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A brief summary of the story all quiet on the western front

Brian Murdoch's 1993 translation would render the phrase as "there was nothing new to report on the Western Front" within the narrative. Explaining his retention of the original book-title, he says: Although it does not match the German exactly, Wheen's title has justly become part of the English language and is retained here with gratitude.

The phrase "all quiet on the Western Front" has become a colloquial expression meaning stagnation, or lack of visible change, in any context. His class was "scattered over the platoons amongst Frisian fishermen, peasants, and labourers.

There they meet Stanislaus Katczinsky, an older soldier, nicknamed Kat, who becomes Paul's mentor. At the beginning of the book, Remarque writes, "This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it.

It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war. The monotony between battles, the constant threat of artillery fire and bombardments, the struggle to find food, the lack of training of young recruits meaning lower chances of survivaland the overarching role of random chance in the lives and deaths of the soldiers are described in detail.

They had been forced into the army. Only pitifully small pieces of land are gained, about the size of a football field, which are often lost again later. Remarque often refers to the living soldiers as old and dead, emotionally drained and shaken.

We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The town has not changed since he went off to war; however, he finds that he does "not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world. His father asks him "stupid and distressing" questions about his war experiences, not understanding "that a man cannot talk of such things.

Indeed, the only person he remains connected to is his dying mother, with whom he shares a tender, yet restrained relationship. The night before he is to a brief summary of the story all quiet on the western front from leave, he stays up with her, exchanging small expressions of love and concern for each other. He thinks to himself, "Ah!

How can it be that I must part from you? Here I sit and there you are lying; we have so much to say, and we shall never say it. Soon after, he volunteers to go on a patrol and kills a man for the first time in hand-to-hand combat. He watches the man die, in pain for hours. He feels remorse and asks forgiveness from the man's corpse.

He is devastated and later confesses to Kat and Albert, who try to comfort him and reassure him that it is only part of the war. They are then sent on what Paul calls a "good job.

During this time, the men are able to adequately feed themselves, unlike the near-starvation conditions in the German trenches. In addition, the men enjoy themselves while living off the spoils from the village and officers' luxuries from the supply depot such as fine cigars.

While evacuating the villagers enemy civiliansPaul and Albert are taken by surprise by artillery fired at the civilian convoy and wounded by a shell. On the train back home, Albert takes a turn for the worse and cannot complete the journey, instead being sent off the train to recuperate in a Catholic hospital. Paul uses a combination of bartering and manipulation to stay by Albert's side.

Albert eventually has his leg amputated, while Paul is deemed fit for service and returned to the front. By now, the war is nearing its end and the German Army is retreating. In despair, Paul watches as his friends fall one by one. It is the death of Kat that eventually makes Paul careless about living. In the final chapter, he comments that peace is coming soon, but he does not see the future as bright and shining with hope. Paul feels that he has no aims or goals left in life and that their generation will be different and misunderstood.

In October 1918, Paul is finally killed on a remarkably peaceful day. The situation report from the frontline states a simple phrase: Remarque comments in the preface that "[This book] will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.

In addition, the massive loss of life and negligible gains from the fighting are constantly emphasized. Soldiers' lives are thrown away by their commanding officers who are stationed comfortably away from the front, ignorant of the daily terrors of the front line.

Main characters[ edit ] Cover of first English language edition. The design is based upon a German war bonds poster by Fritz Erler. Albert Kropp[ edit ] Kropp was in Paul's class at school and is described as the clearest thinker of the group as well as the smallest. Kropp is wounded towards the end of the novel and undergoes a leg amputation.

Though Kropp initially plans to commit suicide if he requires an amputation, the book suggests he postponed suicide because of the strength of military camaraderie. Paul comments that saying farewell was "very hard, but it is something a soldier learns to deal with. Overall, his size and behavior make him seem older than Paul, yet he is the same age as Paul and his school-friends roughly 19 at the start of the book.

Haie, in addition, has a good sense of humor. Carrying his old school books with him to the battlefield, he constantly reminds himself of the importance of learning and education. Even while under enemy fire, he "mutters propositions in physics". He became interested in Kemmerich's boots and inherits them when Kemmerich dies early in the novel. He is killed later in the book after being shot point-blank in the stomach with a "light pistol" flare gun.

As he was dying "quite conscious and in terrible pain", he gave his boots which he inherited from Kemmerich to Paul. Stanislaus "Kat" Katczinsky[ edit ] Kat has the most positive influence on Paul and his comrades on the battlefield.

He also represents a literary model highlighting the differences between the younger and older soldiers. Kat is also well known for his ability to scavenge nearly any item needed, especially food.

All Quiet on the Western Front

At one point he secures four boxes of lobster. Katczinsky leaves for a short while, returning with straw to put over the bare wires of the beds.

Later, to feed the hungry men, Kat brings bread, a bag of horse flesh, a lump of fat, a pinch of salt and a pan in which to cook the food. Kat is hit by shrapnel at the end of the story, leaving him with a smashed shin. Paul carries him back to camp on his back, only to discover upon their arrival that a stray splinter had hit Kat in the back of the head and killed him on the way.

He is thus the last of Paul's close friends to die in battle. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear.

  1. He is the first of Paul's friends to die. Its casual amorality was in shocking contrast to patriotic rhetoric.
  2. The shock of basic training is worsened by a sadistic drill sergeant, and the shocks grow more frequent and profound with his transfer to the front, to the ghastliness of trench warfare, and the influence of veterans for whom the sole value was survival. It is not a literal work.
  3. Chapter 3 Reinforcements arrive to fill for the people who had been killed.
  4. Then, Himmelstoss approaches them. While the boys are in the dugout, rats are everywhere.

Before the war, Tjaden was a locksmith. Throughout the book, Paul frequently remarks on how much of an eater he is, yet somehow manages to stay as "thin as a rake". He appears in the sequel, The Road Back. Among twenty enlistees was Joseph Behm, the first of the class to die in battle. Kantorek is a hypocrite, urging the young men he teaches to fight in the name of patriotism, while not voluntarily enlisting himself.

In a twist of fate, Kantorek is later called up as a soldier as well. He is very popular with women; when he and his comrades meet three French women, he is the first to seduce one of them.

In chapter 11, Leer is hit by a shell fragment, which also hits Bertinck. The shrapnel tears open Leer's hip, causing him to bleed to death quickly. His death causes Paul to ask himself, "What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician in school? His men have a great respect for him, and Bertinck has great respect for his men. He permits them to eat the rations of the men that had been killed in action, standing up to the chef Ginger who would only allow them their allotted share.

Bertinck is genuinely despondent when he learns that few of his men had survived an engagement. When he and the other characters are trapped in a trench under heavy attack, Bertinck, who has been injured in the firefight, spots a flamethrower team advancing on them. He gets out of cover and takes aim on the flamethrower but misses, and gets hit by enemy fire. With his next shot he kills the flamethrower, and immediately afterwards an enemy shell explodes on his position blowing off his chin.

The same explosion also fatally wounds Leer. A brief summary of the story all quiet on the western front is a power-hungry corporal with special contempt for Paul and his friends, taking sadistic pleasure in punishing the minor infractions of his trainees during their basic training in preparation for their deployment.

Paul later figures that the training taught by Himmelstoss made them "hard, suspicious, pitiless, and tough" but most importantly it taught them comradeship. Himmelstoss later joins them at the front, revealing himself as a coward who shirks his duties for fear of getting hurt or killed, and pretends to be wounded because of a scratch on his face. Detering[ edit ] Detering is a farmer who constantly longs to return to his wife and farm. He is also fond of horses and is angered when he sees them used in combat.

He says, "It is of the vilest baseness to use horses in the war," when the group hears several wounded horses writhe and scream for a long time before dying during a bombardment. He tries to shoot them to put them out of their misery, but is stopped by Kat to keep their current position hidden.

He is driven to desert when he sees a cherry tree in blossom, which reminds him of home too much and inspires him to leave. He is found by military police and court-martialed, and is never heard from again.

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Josef Hamacher[ edit ] Hamacher is a patient at the Catholic hospital where Paul and Albert Kropp are temporarily stationed. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the hospital. He also has a "Special Permit," certifying him as sporadically not responsible for his actions due to a head wound, though he is clearly quite sane and exploiting his permit so he can stay in the hospital and away from the war as long as possible.

Franz Kemmerich[ edit ] A young boy of only 19 years.

All Quiet on the Western Front Summary

Kemmerich is shot in the leg early in the story; his injured leg has to be amputated, and he dies shortly after. While in the hospital, someone steals Kemmerich's watch that he intended to give to his mother, causing him great distress and prompting him to ask about his watch every time his friends visit him in the hospital.

Paul later finds the watch and hands it over to Kemmerich's mother, only to lie and say Franz died instantly and painlessly when questioned.