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Summary and Analysis of All Quiet on the Western Front

Summary and Analysis of All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is about the German warfront during World War I. The story of the battle is narrated by Paul Baumer, a young soldier in the German army. He and his school friends have been urged to enlist in the fighting by Kantorek.

The story is set on the front lines where Baumer and his friends are fighting for survival. When the book opens, one of their mates, Josef Behm, has already been killed. Another of the group, Kemmerich, has had his leg amputated. He never fully recovers from the amputation and soon dies. His leather boots, which were envied by all, pass on to Muller.

As a result of the tragedies and deaths that they see all around them, Baumer and his friends are completely disillusioned by the war, even though they had all eagerly enlisted. Now they believe that war is a big waste and question whether there is a just cause for the fighting. They have also realized that it is the ordinary people, the little guys not the generals or captains, who actually fight the war and suffers the devastation. They fear for their own lives. One night during basic training, they took out their frustrations by beating up Corporal Himmelstoss, their drillmaster and a true bully.

Of all his soldier friends, Kat is the most resourceful. He is always trying to locate food, find easy jobs, and gather supplies for the group. Baumer thinks of him as his best friend; but even this closeness does not lessen the horror of the war. Baumer's troop is often bombarded, and Baumer constantly sees death and destruction all around him. He feels relieved in the fall when he and his friends are allowed to leave the front and take a rest in the rear. Baumer is even granted a leave to go home.

When Baumer goes home, he realizes he is a changed man. He feels totally lost when he puts on civilian clothes; he finds he has no interest in the things that previously entertained him. He cannot even relate to his family and resents that everybody in his small hometown acts as if the war were a game or a wonderful thing. He wishes that they understood the true horrors of fighting.

Baumer meets some...

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Category:   All Quiet on the Western Front

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