All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 3

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moved from his bed so some patient that is currently lying on the floor can be put in his place. Kemmerich’s death emotionally affects Baumer, and his emotions draw the reader closer to him. First, the death intensifies his thoughts about the wastefulness of war; a nineteen-year-old friend lies dead for no valid reason. It also makes Baumer hunger for life himself; he wants to fight to go on living. Finally, it makes him blame the entire world for the soldier’s death. He thinks that everyone should be “forced to pass Kemmerich’s death-bed to pay homage and to redeem themselves.” Chapter 3 Baumer and his friends swagger like veterans as new recruits arrive. Katczinsky tells one of them that he is lucky to receive bread with turnips to eat rather than sawdust. Kat then

produces a stew of beef and haricot beans for himself. He is a resourceful young man and a good organizer. No matter where he is, he always manages to find food and supplies, feats that always amaze his friends. As he watches a fight between a German and an Allied plane, Kat muses aloud that if all the men were given the same salaries and food, the war between Germany and the Allies would be over, for the leaders would want to go home. Kropp remarks that the ministers and generals of the two countries should be armed with clubs and sent into an arena to fight it out. The survivor would be declared the winner of the war. Kropp comments that the more insignificant the person is in civilian life, the more bull headed he becomes as an officer in the army. Himmelstoss is used as an

example; before the war, he was a lowly mailman. His small bit of military power has gone to his head. Tjaden announces that Himmelstoss has arrived at the front. The friends remember one dark night when they caught Himmelstoss, wrapped a blanket over his head, and beat him mercilessly; they were never caught or discovered. All the other soldiers in camp thought that they were heroes and praised their action. Notes Two key ideas are developed in this chapter: the importance of comradeship and the stupidity of war. The chapter begins as new recruits arrive in camp. Baumer and his friends act like veterans and tease the newcomers. Kat even taunts one of them with beef and bean stew. Somehow this resourceful soldier is always able to find extra food and supplies to share with his

friends. The comradeship is also seen as the friends reminisce about the time they paid back their drillmaster, Himmelstoss, for all the cruelty he had inflicted. They caught him on a dark road, threw a blanket over him so they would not be seen, and then beat him up. Back in the barracks, they were welcomed as heroes. The friends then discuss the stupid futility of war. They feel that the fighting is caused by greed for more land; dirt, then, becomes more important than human life. Kropp contends that fighting turns all men into beasts and claims that the less important a man was in civilian life, the more power-hungry and self-impressed he becomes in war. He also suggests that generals from both sides should be put in an arena with clubs to fight it out, instead of playing mind

games with each other. The winner of this physical contest would be the winner of the war. It is important to notice that, like Chapter 1, this is a relatively light chapter that actually includes a bit of humor. It serves as a bridge between the pain of Kimmerich’s death in the last chapter and the deaths that are to come. In fact the first three chapters really serve as a mild introduction to the death and destruction of war. The next chapter will plunge right into the battle. Chapter 4 One dark night, Baumer’s unit is assigned the task of laying barbed wire at the frontline, putting them into grave danger. As they approach their position, there is a dense smell of smoke and the sound of artillery. Tense with fear, they all know that death is close at hand and can claim

anybody at any moment; they all grow alert and watchful. After placing the barbed wire, the soldiers try to rest, but they are soon awakened by the sounds of terrible shelling. They listen to the painful moans of horses that are wounded. They watch the rescue operations as the wounded men are nursed and the injured horses are shot. When the shelling starts again, Baumer is pelted with splinters and shrapnel, but is not seriously hurt. He manages to slowly crawl into a shell hole in a graveyard, where he encounters a coffin and a corpse; however, he cannot leave the hole, for a gas attack has begun. As the shelling continues, more and more corpses are thrown out of their coffins and into the graveyard, and more soldiers are wounded or killed. The new recruit with whom Kat had