Death In E. M. Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

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E.M. Remarque portrays death gradually enveloping the body of Franz Kemmerich in his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Paul stands by his friend Kemmerich’s side as death works its way through his body, to not only comfort him during his final hours, but also to retrieve his expensive boots. Paul was detached from natural emotions, as he was not mournful or depressed while at his old friend’s death bed, but instead felt that letting go of his companion was only “a bit difficult” (25). As soldiers in the war these boy’s emotions became altered, and made abnormal. After watching his friend die, Paul ran to Kimmerich to “give him the boots” (28). The “lace-up boots” (24) were an emblem for the soldier’s unnatural detachment from their emotional self, and their inability to feel emotional pain at the sight of death.
Repeatedly lying to Kemmerich, Paul claimed that he will “soon be well again” (24), though
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Paul attempts to calm Kemmerich into his death, as a priest would do to someone dying with their ‘last rites’. Paul was struggling to prepare Kemmerich for his decease by illustrating a picture of heaven. He portrays the image of Kemmerich inside his home, looking through a window, "across the fields to the two trees on the horizon" (26). Franz is described trapped in his own house, with a glass acting as a barrier to the outside world, and separating him from the reality of nature. As the modernists they have been trained to be, these young men are forced to look through a lens into the world of nature, even from their own homes. The window barricaded Franz inside, disconnected from his Garden of Eden, and the nature world. This exposed Paul’s fear that he and his fellow soldiers would not be accepted into eternal paradise after the heinous war crimes they had been forced to
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