All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 2

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All of them have been in the midst of battle on the Western Front and have seen the horror and devastation caused by the fighting. One of their former classmates, Josef Behm, has already been killed; they partially blame Kantorek for his death as well. The only thing that makes the war tolerable is the bond of friendship that Kropp, Leer, Kemmerich, and Baumer have with one another; in fact, Baumer constantly uses the pronoun “we,” depicting the close bond he feels with the others. When he speaks, it is as if he were speaking for the whole group: “we are satisfied” or “we cannot blame.” Although the story is told from the German point of view by a young German soldier, it is really not a novel about the German war effort. Remarque simply uses the German front line as

the setting of the book because he knows about it from first hand experience. In truth, the book is meant to point out the horror, death, and destruction caused by war and its attendant effect on human beings, no matter their nationality; already these young men have aged prematurely, lost their modesty, and become immune to death, pain, and true emotion. Baumer’s bitterness over his war experience is no different than for any young soldier who has dreamed of war as a glorious experience. In addition to giving an insight into the wastefulness of war and into the degeneration of the young soldiers, this chapter points out the hardships that military men must endure during wartime. While fighting on the front lines, there is little time for anything but battle, and there is

little food to eat. The only thing that keeps the young soldiers going is the comradeship they feel with one another. As they are killed, one by one, the mood sinks ever deeper into gloom, loss, isolation, and destruction. Chapter 2 Baumer reminisces about his past life as a student, when he used to have time to write poetry. He realizes that his ten years of schooling have taught him less than ten weeks as a soldier. War has quickly taught him that only the fittest survive. Baumer also thinks about his parents, remembering the vague, but amiable, relationship he had with them. Because of the war, he feels like he now has nothing. His relationship with his parents has weakened further, and he has no time for girlfriends or fun. He feels totally isolated and empty. Baumer thinks

about Muller’s callousness in asking for Kemmerich’s boots when the man was close to death. He wants to believe that Muller was being logical rather than insensitive. Baumer also thinks about his drillmaster, Corporal Himmelstoss, and calls him a bully and a sadist; Baumer thinks the man derives great pleasure from mistreating the young recruits. Kropp, Muller, Kemmerich, and Baumer were all assigned to him because they were a tough, defiant lot, and Himmelstoss was capable of handling them. Although he can inflict punishment on them, the Corporal is never able to break their spirits. It become obvious that Kemmerich is dying. He grieves over his unfulfilled dreams of being a head-forester. Baumer tries to comfort this man, who has been his friend since childhood. When

Kemmerich is close to death, Baumer searches for a doctor to help him. The doctor refuses to come, saying he has already amputated five legs that day. When Baumer returns to Kemmerich’s bed, the young soldier is already dead. Almost immediately he is removed from the bed to make way for those patients who are on the floor. Baumer suddenly realizes how precious life is. Notes The mood in this chapter grows more dark and gloomy as images of the wastage and desolation of war are given. Also the chapter more fully develops Baumer’s character. It is obvious that he is a gentle, compassionate, and humane soul and intellectually superior to the rest of his friends. He is also a very honest person and tries to present everything as factually as possible. Baumer again admits his

misery in this chapter. Cut off from his parents, girlfriends, and fun, he feels totally empty and isolated. His only pleasure is the bond that he has with his soldier friends, and he tries to think the best of them. He justifies Muller’s insensitivity as logical thinking and stays by Kemmerich’s bedside as the young man approaches death. This chapter also provides new insights on how most of the men in the war have become immune to sensitive feelings. This is seen in the case of the doctor who refuses to attend to Kemmerich because he is too tired after amputating five legs. It is also seen in the fact that only Baumer is by Kemmerich’s side as he is dying. The chapter also reveals more of the horrible conditions that accompany a war. After Kemmerich is dead, he is quickly