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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes
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3. FRIENDSHIP: THE ONLY ENDURING VALUE

The theme of comradeship occurs often and gives the novel both lighthearted and sad moments. In Chapter 5 it's easy to overlook how the farmer felt about having his property stolen and to chuckle aloud when Paul is struggling to capture the goose! We appreciate the circle of warmth that encloses him and Kat that night as they slowly cook and eat the goose, and then extend their warm circle by sharing the leftovers with Kropp and Tjaden. In Chapter 10 we enjoy their sharing of the pancakes and roast pig and fine club chairs at the supply dump, and we understand why Paul fakes a high temperature to go to the same hospital as Albert Kropp.


Friendship emerges as an even more important theme at the front. In Chapters 10 and 11 we see men helping wounded comrades at great personal risk-or even, like Lieutenant Bertinck, dying for their friends. The handing on of Kemmerich's fine yellow leather boots also acts as a symbol of friendship-a symbol we can almost touch, and one that keeps us aware of how deeply a soldier feels the loss of each of his special friends. We can understand how hearing the voices of friends when one is lost (Chapter 9) or even just hearing their breathing during the night (Chapter 11) can keep a soldier going. We grieve with Paul and almost put down the book when Kat dies.

4. A GENERATION DESTROYED BY WORLD WAR I

Taking all of the themes together and adding Paul and his friends' hopeless discussions of what is left for them to do after the war (Chapter 5), we can conclude that Remarque succeeds in his main theme: showing that Paul's generation was destroyed by the Great War, as World War I was then called.

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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes
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