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

TEST 1

1. B
2. C
3. B
4. A
5. B
6. B
7. A
8. A
9. A
10. C

11. This question asks you to do two things: to decide whether All Quiet is weaker than other stories in plot and characterization and then to decide whether or not that weakness-if it exists-harms the novel. When you think of stories in which the main characters' desires cause each event, and each event in turn causes the next one, then you must admit that the plot of All Quiet is not set up that way. What causes the events in this novel occurs some place in government or the military command, and it doesn't really matter what the characters want. The war will still grind on. In fact, you could rearrange the order of events in the story, or even omit some of them, without really changing the author's message.

Much the same thing is true of the characters. Although some of them really come alive for us in vivid scenes-the stubborn, red-headed cook; the cruel Himmelstoss; the heroic company commander dying for his men-still, they do not change much in the course of the story, and their wishes and desires do not affect the course of the story. As to whether or not this lack of strong plot and characterization harms the story, you could argue convincingly that it does not. The whole point of the story is to show how World War I tore apart the lives of the young men involved, and setting up the story as a series of events in apparently random order shows exactly how little control they had over the forces destroying them.


12. The Ten Commandments direct people to worship God and to avoid killing, stealing, lying, and adultery. You might begin by restating the first sentence of the question as your topic sentence, and then continue by giving examples of how things usually considered sinful are expected of soldiers. The most obvious, of course, is killing. A soldier must kill to protect his own life. The killing of Duval in Chapter 9 or the mad charge in Chapter 6 would provide good examples. An example of the need for stealing to supplement poor rations could be one of the Kat stories Paul recalls in Chapter 3. A case for lying is Paul's report to Kemmerich's mother of how Kemmerich died. Illicit sex occurs in the evenings with the French girls (Chapter 7) and might be defended as an assertion of life and an attempt to regain elements of civilian life. Society-through the army- even provides brothels for the men! As for worshiping God, the only god the men seem to have is Chance or maybe the Earth itself (see Chapters 4 and 6). In your concluding sentences you might comment on which commandments have to be suspended for physical survival and which ones seem to have more to do with psychological or emotional survival.

13. It's important to read a question all the way through. Note especially the last 13 words of this one: you are expected to relate what you say about supplies and comfort to how the war was going. It will therefore be easier for you to answer if you take your examples from the last few chapters of the book: the conditions at aid stations and hospitals, the unusualness of the supply dump assignment, and, at the front, the scarcity of food, shells, decent clothing, and weapons, especially as compared with the apparently boundless supplies of the British and the Americans. The contrast makes it clear that the better supplied side is going to win. You might also include mention of technological innovations which are simply nonexistent on Paul's side: tanks and flamethrowers, especially, are mentioned in Chapter 11.

14. An obvious response to this question is that pure luck sometimes seems to determine who lives and who dies on a battlefield, that no matter how good a soldier someone is, his skill is no guarantee that he will survive. For examples to support such a statement, you might use the time Paul left his trench to visit another and came back to find it shelled. Or you might use the freak accident which killed Kat at the end of the novel. Review the discussion in this guidebook of the battle chapters (4, 6, and 11) or reread those chapters for further examples.

15. Paul himself discusses the phrase "Iron Youth" in Chapter 2. Reread that section. In your essay, discuss each word of the phrase. First explain why iron is not an appropriate description of skinny boys, either physically or emotionally, and then explain why youth is no longer a good description of the boys mentally or emotionally.

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