Notes on All Quiet on the Western Front Themes

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All Quiet on the Western Front Topic Tracking: Comrades

Chapters 1-2

Comrades 1: The bond between soldiers is very important. Here, Paul's comrades are introduced, and their closeness is illustrated. Their defiance of Ginger is as a group, and so is their reading mail together on the toilet.

Comrades 2: Training camp was an awful experience, and largely meaningless, but it forged a tight bond between Paul and his friends. This bond is part of what helps them survive at the front.

Chapters 3-4

Comrades 3: The downtime between trips to the front is when each man's individual personalities comes out. They bicker and argue, but that is part of the camaraderie. Here we see the group as individuals, but not in a way that breaks up the strength of the group.

Comrades 4: The boys are excited because Himmelstoss, the man who united them through hate, is now on their territory. They become closer through their reactions to bad things, like to the front or to Himmelstoss.

Chapters 5-6

Comrades 5: Tjaden and Kropp get in trouble with Himmelstoss, and are locked up for the night. Paul and Kat, in order to help their friends, cook stolen geese, feed the prisoners, and play cards to keep them entertained and happy.

Chapters 7-8

Comrades 6: As Himmelstoss once brought the comrades together, now the horror of war has humbled him and made him their comrade. They now accept him especially after being given good food.

Comrades 7: Here is an example of personal desire breaking the bond of the comrades: they get Tjaden drunk so they can leave him behind when they meet the girls. Again, like the arguing earlier, away from the front their individual personalities sometimes win out over camaraderie.

Comrades 8: Back at home, Paul feels very separated from the people who don't understand the front. His encounters with people and memories of his past only make him miss his comrades, who are now the only people he can truly relate to.

Comrades 9: At training camp, Paul realizes that he has more in common with the Russian prisoners than the leaders of his country. He and the Russians are all soldiers. In that way, they are more comrades than Paul and someone who has never been to the front are. However, Paul is drawn to them because he is separated from his true comrades back at the front. When it is time to go back, the Russians are forgotten.

Chapters 9-10

Comrades 10: At first, when Paul returns from home, he is uneasy because his time away seems to have lessened the bond to his comrades. However, at the same time, he is happy because he is back with his dearest friends.

Comrades 11: Again, Paul bonds to an enemy soldier. The man he kills becomes his comrade, for the time when he is trapped and alone. Paul again bonds to the enemy when separated from his own comrades.

Comrades 12: Back with his true comrades, Paul can dismiss the man he killed. They give him strength to get past the horror he went through.

Comrades 13: Albert is one of Paul's closest friends, and he goes through great lengths to stay with him so they can support and take care of each other in the hospital. Paul will do anything, including bribery, to stay with his comrade.

Comrades 14: The men, in helping Lewandowski to have sex, are acting out of brotherhood. Lewandowski, can trust them to keep an eye out and to be discreet because they take care of each other.

Chapters 11-12

Comrades 15: One by one, the men closest to Paul at the front are picked off and killed. More and more Paul's strength, his comrades, is gone, leaving him alone.

Comrades 16: Paul, alone as the last of his group, feels that nothing more can be taken from him, because the thing that gave him strength, his comrades, has already been taken. He gives up because the war has taken his only friends who understand him.

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