Dramatizing only one enemy soldier by name and personality, Remarque concentrates on enemy fire as though it were a faceless, demonic machine, churning relentlessly through lines of men, flattening them in foxholes, skewering them with lethal projectiles from machine guns, rifles, grenades, and flamethrowers, and anonymously searing their lungs with gas. A far cry from the romanticized chivalric hero of Arthurian legends, the inexperienced young soldier, lacking epic stature, epitomizes a humanity that demands an end to international conflict acted out with heinous killing machines. As Paul concludes, the level to which he and his comrades are reduced reminds him of Bushmen, the primitive forebears of the human race who should long before have educated future generations on the futility of war. In Paul's only face-to-face confrontation with the enemy, he rises above savagery through first-hand
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