All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 8

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and grim; the Doctors are cruel and treat the patients as guinea pigs. Every type of injury imaginable can be seen in the wards. A wartime hospital quickly exposes the brutality of battle. Chapter 11 The German army begins to collapse; it cannot stand up against the replenished supplies and troops given by the United States to the Allieds. The remaining German soldiers are so weary of the war that they function without thought or feeling, almost like automatons; they feel the only way they will leave the fighting is to be dead or hospitalized. Most of Baumer’s comrades, including Muller, Leer, and Bertnick, have already been killed. One day Detering, one of Baumer’s few remaining friends, sees a cherry tree in full blossom. The sight causes him to think about his farm and his

family; longing to return to his home, Detering deserts the infantry; however, he is quickly caught and court- martialed. During a battle, Kat is hit in the leg by a bullet. Baumer puts his injured friend on his back to carry him to the nearest medical station. On the way, Kat is hit again, this time in the head. When Baumer arrives at the station, Kat is already dead. The loss of his best friend is a devastating blow for Baumer. Notes Things are going badly for the Germans. American reinforcements of soldiers and supplies are taking their toll on the forces of the Central Powers. Many German infantrymen have been killed, and those remaining are too weary of battle to fight well or intelligently. Baumer himself has a very negative attitude, feeling tired, depressed, isolated, and

lost. It is a preparation for his death in the final chapter. Throughout the war, Baumer has been completely dependent on his friends for pleasure and emotional security; but the war has taken them away one by one. The leather boots, a recurring image throughout the novel, have become the symbol of passing friendship. Originally Kemmerich got the boots from an unnamed airman. When Kemmerich dies, the boots pass to Muller and then on to Baumer. He has promised them to Tjaden if something should happen to him. As he thinks about his many losses in the war, Baumer begins to believe that the only way to emerge from the fighting is in a coffin or through a hospital. His friend Detering literally throws in the towel. When he sees a blossoming cherry tree, a symbol of rebirth and new

beginnings, it reminds him of his farm and family. As a result, he decides to choose life over death. He deserts the infantry and heads for home; however, he is quickly caught and punished. At the end of the chapter, Baumer is again in the trenches with his remaining friends. Suddenly Kat is hit by a bullet. Baumer attempts to carry him on his back to get medical attention. Along the way, Kat is hit again and dies. The death of Kat, who has been has best friend, completely destroys Baumer; he now has no one or nothing to turn to. Chapter 12 By autumn of 1918, Baumer is the only one of the six classmates still alive. He is amazed that he has lasted so long, when all of them have perished; he is also amazed to hear talk of peace. As the chapter begins, Baumer has been given a

two-week period of rest because he has been sick with gas poisoning. He uses this time to reflect on his wartime losses and lament the pitiful condition of this generation that has lost hope and spirit; he worries about his own future. In the last two paragraphs of the novel, the point of view is changed from Baumer’s first person to third person. Contained in the paragraphs is an epitaph written for Baumer, who was killed only one month before the Armistice. Ironically, on the day of his death, “all was quiet on the Western Front.” Notes The last chapter is filled with irony. Although there is talk of peace, Baumer cannot feel hopeful. He has been granted a rest because of gas poisoning and uses the time to reflect on the fact that he is the only one of his classmates who

has survived the war; but he worries about his own future and the future of his generation, which has been stripped of hope and spirit by the devastation of the war. With bitter irony, Baumer is killed one month before the armistice. His physical death is not actually described, for it is anti-climatic; the real death for Baumer came with the departure of his friends. Each time he lost one of them to the war, a little of Baumer would also be lost; then when he lost his last and best friend, Kat, it was almost more than Baumer could bear. As a result, his death is almost a relief. In dying Baumer will be permanently re-united with his friends. Perhaps that is why Remarque chose the day of his death to be “All Quiet on the Western Front;” it is not a frightening and brutal end