Womenin the novel represent peace, gentleness, and nurturing, as well as sexual release. The girl in the poster inspires a nostalgic urge for peacetime in Paul and, for two of his comrades, she rouses them to masturbation. At the same time, the vision of her fresh good looks emphasizes Paul's scruffy clothes and infestation with lice. The brunette, who pragmatically exchanges sex for food and cigarettes, holds him close, allowing intimacy as a means of staying alive. His hometown looks so inviting that he compares it to a mother. Before reaching his front door, he rejects the offer of coffee from a smiling Red Cross sister, then gratefully accepts potato-cakes and whortleberry jam from his mother and sister, who have sacrificed to provide his favorite foods. Even at the beer garden, the spire of St. Margaret's Church seems to raise a blessing over his furlough and assure his safety for
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gratefully accepts potatocakes, Red Cross sister, fresh good looks, whortleberry jam, favorite foods.