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All Quiet on the Western Front 1.Paul Baumer and his companions who are fighting in the trenches have obviously had their past selves devastated. Even from the beginning of the book, with the death of Kemmerich1, the reader can see that these men no longer feel the same way that they would have in peacetime. Paul has known Kemmerich almost his entire life2, and most would assume that under normal circumstances Paul would be crying at the loss of such a good friend. After his time in the trenches on the frontline, Paul is no longer the same person. His friend’s death no longer holds as much sway with him, after seeing so much death. The lack of feelings from Kemmerich’s deathcan also be seen in the rest of the squad. When they should be comforting their dying friend, Muller instead tries to acquire airman’s boots from his dying comrade, paying no mind to the fact that he is injured3. Worse still is that the rest of the squad feels the same, but have the tact to stay quiet for their dying friend4. These young men have been through so much that is no wonder that they have changed. Day after day of being shot at, being bombarded, watching friends and countrymen die in the worst possible ways. These men went into a war that everyone on Earth thought would be over in a few short months, and only Paul made it through the four years of war, a man who no longer knows hope, a broken man 1Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on The Western Front(Little, Brown and Company) 32. 2Remarque, Western Front, 30. 3Remarque, Western Front, 16. 4Remarque, Western Front, 16.
who will no longer be able to find his way, a man who dies knowing all of this5. You almost feel the last hope that Paul held on to flee him when he learns of Kat’s death6. After fighting side by side with this man for four years, as well as carrying him wounded back to a medical tent, Kat is Paul’s last friend. This flight back to a medical tent is so