All Quiet demonstrates a controlled use of symbols

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All Quiet  demonstrates a controlled use of symbols, which guide the reader's thinking toward  significant themes of loss and longing. Most prominent are the soft airman's boots, which pass from man to man after each wearer  succumbs to a violent death. Worn by Kemmerich before his injury, they were undoubtedly stripped  from a downed British airman before changing hands, which they do twice more as successive  owners die. In all, four men possess the boots; none survives the war. In graphic scenes, Russian  prisoners exchange their boots for crusts of bread; dismembered bodies lose not only boots, but the  feet and legs they cover. Others, like Albert, have their limbs surgically removed, then fitted with  artificial limbs, which mock the propriety of a whole body, undefiled by war.
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  • Fall '08
  • staff
  • downed British airman, ominous observation balloons, gratefully accepts potato­cakes, violence human warriors, Red Cross sister

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