Notes on All Quiet on the Western Front Themes

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All Quiet on the Western Front Topic Tracking: Isolation

Chapters 1-2

Isolation 1: Paul observes that the soldiers his own age are isolated from life because they have not been let to establish anything for themselves. Unlike the older farmers, they have gone from school to war, and don't know anything else. They are cut off from the world they are defending.

Chapters 5-6

Isolation 2: Here, Kropp observes the same thing Paul did previously. The boys from Paul's school have nothing going for them. They are separated and isolated from life.

Chapters 7-8

Isolation 3: Part of the reason why Paul was upset about his encounter with the girl is that he feels cut off from important things, like love and passion. Although better than a brothel, there was little meaning between him and the French girl, and it gave him no happiness. There was simply no true connection.

Isolation 4: Here, we see how cut off Paul is from everyone. While at the front he has his comrades, but the experiences he has seen have made it impossible for him to relate to those who don't share his experiences. His homecoming is miserable because he is completely isolated.

Isolation 5: The man telling him that as a soldier, he doesn't understand the war, is another example of how different Paul is from the people he once respected.

Isolation 6: Paul cries and wishes he had never come home because it has only made him aware of how isolated he now is from his family and his townsfolk. The only person he can enjoy being with was Mittelstaedt, a fellow solider. He is powerless to help his sick mother, who cannot understand what he has been through.

Isolation 7: Since he no longer knows anyone at the training camp, Paul watches the sickly Russian prisoners. Like him, they are cut off from everything.

Chapters 9-10

Isolation 8: Paul's isolation doesn't end when he returns to the front. Instead, he must spend the first few days completely alone, because he cannot find his comrades.

Isolation 9: Separated from his comrades, Paul loses heart. When he hears Kat's voice, he begins to respond, but shelling traps him away from them.

Isolation 10: Peter, the man who is taken out to die, is a symbol of the battle against isolation. In Paul's room, there is a community. By going to the Dying Room, Peter is removed from that community.

Chapters 11-12

Isolation 11: Within the first few pages of chapter 11, all of Paul's close companions except Kat have been killed. The isolation Paul feels is becoming more real as he loses his comrades.

Isolation 12: Paul dies alone. He gives in to the isolation and the end comes.

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