Summary

Paul reports to the cultivate camp. Next to the camp isa prison for captured Russian soldiers, who are diminished to pickingthrough the German soldiers’ garbage for food. Paul can hardly understandhow they uncover anything in the garbage: food is for this reason scarce that everythingis eaten. As soon as he looks at the Russian soldiers, Paul have the right to scarcely believethat these men with “honest peasant faces” are the enemy. Nothingabout them suggests that the is fundamentally various from themor that he should have any reason to desire to kill them. Many ofthe Russians are gradually starving, and they room stricken with dysenteryin large numbers. Their soft voices carry images the warm, warm homesto Paul’s mind. But most people simply overlook the prisoners’ begging,and a couple of even absent them.

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The spirit of brotherhood amongst the prisoners touchesPaul deeply. Castle live in together miserable circumstances that thereis no longer any reason for them come fight among themselves. Paulcannot relate come them together individual men since he to know nothingof your lives; he only sees the pet suffering in them. Peoplehe has actually never met, world in positions of influence and power, saidthe word that made these guys his enemy. Since of various other men, heand lock are compelled to shoot, maim, imprison, and kill one another.Paul pushes this thoughts away because they threaten his abilityto keep his composure. The breaks all of his cigarettesin half and gives them to the prisoners. Among the prisoners learnsthat Paul dram the piano. The prisoner plays his violin next tothe fence. The music sound thin and lonely in the night air, andonly provides Paul feel sadder.

Before Paul returns to the front, his sister and also fathervisit him. Your time together is as uncomfortable together it had beenat home during Paul’s leave, and also they cannot find anything come talkabout other than his mother’s illness. The hrs are one agony for them.Paul’s mother has been required to the hospital to be treated for hercancer. His father states that the did not even dare to ask the hospitalwhat the operation would cost due to the fact that he feared that the doctorswould not carry out the surgical procedure if he did.

Before they leave, Paul’s father and also sister provide Paulsome jam and also potato cakes that his mother created him. Depressed,Paul has actually no appetite for them, and also ponders even if it is to provide themto the hungry Russian prisoners. The decides the he will, however thenhe remembers that his mommy must have been in pain as soon as she madethe cakes and also that she meant them for him. He compromises by givingthe detainees two that the cakes.

Analysis

Paul’s endure with the Russian detainees in this chapteris one of Remarque’s most powerful attacks ~ above the patriotic, nationalistic idealsof the war. During human being War I, nationalistic heart drove the armiesof several nations into extraordinary levels of carnage. The leadersof the warring nations disseminated propaganda to your citizensdeclaring a an essential difference in between themselves and the enemy.When Paul look at the Russians, however, they carry out not appear to it is in partof an abstract pressure that endangers his fatherland. They seem simplyto be enduring individuals, and also Paul cannot check out them as his enemies.They remind him of German peasants and also seem no different and also noless human. The realizes, however, that when these detainees werefree they were no doubt ordered to death German soldiers like himself.Remarque implies that the shared experience of humanity is morebasic and an ext morally relevant than the arbitrarily classificationsof nationalism.

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While the rhetoric of politics makes no sense to Paul,the rhetoric of music does. Though he knows nothing specific aboutthe Russian prisoners’ lives, that understands the comradeship ofsuffering, something that he himself has experienced in the trenches.Aware the Paul, too, is a musician, the Russian prisoner attemptsto interact with the via a support comprehensible language ofemotion. His plaintive violin music touches Paul—one the the fewinstances in which Paul displays emotion—reinforcing Remarque’sproposition the there is something global in human being existencethat outweighs all viewed differences in between people.


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