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Complete Summary of All Quiet on the Western Front

Complete Summary of All Quiet on the Western Front

In what ways did Paul Baumer’s participation in the First World War change him as a person?

Franz Kemmerich was Paul’s first classmate to die in the war. His death shattered Paul’s belief in authority. He admits to himself that he trusted and listened to them. They were supposed to have greater insight and wisdom yet they were the ones who had encouraged the boys to enlist instead of protecting them from the horrors of war.

The 10 weeks of army training before going to the front had more profound influence on Paul than 10 years of school ever did. And after the 10 weeks, Paul could no longer recall his early life as a student-as if it no longer existed-what he once thought was important.

His emotions went through stages: first was astonishment, then he became embittered and finally what emerged was indifference. All eagerness and enthusiasm was knocked out of them, the soldiers. “We were trained for heroism’s as though we were circus ponies.” But he points out that without this training, they would have gone insane in the trenches. Paul explains, in chapter 6 how indifferent their attitudes became because the chance of getting hit was just that-a matter of chance, of being alive or dead.

Paul eventually gets 6 weeks leave only to come home and find himself a stranger in his own home. Questions from his father, his teachers, make him realize they know nothing of war, which surprises him. They all have an opinion they’d like to share and he has conflicting emotions of envy and despair. He can see that he has changed, his innocence is lost. He sits in his room hoping for familiarity and emotion to return as before but it doesn’t.

When he goes to Kemmerich’s mother, he swears to all that is sacred that Franz died instantly, not that it was true but what is sacred changes for Paul. So after saying goodbye to his sick mother, he wished he had never come home because feeling indifference was better than how he felt when he left.

What were the horrors of war, which Paul experienced?

In chapter1 Paul and his friends had a windfall of double food and cigarette rations due to high casualty of German soldiers. Out...

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