The Grabber: At the beginning of the story, it is basically an introduction to the characters and the way they live as soldiers. The beginning of the story focuses on giving the reader a feel for what the surrounding area is and what the lifestyle is like. The reader is drawn in and intrigued by all that the soldiers have to go through and the conditions that they are living through. Then Ginger stirred himself and said: That won’t do.’ We got excited and began to crowd around. (Remarque 5) The reader learns that on the battlefield only the smallest thing can make these men happy, this draws in the reader because it shows how much the little things can make these men happy in such a difficult situation.
Old Self in Old World: The main character in this story is Paul Bruney, a young man in his late teens who decides to join the army with his friends. Paul was in need of finding a purpose in life, he joined the army in order to fill that void in his life that was meant for helping people. Paul wanted to show himself that he could be successful in the army and fight through all the horrible punishments that were given to him by his corporal. Paul wants to show that he is strong enough to go through this and he wants to find his purpose in life through fighting for patriotism. Paul is a very likable character, his bravery, courage, and how adventurous he is, makes him a loveable character. But he also has a downfall to himself, the war has made him regret some of his decisions and has made him question his strength because of how tough times got. I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, for my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end. (Remarque 185) Paul has both good times and bad times and he has to learn to fight through all of the struggles that come his way and keep fighting for what he is meant to save.
Paul finds strength in fighting the war, he uses his courage to keep fighting and uses his love for his friends to keep fighting, even the ones that die are still left in spirit and he uses them to find the strength to keep fighting. He is fighting in world war I and enlists with some of his best friends and classmates and he fights in the war having to put his country first before himself.
The Catalyst: Kemmerich is an injured soldier who plays a huge role in building Paul’s character, he is the person who will open up paul’s eyes as to why he has to fight harder in order to win the war and survive. Kemmerich is hurt so badly that he has to have his leg amputated and this was going to be hard for him to know so Paul and his friends had to make the decision to lie to him and not tell him that his leg wasn’t there anymore.
They knew Kemmerich wasn’t going to survive so they didn’t want to make his days more miserable than they already were. Muller is rather crude and tactless, otherwise he would hold his tongue, for anybody can see that Kemmerich will never come out of this place again. (Remarque 14) having to deal with Kemmerich and trying to make some his last moments feel good was a real eye-opener for Paul. This was the event that made him find that fighting in the war was something he had to do and that he had to have the strength to fight on for Kemmerich’s sake. This event allowed Paul to take on the true responsibility of fighting and trying to win to avenge the lives that were lost.
Struggles and Prep: Paul has to go to class with his fellow classmates and they have to prepare themselves for the struggles and hardships of the war. They had to learn under the teachings of Kantorek, he was the person meant to strengthen their minds and get them ready to fight in the war. Kantorek had been our schoolmaster, a stern little man in a grey tailcoat, with the face like a shrew mouse. (Remarque 10) Paul had to discover what his flaws war and what was going to hold him back from fighting and he had to overcome all of this. Paul needed to discover what made him strong and enhance that, this is the only way that he was going to be able to survive the war. His struggles within himself had to be dealt with in order to move forward into enlisting in the war.
Kantorek teaches the soon to be soldiers how to be mentally prepared and shows them what it is like to be fighting in the war and how to deal with all the despair and sadness while continuing to fight on. Paul learns to be a strong and independent person and prepares himself to endure the hardships that come along with fighting in World War I.
Here We Go: When Kantorek would do his teachings on the war and all that it would undergo, this was a real eye-opener for Paul and the rest of the soldiers. During drill-time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandment and volunteered. I can see him now, as he used to glare at us and say at us in a moving voice Won’t you join up, Comrades?’ (Remarque 11) Paul really opened his eyes when he heard the teachers of Kantorek, he really learns what it is to be in a war and he learns to prepare himself for what is going to happen. Paul discovers this new world of strength and bravery, having to fight for his country against the French. paul needs to find strength in his weaknesses and not let those be exploited. Paul has to take on this new adventure and fight for his survival.
Rough Landing and Small Victories: One of the struggles is when the cook refuses to give the soldiers all of the food that he made because he made rations for 150 men, but there was only 80. Paul was one of the men who had to reason with the cook to give them extra food and they had to struggle to be able to eat. They eventually get the head general to reason with the cook and eventually get him to give them the food they rightfully deserve for fighting as hard as they do. The cook was quite disconcerted as the facts dawned on him. He was staggered And I have cooked for one hundred and fifty me-‘ Kropp poked him in the ribs Then for one well have enough. Come on, begin! (Remarque 4)
The Gut: At this point in the story, the men run into 3 women who draw their attention quite quickly. They are unable to cross to the other side so they swim over in order to get to their house. The men haven’t seen women for quite some time so they find great interest I these come and want to go over to their house. But then i feel the lips of the little brunette and press myself against them, my eyes close, I want it all to fall from me, war and terror and grossness, in order to awaken young and happy. (Remarque 150) the men are only trying to happiness in a time of stress and despair, that is why they try to find the good I meeting the women and they want something to have meaning to them. The midpoint of the story is a means of lighting the mood to a very sad and stressful tie. The author wanted to give the reader a sense of happiness instead of the usual sadness and despair.
Do a Little Dance and Danger Looming: Paul is allowed to leave the front to go home for some time, he was lucky because most people weren’t given a pass to leave. I am called to the Orderly Room. The Company Commander gives me a leave-pass and a travel pass and wishes mew a good journey. . . The others envy me. (Remarque 151-152) This cause for a little enjoyment for Paul because he gets to go home and see his mother and his sister while everyone has to continue to fight in the war. Paul gets a little break from the war and gets to recover from all that he has gone through for a short time that he’s gone.
The danger that is uprising is that Paul’s mother might be suffering from cancer for another time. This could take a toll on Paul because he has to stay strong while fighting the war but this could affect his ability to stay strong. She has been in bed some months now, but we did not want to write and tell you. Several doctors have been to see her. one of them said it is probably cancer again.’ (Remarque 162) This could be a real danger to paul in terms of his stability to be able to fight in the war, this could be yet another tragedy that could leave Paul with a great sadness and depression.
Revelation and/or Obstacle: Paul thought it would be a good idea to go home and take a break from the war and go visit his family, but it didn’t turn out all that good. I ought to never to have come on leave. (Remarque 185) Paul discovers that his mother could potentially be sick again and now he has to say goodbye to her knowing that he might never see her again. It should have been a good time for him to go home and visit his mother and get a break from all the trauma that he was experiencing in the war, but there was sadness and despair while visiting home as well. Paul has to face tough situations through his life and has to try and remain strong no matter what happens, but having to leave his mother in a time of need could really take a toll on him and his strength while fighting in the war. Paul just wanted a pass to leave the war to go see his mother and just have some free time away from the war, but instead, it turned out to be a bad time filled with heartaches.
The Mini Crisis: At this point in the story, the war gets pretty brutal; people are being viciously blown up and this is really making Paul fight for his survival. He has to watch people die and get blown to pieces which a person can only imagine how bad that must be. Any person who has to view that on a daily base has to be affected in some way. In this sense, the war is defeating Paul, all of this trauma is making Paul really struggle to survive. Here hangs bits of uniform, and somewhere else is plastered a bloody mess that was once a human limb. Over there lies a body with nothing but a piece of the underpants on one leg and the collar of the tunic around its neck. (Remarque 208) The war takes a toll on every soldier’s mental state, and for Paul having to see all this and having to deal with his mother draws a huge problem on his ability to stay strong in the war. Paul is focusing more on the trauma than the war itself, he doesn’t have an actual plan that will get him to his survival, he’s just going through the motions.
New Self Emerging: Paul has to go through a very stressful situation when he is being attacked with many weapons and he has to tell himself that is strong enough to fight this. Paul has to tell himself that he will make it through and that he won’t be scared of it. I tell myself that my alarm is absurd, that there is probably nothing at all there in the darkness watching me, otherwise they would not be firing so low. (Remarque 210) Paul has to discover a strong side to himself, he has to tell himself that he will make it through and he discovers what it takes to be able to survive the war. Paul understands that he has to believe in himself and believe that he can make it through in order to survive the war. Paul has to believe that nothing will take him down and that he has the power to avenge all the people that have died and fight for his country and his family.
It’s Not Looking Good: The war at this point it getting tougher and tougher, the enemy is getting stronger and Paul has to decide whether he’s going to let them defeat him or he’s going to fight for his survival. A bomb or something lands close beside me. I have not heard it coming and am terrified. (Remarque 210) Paul is letting his fear of the war get in the way of him fighting, he isn’t in the right state of mind to be fighting. Paul is letting his worried get in the way and he isn’t thinking like a soldier, he’s letting his own defeat occur rather than trying to fight back. This could be a big problem and could potentially get Paul killed.
Last Big Decision: Paul decides to embrace his flaws by deciding to fight back against the enemy and staying ready in case he is attacked. I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness. (Remarque 213) Paul decides to embrace this strong and confident side of himself and he decides that he is going to fight and make it through the war even though the enemy is advancing on him. All the attacks that he goes through have allowed him to see how strong a person he is and what he is able to endure, nothing will bring him down, not without a fight. Paul knows that he either has to embrace the fight or be a coward and get killed when the enemy attacks him.
Climax: An enemy jumps into Pauls hole and this causes him to do something that he never thought he would be capable of. Paul stabs this man with his own bare hands and he is the one who is responsible for his death. I do not think at all, I make no decision- I strike madly at home, and feel only how the body suddenly convulses, then becomes limp, and collapses. When i recover myself, my hand is sticky and wet. (Remarque 216) This is the most shocking part of the story, this is when the reader can tell that the war has really taken a toll on Paul. He would have never thought that he would have had to kill someone, but now he was staring into the man that he had just stabbed. Paul has to stay in the trench with him and he has to see what he has done to him for a while until he dies.
This is the point in the story where the reader really gets woken u[ to all that happened in the war and how dangerous it really is. Pauls character did not make him someone who was willing to kill, but the war completely changed his perceptions of the world and he really had to think about his decisions in this life or death situation. Paul knew that is was either going to be him or the enemy so he ha to do what was best for his survival, no matter how much it hurt him to do it. This point in the story really makes the reader realize how much struggle and hardship is involved in a war, this really makes them appreciate their right to live freely and without having to worry about someone who could come and kill them at any time.
The Wrap Up: Paul has completely changed as a person, he has had to deal with so much in the war, that he comes back home a completely altered person. Paul has to live with the fact that he has killed a person and he has to live with the memory of all the people that he has lost in the war. Paul does embrace his new seld, bt his new self is a very depressed and empty person who is only filled with sorrow and has only experienced tragedies. Paul has embraced the new person that he has become and just has to live on with all that he has gone through and has to keep fighting on with strength, courage, and bravery. Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more.
I am so alone, and so without hope that u can confront them without fear. (Remarque 295) Paul is a completely changed person, he is very depressed and alone, which is considerable because he was the only one to come back from the war out of all of his classmates. the reader realizes how bad this war was, Paul lost so many people that it really took a turn for the worst regarding his mental state. Paul was no longer the strong confident person he had set out to be, the war had completely broken him down to this sad and lonely human who had no sense of happiness anymore.
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