Summary: All Quiet On The Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel about Paul, a young German man who fights for the army on the French front in World War I. Paul and his classmates joined the German army after listening to the patriotic speeches of their teacher. After experiencing brutal training at the hands of the cruel Corporal Himmelstoss and brutality of life on the French front, Paul and his comrades have realized that the ideals of patriotism for which they enlisted are clichés. As a result, Paul and his friends no longer believe that war is glorious and they live in constant fear of death.
"The abyss" to which Bäumer fears his thoughts will lead is the end of the World War I which has destroyed the lives of his comrades and his life predicated on a misconstrue
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He endeavors to ease the suffering of the Russian prisoners because he perceives them as men and fellow countrymen. Paul does not view them as enemies because he perceives little distinction between his fellow countrymen, prisoners, and himself. Also, the Russians seem less of Paul's enemy than the non-commissioned officers on the German's side. As he performs his duty of guarding the prisoners, he cogitates how commands from higher-ups have transformed men like his fellow countrymen into enemies and could just turn them into friends. These thoughts terrify him because the prisoners could have been the German's allies with only "a word of command" (193). Such thoughts are perturbing to Paul because they place him in "the abyss" of non-feeling which is also known as the "annihilation of all human feeling" (194). Later in the book, Paul tries to save the life of the French soldier whom he has just stabbed because he has come to see the French soldier as a man rather than the enemy he feared when he suddenly jumped into the shell hole. Paul distinguishes his enemies such as the Russians and French as men because he wants to eschew the feeling of "abyss" or the "annihilation of all human
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