All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 6

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taunting his former teacher; for revenge, he makes Kantorek do many menial tasks. At the end of his leave, Baumer concludes that his time off and away from the war has made matters worse for him. He is now worried about his dying mother, saddened over the realization that he has lost his youth, and concerned over the fact that he longer fits within the family or his small hometown. When he first arrived at home, he felt he was simply indifferent to life; now he feels miserable. Notes Like Chapters 1, 3, and 5, this one again gives a picture of life away from the battlefield and serves as a bridge between two very negative chapters. The description of calm domestic life in a small German town is a stark and intentional contrast to the horrors of war described in the previous

chapter. Baumer finds that he no longer fits into his family or his small hometown. He worries about his aging mother, who is dying of cancer, and laments over the fact that he has lost his own youth to the war. He grows bitter when he hears both children and adults, who are oblivious to the horrors of fighting, speak of war as if it were a game. He is also saddened to realize that his old interests no longer have any appeal to him, making him feel more lost and isolated than ever. Baumer thinks that cominghome may have been a mistake. Baumer’s sensitive side is seen several times in the chapter. When he meets and enjoys the French girls, he suddenly realizes that the enemy is not just a faceless being; he is amazed to learn that the enemy can be a young person, just like

himself, who is eager to live and enjoy life. Again his compassion and character is depicted as he lies to Kemmerich’s mother; he spares her from the details of her son’s death, telling her that the young soldier died instantaneously without pain. Chapter 8 After his leave is over, Baumer is sent to a training camp near his hometown. His days are occupied by a routine company drill. He spends his evenings in the soldiers’ retreat, where he can play the piano. The ambience of this relaxed setting is another stark contrast to the war front, and for the moment the fighting seems far away. Baumer, however, misses his comrades and makes no attempt to find new friends. Because of his proximity, his father and sister visit him occasionally, helping to break his routine. They tell

him that his mother is in the hospital and will soon undergo an operation for her canter. Next door to the training camp, there is a Russian prisoner-of- war camp; Baumer observes its inhabitants daily and again realizes that the enemy is made up of ordinary people. Most of the prisoners, however, appear to be dying from starvation. They search for scraps of food in the garbage and sell their trinkets to the German peasants to buy food. Baumer laments that they are his enemies by decree; when his family brings him food, he always shares it with the prisoners. Baumer also complains that war has legalized mass murder and hatred amongst men. He feels an urge to crusade against war and to spread the truth about its brutality and futility. Notes Once again this chapter emphasizes a

contrast between living and dying. Baumer has been sent to a raining camp, where he is taught new drills and given some freedoms. Located next door is a prisoner of war camp for captured Russians. The prisoners, who are mistreated and starved, appear to be close to death. Baumer’s heart goes out to them, and he even shares his food with these ravaged strangers. He realizes that they are just ordinary people like himself. The more that Baumer realizes the enemy is not a faceless being, but a real human, the more he wants to crusade against war; he believes he will do so after the fighting is over. This planning for the future reveals that Baumer still has hope that he will survive the war. Chapter 9 When Baumer returns to his unit, he finds that they have been assigned to the

area of the Western Front where fighting is the heaviest. In spite of this news, he is happy to be reunited with his friends; for the moment, he feels rejuvenated and whole again. His contentment will not last for long. Soon there is a lot of excitement, for the Kaiser is coming for an inspection of the unit. New uniforms are issued, and everything is cleaned and polished. When the Kaiser arrives, Baumer is disappointed to see that he is a short man with a thin voice; he also resents that the Kaiser claims that war is necessary. Baumer thinks that war is wrong; both sides claim they have a just cause, but neither really does. Baumer’s company is sent to the front. During the fighting, Baumer is pinned in a shell hole and separated from his friends, causing him to panic. As