“All Quiet on the Western Front” was written in a first person style. The story was told by Paul Bamer, a nineteen year old student, convinced to enlist with the German army by his schoolmaster, Kantorek. Along with many of his friends from school, he is trained under Corporal Himmelstoss, a strictly disciplined commander who dislikes Paul because of his “defiance.”
When sent to the front, Paul, along with his other friends, made new friendships that would last throughout time . His newly made friend/commander, was a man named Stanislaus Katczinsky . As a man of forty years of age he was an wise old man as well as a friend to the young eighteen and nineteen year old recruits .
After visiting the front for long stretches Paul is given fourteen days of leave where he can visit his ill mother at his own home . After this leave he is sent back to training and then back to the front . His trip is lengthened when he discovers that his unit has been reassigned to another area . Finding his unit, he reunites with his friends and joins up with them again in the war efforts.
While searching in “no man’s land,” Paul is confined to a shell hole for a long night . During this night a French soldier falls in the hole and Paul stabs him . The hours to come are very hard for Paul as he comforts and waits for the Frenchman to die.
Paul’s group has a stroke of luck when they were assigned to defend a village . Since no inhabitants were left they were able to go through the houses to take and use whatever they wanted . This luck, however, did not last forever. One day the French came and began shelling the village . While evacuating Paul and his friend Albert Kropp were injured by gunshot wounds . They were bandaged up and sent on a train back home .
This ride home took a turn . When Kropp got a fever he was scheduled to be dropped off at the next stop . In order for Paul to stay with his friend, he had to convince the nurse that he also was sick from infection . After being dropped off they were taken to a Catholic hospital to be treated . After a few weeks Kropp’s leg is overcome with infection and is amputated at the thigh . After a few more weeks Paul and Kropp parted, Paul going back to the war and Kropp going home.
Returning to the front was hard for Paul . The days were getting cold and one by one he watched his friends die . The hardest loss was that of Kat . After Kat had been shot, Paul had to carry Kat to the nearest dressing station a few miles away . Stopping every few minutes to rest, Paul frequently checked to make sure that Kat, even with his injury, was ok . When at last Paul reached the dressing station the nurse told him that Kat was dead . When Paul checked again a small shell fragment had just penetrated that back of Kat’s head . He was still even warm. Kat was the last of Paul’s friends to die in the war . Then, in October of 1918, Paul finally fell . The book describes his death as, “his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.” The war ended the next month.
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