the soldiers are forced to live in appalling conditions—in filthy. He also loses his ability to speak to his family. Remarque portrays the overall effect of these conditions as a crippling overload of panic and despair. 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. or sufficient medical care. suppressing their emotions and accepting the conditions of their lives.. They frequently go without food and sleep. at the beginning of the novel. which informs every scene in the novel. meaninglessness.
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. we are not related. we are nearer than lovers. He creeps over to Paul and buries his head in Paul's chest and arms. it brings Paul peace and reassurance. and Paul kindly. In Chapter 9. Even though Paul counts their losses at various points. however." As he watches Kat roasting the goose and hears his voice. These feelings are the only romanticized element of the novel and are virtually the only emotions that preserve the soldiers’ fundamental humanity. Among the living soldiers. battle and rest. this father. two minute sparks of life. he loses his nerve and his direction and is afraid he will die. these words that have saved me and will stand by me. this life — has been closer to Paul than his own blood relatives and yet Paul must say. these men hold each other up. This man. however. the pictures of camaraderie relieve the terrible descriptions of front line assaults and death. in scenes of battle and scenes of rest. he always considers their close relationship and attempts to keep them together to help each other. Man's Inhumanity to Man Paul and his friends become so inured to death and horror all around them
. We are two men." It is the final stunning blow before Paul must go on alone. horror and hopelessness. Comradeship Throughout all the horrifying pictures of death and inhumanity. A young recruit becomes gun-shy in his first battle when a rocket fires and explosions begin." There is a grace here. Instead. "We don't talk much. Paul has only Kat and he loses even this friend and father-figure in Chapter 11. this hero. tells him that he will get used to it (Chapter 4). a harder way. in the face of all sorrow and hopelessness. in a simpler.is who will inherit his boots. Remarque does scatter a redeeming quality: comradeship. we see the comradeship of this tiny group of men. Finally. As time goes by. I could bury my face in them in these voices. we laugh because he deserves it and they are only giving him his due. 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. Paul says. we all share the same fear and the same life. a grace that occurs when men realize their humanity and their reliance on others. There is such final irony in the medic's question about whether they are related. outside is the night and the circle of death. In Chapter 5. Over and over again. When Paul and his friends waylay Himmelstoss and beat on him. Through thick and thin. Kat's death is so overwhelming and so final that we do not hear Paul's reaction. when Paul is alone in the trench. Paul and Kat have captured a goose and are roasting it late at night. gently. he hears the voices of his friends: "I belong to them and they to me. and they provide a bright light in a place of such terrible darkness. Remarque portrays intense bonds of loyalty and friendship that spring up as a result of the shared experience of war. "No.
" Parts of naked bodies are hanging in trees. belch. they had to sweat out their normal time in school and then be unwillingly drafted. writes in A Part of Myself. "The heroic gestures of the volunteers was barred to Erich Maria Remarque and his age group." The smell of blood and putrefaction is overwhelming and causes many of Paul's company to be nauseated and retch. and harassed. a playwright and friend of Remarque. Carl Zuckmayer. the terrible consequences of weapons of mass destruction. and how soldiers become hardened to death and its onslaught of sensory perceptions during battle. They later pile the dead in a shell hole with "three layers so far. a great joke. and ties between the young soldiers solidified. It is a "forest of the dead. Their callousness is contrasted with the reaction of the new recruits who sob. for they had some inkling of the horrors that awaited them there. 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. The assault on the senses is overwhelming. and make movements. The gases in them make noises. drilled. hands suspended. Friendship The one element that retains its positive value in the novel is friendship between the comrades. A difference in generation developed." Brutality of war
. and give in to front-line madness described over and over again in scenes of the front. For us the brief training period was a strenuous but also an amusing transition. and Paul brutally describes pieces of arms here and half of a naked body there. much as if we were playing parts in a highly realistic military comedy. The man's body collapses.that the inhumanity and atrocities of war become part of everyday life. He describes the atrocities. Atrocities are simply a part of the inhumane business of war. tremble. They later come upon a scene with dead bodies whose bellies are swollen like balloons. This constant view of death causes the soldiers to fight back like insensible animals. In Chapter 6. Their mouths and noses are stuffed with sawdust so they suffocate. he sees a Frenchman who dies under German fire. Here is where Remarque is at his greatest: in his description of the true horror and paralyzing fear at the front. They use spades to cleave faces in two and jab bayonets into the backs of any enemy who is too slow to get away. Remarque vividly recounts the horror of constant death as Paul comes upon scenes of destruction. Paul and his men come across soldiers whose noses are cut off and eyes poked out with their own saw bayonets. and they went into the field without illusions." 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 hiss. In Chapter 6.
and tours a hospital of the wounded. very soon. Kemmrich. that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. his face had an expression of calm. Tajden. on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front. Quote He fell in October 1918. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long. while trying to survive in this brutal war. machine guns. The consequences of war are given due consideration--Paul watches friends die. the fighting will renew over whatever was gained or lost. more accurate artillery bombardment.Remarque writes in the epigraph that his book will describe the men who were "destroyed by the war. 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. airplanes. Included are two detailed chapters about fighting at the front and in the trenches (Chapters Four and Six)." and after that All Quiet on the Western Front is a nearly ceaseless exploration of the destructive properties of The Great War. sees dislocated body parts. shell-shock. Each time Paul counts the thinning ranks of his company. and poisonous gas. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Himmeltoss etc…+ Use’s “I” or “We” indicating First Person Narration Paul explains situations about his life experience. The reader is also introduced to all the new forms of assault World War I developed--tanks. 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. starvation.
. nerve attacks. as though almost glad the end had come. 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. Remarque smashes whatever romantic preconceptions the reader may have about combat in his descriptions of ratinfestation. we are reminded that all the fighting is only over a small piece of land--a few hundred yards or less--and that.
Nature Character vs. waiting on the scaffold. crushed. Humor "Then [the sergeant major] steams off with Himmelstoss in his wake. soft jelly-fish." "Over us Chance hovers." "All at once he remembers his school days and finishes hastily: 'He wants to leave the room. as though I held a couple of captive balloons in my fists. he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security. nerve-wracking roll behind the enemy lines. his mother. receives him again and often forever. lorries. and now we are melted down." "No longer do we lie helpless. when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire. I go quicker." "My arms have grown wings and I'm almost afraid of going up into the sky. and all bear the same stamp. sister.Conflicts
Main Literary Devices
Character vs." "Darknesses blacker than the night rush on us with giant strides. but what are they concentrating?" Antithesis "A man dreams of a miracle and wakes up to loaves of bread." "The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen." "It is as though formerly we were coins of different provinces. Self Character vs. she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live. over us and away." Repetition "Earth! — Earth! — Earth!" "Dawn approaches without anything happening — only the everlasting. we can destroy and kill. Character Character vs. torn to pieces. a jagged comb. to save ourselves." "The wood vanishes." "I recognize the characteristic outline of the Dolbenberg. it is pounded. springing up precipitously from the limits of the forests." Euphemism "At the same time he ventilates his backside. to run.'" Imagery "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. his brother. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully. ten seconds of life. to save ourselves and to be revenged. lorries. I run. then she is his only friend. trains." Simile "Like a big. trains." Personification "The wind plays with our hair. it plays with our words and thoughts." Parallel construction "My feet begin to move forward in my boots. [gas] floats into our shell-hole and lolls there
" ". it is at once heroic and banal — but who wants to do that?" break Aphorism "No soldier outlives a thousand chances.' that is merely his own opinion. it cuts clean through the thought. terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks — but it kills.obscenely." Rhetorical question "Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled?" "If one wants to appraise it. bury ourselves in thee. they are more than motherliness and more than fear." Metaphor "When Kat stands in front of the hut and says: 'There'll be a bombardment. . and listen for soft words which will come. thy redeemed ones. dark. these voices. . 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. . and through the long minutes in a mute agony of hope bite into thee with our lips!" "The evening benediction begins. with the iron bedsteads." "In the evening we are hauled on to the chopping-block. almost utterly carried away by the fury of the storm. they are the strongest. soft and near — am I crying?" Liturgical prose "Our being. most comforting things there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades. a dark meaning — 'There'll be a bombardment." "Ah! Mother. . the riders in their steel helmets resemble knights of a forgotten time. streams back through our hands from thee. then the sentence has the sharpness of a bayonet in the moonlight. musty platoon huts." "He had collapsed like a rotten tree." Apostrophe ". but if he says it here. a black insect is caught between them and tries to escape — the airman." "I don't know whether it is morning or evening.'" "Immediately a second [searchlight] is beside him. and we." "The guns and the wagons float past the dim background of the moonlit landscape. it thrusts nearer and speaks to this unknown thing that is awakened in us." Hyperbole "They are more to me than life. and look like a kind of military Feast of the Tabernacles. the chequered bedding. the lockers and the stools! Even you can become the object of desire. it is strangely beautiful and arresting. if a
. I lie in the pale cradle of the twilight.
against whom?" "Pen-holders.' she chirps but shuts the door all the same. a shell as a paper-weight. . ." ". . the ink-well — here nothing is changed. . and pine. and the forest. our dead comrades beside us. smash through the johnnies and then there will be peace. and so we shall march. ." "They have taken us farther back than usual to a field depot so that we can be re-organized. . . the years out here shall come back again." "'Heathen." Foreshadowing "'I can sleep enough later. I look right and left." "Thirty-two men. Her face is a white gleam in the darkness." "And the war would be over and done in a day." ".' she says." Onomatopoeia "The man gurgles. our heads shall be clear. and our dead comrades shall then stand up again and march with us.' "I have killed the printer. the weeks." Cause and effect "Our faces are neither paler nor more flushed than usual." Doggerel "Give 'em all the same grub and all the same pay." "Life is short." Caesura "It is all a matter of habit — even the front-line. . the water is as full of weeds as ever. They still smell of resin." Short utterances "It is not fear. the year at the Front behind us — against whom." "I pass over the bridge." "The days." Appositive "Thus momentarily we have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and rest." Alliteration "The satisfaction of months shines in his dull pig's eyes as he spits out: 'Dirty
." Symbolism "The national feeling of the tommy resolves itself into this — here he is. . we shall have a purpose.man thinks about it. unpolished. brand-new coffins. Gérard Duval. which lies there already made up because I have to leave early in the morning." Irony "The shells begin to hiss like safety-valves — heavy fire — . . they are not more tense nor more flabby — and yet they are changed. a high double wall of yellow." "On the landing I stumble over my pack.
The boots also symbolize the necessary pragmatism that a soldier must have. rather. Müller immediately begins maneuvering to receive the boots. 2." Slang "And now get on with it. Using
. Paul brings them to Müller after Kemmerich dies and inherits them himself when Müller is shot to death later in the novel. you old blubber-sticker. and can smell what is coming. one must block out grief and despair like a machine. Discuss Remarque's use of nature throughout the novel. Kemmerich’s high. using examples when possible. for Kat is an old front-hog. and in the night shattered life groans painfully into silence." "Outside the window the wind blows and the chestnut trees rustle. out of the confusion of grey and yellow the hail of splinters whips forth the child-like cries of the wounded. One cannot yield to one’s emotions amid the devastation of the war. supple boots are passed from soldier to soldier as each owner dies in sequence. and don't you miscount either. A good pair of boots is more valuable—and more durable—than a human life. They comfort me: it looks as though there were little windows in dark village cottages saying that behind them are rooms full of peace. In this way. of course." "You get off scot free.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. which is bad. Critical Approach Essential Questions
1. and as Kemmerich lies on his own deathbed. This World War I novel is a story of powerful bonding among men." Cacophony "But first you have to give the Froggies a good hiding." "The storm lashes us." "Kat has lost all his fun since we have been here. Remarque's novel presents nature in many moods and for many purposes. The question of who will inherit them continually overshadows their owners’ deaths. but one important symbol in the novel is Kemmerich’s boots. Kemmerich himself took them from the corpse of a dead airman." Symbolism Kemmerich’s Boots All Quiet on the Western Front doesn’t employ a great deal of symbolism." "That cooked his goose. the boots represent the cheapness of human life in the war.
Paul and his friends are constantly occupied with the search for food.examples from the book. explain his use of irony in the novel. explain how Remarque develops his idea of comradeship in the face of battle. 8. 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. http://www. From the very title of the novel through the grim ending.html http://www.cliffsnotes. shelter. 5. Using several examples from the myriad choices.shmoop. Remarque uses irony.com/all-quiet-on-western-front/narrator-point-of-view. and the creature comforts.com/lit/allquiet/ http://www. Study the few places where women enter Remarque's novel. 6. particularly in comparing the battlefield with nature. The progress of the war can be seen though the author's descriptions of the few comforts of the front. Using specific examples from the novel. What role do they play in his book? 4.sparknotes.com/study_guide/literature/all-quiet-on-the-western-front/booksummary. How can the reader follow the progress of the war through their search? 7. 3. show how Remarque's descriptions of life at the front seem to reduce humans to animals. Discuss Remarque's extensive use of simile.html