Detached from home and the normal ambitions and concerns of a man of twenty, Paul ponders a play and some verse he left in his desk and realizes that his generation has "become a waste land." He thinks about Müller's pragmatic request for the boots, which Kemmerich will obviously never need again. Paul recalls how his group of twenty classmates, their plans for the future still in the formative stages, enlisted with the district commandant. After three weeks of basic training, their caustic victimizing by their drill instructor, Himmelstoss, deflates any romance the military ever held for them. Under Himmelstoss, they tolerate demeaning harassment, such as remaking beds, sweeping snow, softening stiff boot leather, performing guard duty on consecutive Sundays, and crawling on their bellies in mud. Paul and Albert, who usually bear the brunt of Himmelstoss' ill humor, challenge his
This is the end of the preview.
access the rest of the document.
basic training, stiff boot leather, friend dead. Paul