All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 7

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enemy troops pass by, he lies face down, pretending to be dead. A French soldier jumps into the hole with him. In panic, Baumer stabs him. Immediately remorseful for his actions, he tries to bandage the young soldier and give him water. In spite of Baumer’s efforts, the soldier, Gerald Duval, dies. He learns that the dead French soldier was a printer with a wife and child. Baumer resents the fact that he has been reduced to the bestiality of murdering a fellow human being. He also resents that the war seems to be fought to satisfy the whims of people in higher authority, like the Kaiser. He again vows to crusade against war in the future. After dark, Baumer emerges from his hole and returns to his unit. The next day he tells Kat and Kropp about Gerald Duval. They try to comfort

him and tell him that he has done the right thing. Baumer tries to calm his own conscience and justify the murder by saying, “War is war.” Notes Baumer is happy to be reunited with his soldier friends; they are the only people to whom he can now relate. He can talk about his feelings with them, and they always understand. When he is separated from them on the battlefield, Baumer panics; but he gains enough self-control to save himself from the enemy troops that are passing by. He lies face down in a shell hole and pretends that he is dead. Unfortunately, a French soldier, Gerald Duval, jumps into the shell hole with him. In total panic about the presence of the enemy, Baumer stabs him. Immediately regretting his action, he tries to bandage Duval’s wounds, but he dies

anyway. Baumer feels miserable that the war has reduced him to a murderer; he begs for forgiveness from the dead soldier, saying, “Forgive me, comrade, how could you be my enemy?” Suddenly the enemy has become very personal to Baumer, no more a nameless, faceless being. Chapter 10 Baumer’s unit is sent to guard a supply depot located in an abandoned village. It is an easy assignment with abundant food and supplies. Baumer and his friends relax for three weeks before the fighting begins again. Kropp and Baumer are wounded when they are trying to evacuate a village. They are taken to a makeshift hospital and roughly examined. Baumer’s wounds are minor, but Kropp is more seriously hurt. Both men, however, want to escape and find their friends. By bribing the sergeant major

with cigars, Kropp and Baumer are able to get on a hospital train headed for the rear lines. During the journey, Kropp suffers from a high fever; fearful that they will be separated because of Kropp’s condition, Baumer pretends that he too has a fever. When the train stops, both men are placed in the same hospital. There they meet Josef Hammacher, who is proud to have a “shooting license;” this certificate states that Josef cannot be held responsible for his actions, for he is a deranged man. All the soldiers in the hospital are close to death. Baumer watches as Franz Wachter dies of a septic wound. Then he learns that Kropp’s leg has been amputated; he is to be sent to an institute for artificial limbs. Baumer must also have surgery, for his bones are not healing as

expected. After he recuperates, Baumer is given a short leave before he must return to the front. Notes This chapter again serves as a contrast between living and dying. Baumer’s unit has been given the easy assignment of guarding a supply depot. For three weeks, he and his friends enjoy abundant food and supplies. It almost feels like civilian life. Always close by to these scenes of life, the war wages on. It soon catches up with Baumer and his friends. During the shelling, they try to evacuate a nearby village. Kropp and Baumer, however, are hit. Kropp has some serious wounds; Baumer’s are more minor. Baumer’s intelligence and compassion are again seen in this chapter. When Kropp runs a high fever on the train, Baumer pretends to have one as well; he heats up a

thermometer to make the medical staff think he is seriously hurt, like Kropp. Baumer is determined not to be separated from his friend. The trick works and both soldiers are placed in the hospital together. Kropp’s leg is amputated, and Baumer undergoes surgery. While he is in the hospital, Baumer reflects on his war experiences. He again questions why war is waged. He also wonders what will happen to his generation after suffering the trauma of death and desolation caused by the war. He knows that he will never again be the same man; he will be haunted throughout his life by the brutality and loss he has seen. During the chapter, Remarque gives a vivid description of the badly wounded patients and the substandard conditions of the hospital. The atmosphere is desolate, cold,