All Quiet on the Western Front Chapter 5
Paul and the rest of the men are back at camp killing the lice and other parasites that cover their bodies. Tjaden has made a stove out of a candle, some wire, and the lid to a tin of boot-polish, and they throw the bugs on the stove, where they die. The men compare bugs and laugh, but they are all more interested in the recent arrival of Corporal Himmelstoss. He has indeed been sent to the front, punishment for overzealously abusing recruits.
Muller begins asking the others what they would do if it was peace-time again. Kropp grumpily tells him he would get drunk. Kat tells them they would all go home and shows them a picture of his wife. Haie says he would find a beautiful girl and spend a week in bed with her. They all contemplate this for a minute, and then Haie says he'd probably stay in the army if he was a noncommissioned officer. Paul cannot believe this, but Haie says the army during peace-time is better than digging peat. Afterwards, he could become a police officer. Kat tells him that he will never become a non-com, and that silences him. Muller asks Tjaden what he would do, and Tjaden can only think of revenge against Himmelstoss. When asked, Detering says that he would simply go on working on his farm.
Himmelstoss appears, and greets the men awkwardly. They are hostile. Tjaden calls him a dirty hound, and Himmelstoss orders him to stand up. When Tjaden responds rudely and passes gas, Himmelstoss threatens him with court-martial and storms off. Everyone laughs but Kat, who knows Himmelstoss is serious. Tjaden, however, doesn't care, and leaves to avoid the superiors.
Muller continues asking his question. Instead of answering him, Kropp starts talking about the subjects they studied in school. It is clear to all that what they learned in school isn't very useful to them. Kropp says that while Kat, Haie, and Detering have jobs back home, none of the boys know how to do anything but fight. They never had the chance to learn anything else. "'The war has ruined us for everything.'" Chapter 5, pg. 87
"We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war." Chapter 5, pg. 88
Himmelstoss returns with a fat sergeant-major, looking for Tjaden. The men pretend they don't know. The sergeant-major announces that Tjaden is ordered to report to the Orderly Room in ten minutes. Paul goes and tells Tjaden that they are looking for him, and he goes to find another place to hide. Himmelstoss returns after a half-hour and tells them that they should look for Tjaden. Kropp responds by mocking him, and Himmelstoss storms off again. That night, the trial is held. Lieutenant Bertink calls them all as witnesses. When Paul and Kropp explain why Tjaden hates Himmelstoss, Bertink lectures Himmelstoss on the difference between the front and the parade-ground in training camp. He gives Tjaden three days in the camp's jail and Kropp one, but only because he is obligated to. The others are free to visit them and play cards, which they do for most of the night.
After the game, Kat and Paul go hunting for the geese they heard on the way to the front for wiring detail. They hitch a ride on a supply wagon back to the shed where the geese are held. It is part of a regimental headquarters. Paul climbs over the wall and sneaks to the shed. He grabs the two geese, but they put up a mean fight and make a lot of noise. A guard dog tries to bite his neck, so Paul stays still with his collar protecting his neck. He is stuck for a long time, until he manages to slowly pull his gun and fire it at the dog. He jumps up, grabs a goose, and runs. At the wall, he throws the goose to Kat and climbs out of the way just as the dog jumps at him. Paul and Kat run back to camp and roast the goose. As it cooks, Paul thinks about how much he and Kat have in common due to the war, dozes off, and dreams of a place like heaven. When the goose is finished, the two men eat heartily. They wrap the rest in newspaper and take it to the jail to give to Kropp and Tjaden. After the two in jail happily eat, Paul and Kat walk back to their hut to sleep as dawn comes.