Notes on Characters from All Quiet on the Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front Major Characters

Paul Baumer: The narrator of the book. Paul is a young solider who witnesses and reports the horrors of World War One and how it changes him forever. The story follows Paul at the front, in camp, on leave, in training, and in the hospital.

Albert Kropp: Paul's clear-thinking classmate and best friend from school. He is Paul's closest friend next to Kat. He loses his leg due to an injury, and is hospitalized at the same place Paul is.

Muller: The scientist of the group, who still studies and thinks about physics during battles. He's somewhat rude. He takes Kemmerich's boots after Kemmerich dies.

Tjaden: A tiny locksmith with a huge appetite who eats all the time. More than any of the others, he hates Himmelstoss with a passion and can't wait for revenge against him.

Haie Westhus: A giant boy about 19, he is a peat-digger by trade. He is Kat's main helper.

Katczinsky: The old man of Paul's company and his closest friend, Kat teaches all the young men how to survive. He is the older soldier who can get anything at the drop of a hat.

Kemmerich: Paul's classmate who dies in the hospital. Paul feels responsible for him and must tell his mother of his death.

Himmelstoss: The cruel man who trained them when they enlisted. When he is sent to the front, his first fight teaches him a lesson and he is much nicer to the men after that.

Minor Characters

Ginger: The company cook. Ginger tries to be in control and bossy about the food, but the men have no respect for him and mock him.

Leer: Paul's rude, crass classmate, who talks about sex a lot. He is the most experienced of Paul's friends. He is killed by the same shell as Bertink.

Detering: A peasant farmer, he misses his farm more than anything. Ultimately, this leads to him deserting, but he is captured and court-martialed.

Kantorek: Paul's old school teacher, who convinced the boys to sign up. He is made fun of because his patriotism is blind to the horrors of war. Later in the book, he becomes a soldier and his own student bosses him around.

Joseph Behm: A classmate who is bullied by Kantorek into joining the army, and dies almost immediately in combat.

Bertink: The Company Commander of the Second Company, Paul's company. Bertink is a smart, brave soldier who understands his men.

Sister: Paul's sister, who is caring for their sick mother.

Mother: Dying of cancer, she worries about Paul from her sick-bed. She is the only person who doesn't ask Paul for details about the war.

Father: Paul's father is proud of him, and tries to get Paul to tell him war stories, much to Paul's annoyance. He is hard working, but very poor, and must work extra hard to pay Paul's mother's hospital bills.

Mittelstaedt: Paul's friend who is stationed back in his home town and gets to boss Kantorek around.

Josef: The man with the shooting license in the hospital. He is a little crazy, but knows a lot about hospital life, because he has been there so long.

Peter: The man who tries to avoid going to the dying room and succeeds, surviving through force of will.

Lewandowski: An older man in Paul's hospital room. He has sex with his wife when she visits.

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