All Quiet on the Western Front Student PortfolioBy Hannah Menich
Ch 1-5 QuestionsPersonal Response: Based on Paul s description of the front, what part of the experience do you think would be the hardest to bear? What could provide consolation? Based on Paul s description I think the hardest part to bear about the front would be the constant fear of being under attack. They talk in the book about after they were attacked at the front all on the way back the slightest thing would make them jump, and they were always afraid of this. The feel that your life could be over in a second just seems excruciating. Paul talks about how Mller recites physics while under enemy fire, I think this would be a way to try and stay calm and focused, by just reciting simple things. 1. In the opening scene. Why does Paul s company have extra food to eat? Why is Franz Kemmerich dying? How are Mller s feelings about Kemmerich s dying different from Paul s feelings? The reason the company had extra food to eat was that there was a miscalculation because the person in charge said 150 soldiers would be coming back and needing food but there was a large fight and they lost a lot of people so there was extra for those who came back. Franz Kemmerich is dying because he was shot in the leg, and they did amputate it but it wasn t enough. Mller s feelings about Kemmerich s dying is different from Paul s because Mller really wants Kemmerich s shoes and he believes that since he is dying anyway it shouldn t be a big deal, but Paul is denying that he is going to die and talks about him being able to go home. 2. How does the schoolmaster Kantorek refer to his former students? Why do Paul and Kropp scoff at the term Kantorek uses? How do the young men feel about Corporal Himmelstoss? Why? Kantorek refers to his former students as the Iron Youth. They laugh at this because as soldiers they don t think of themselves as youth anymore, they think of themselves as men because the war has hardened them. The men don t like Corporal Himmelstoss whatsoever. He pushed them and made them drill way to hard and he humiliated Tjaden because he wet the bed. 3. What mission at the front is Paul s group sent to perform? What do the men rely on to survive?
Paul s group is sent to set up trenches with barbed wire at the front. However, while they are up there, there was serious bombing so they had to take shelter in the graveyard so they were hiding behind graves, and coffins that were blown out of the dirt. 4. What scene provides contrast to the tension and horror that the men experience at the front? A scene that provides contrast to the tension that they experienced at the front is when they stand up to Himmelstoss. He comes in and asks them to stand but instead they end up telling him off and saying very bad things to them. This makes them laugh and the relationship that they have with him provides a change in mood for the book so it is lighter and less serious. 5. What does Kropp mean when he says of himself and his classmates, The war has ruined us for everything ? Kropp means that because they have served under such harsh and terrifying conditions that they really can t go back to living normal lives. Especially to those who never had a job or profession to begin with, it s going to be hard for them to adapt back to regular society after dealing with everything they did.
Bulletin From the Front: No Man s LandThe front, this is where the most intense action and fighting takes place in the war. I followed a group of young men as they made a trip into No Man s Land and got a firsthand experience on the action and the horror of it all. On the way to the front, driving is an emotionally intense experience in its own. Those who have been there before succeed in conversing almost naturally, almost. Fear still clings in the air with their every word. However those who have never been are silent, terrified of what awaits them. At the front, is where the young men turn back into boys. They become vulnerable to the stunning surroundings around them and rely on their older comrades for help. I witnessed the heartwrenching scene of one soldier, while they experience heavy bombing, cower into the chest of another soldier, stunned by fear. The older soldier, Paul Baumer, held him and protected him. However, when these men got back up and began to work again, it was imminent that the violence wasn t over. The bombardment began again and the soldiers were forced to take refuge in the only near place of shelter, a graveyard. Cowering behind the graves the bombing continued, soldiers took refuge in the holes made by these huge explosions knowing that it wouldn t strike the same spot. They helped soldiers who were wounded and needed assistance, carefully crawling and leaping from safety to safety to reach their destination, trying to avoid death. While in the bombing continued, graves were blown out of the ground and in haste, trying to avoid the exploding metal, they pushed aside the dead to hide behind coffins from death itself. Then, to make matters worse, toxic gas was blown in their area and they had to pass on news throughout the graveyard to make everyone aware so they might survive. As images of bodies in the hospital mangled by the affects of the toxic gas raced through their heads, they tried desperately to get their gas masks on properly without any way for air to get in, while sheer terror was going through them. After that was over and they were able to leave the graveyard, they searched for those who were wounded, trying their best to create make-shift bandages to assist the wounded, most of which, they knew, would not make the trip. Two men we followed assisted the frightened boy from earlier with a fractured joint in his leg, they considered the fact of putting him out of his misery because they knew that the pain he was about to experience would be for nothing, but the opportunity didn t come. They did all they could under the cruel circumstances given.
Ch 6-8 QuestionsPersonal Response: Paul says that every soldier believes in Chance and trusts his luck. If you were a soldier in combat, do you think you would find yourself trusting chance or trusting something else instead? Do you feel differently about chance as it relates to your everyday life? Explain. Personally, I don t believe in things such as luck. However, as a soldier I guess it would be hard to grasp the concept of just dying because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They need something to believe in, so they blame it on luck. Chance isn t something you can be good or bad at, it doesn t favor anything. It just is, trusting in your chance defeats the meaning of the word. 1. Why are Paul and his company moving back to the front? How does the battle progress over the two weeks the company spends at the front? Paul and his company are back at the front because they have had heavy losses and they are needed at the front because they are short men. The battle progresses over the two weeks because they spend the first part of it just waiting for an attack. They kept waiting and waiting but the enemy didn t attack, this left them in suspense and uncertainty which drove many people mad until the battle came. 2. When Paul tells Kemmerich s mother about her son s death, why is he surprised at her grief? Paul is surprised at Kemmerich s mother s grief because she wants to know how he died and he keeps telling her that he died instantly and she knows he s lying. He keeps this lie because he doesn t want to cause her any suffering, but instead she persists on knowing what happened, Paul doesn t understand this. 3. At the training camp, what sights seem to soothe Paul s mind? What thoughts does Paul have as he observes the Russian prisoners of war? Paul is soothed to be back in the old way of being a soldier instead of having to sit at home and feeling as if he doesn t belong. He observes the prisoners of war and realizes that they are just people with families and lives. He tries to help them by offering them food and cigarettes and talking with them. But he really finally realizes that they could ve been friends if they weren t commanded to shoot at each other and hate each other.
4. Were you surprised that the three young French women were willing to spend the evening with Paul, Kropp, and Leer? Why or why not? I did find it interesting that three French women (the enemy) were willing to spend the night with German soldiers. Although, I guess their husbands or boyfriends are probably out away fighting and they probably haven t done so in a while and yea this is awkward to discuss but yea. It was odd. 5. How does Paul s classmate Mittelstaedt taunt and humiliate Kantorek? Do you think this treatment of Kantorek is justified? Explain. Mittelstaedt humiliates Kantorek by making him dress in a ridiculous outfit and do work that he shouldn t have to. But they say he was a mean teacher, so what goes around comes around. :D
Ch9-12 QuestionsPersonal Response: Did you expect the novel to end the way it did? Why or why not? Do you think the ending is appropriate, or would a different ending fit the novel better? Explain. The ending of this story was surprising, I didn t expect it because most books of war don t capture the whole mood and tell of the war all the way until the end. Most of the books I ve read have a generally happy ending when they all go home safely, blah blah blah. This one was realistic. You felt a parallel sorrow to that of Paul when the characters you grew close to died. It was horrifying and captured the true mood and feeling of loss and war. 1. Why doesn t Paul flee from his foxhole after he stabs the French soldier? How does the incident affect Paul? How do you interpret his comment afterward: after all, war is war ? Paul could not flee the fox hole without being shot and he didn t know his way back because it was dark. This affects Paul because he can see that the French soldier has a family and that they are not too different. He also watches the guy he stabbed suffer and die. The comment means that that is just how war works and he really can t change it because he is trying to survive and he ll do whatever is necessary. 2. What happens at the hospital after Paul and Kropp are each wounded in the leg? What does Paul see and think as he walks through the rooms of the hospital? At the hospital, Paul and Kropp meet other wounded soldiers and learn even more about the devastation of war. Paul sees as he walks through the rooms how many different wounds there are and realizes how many people get wounded and killed in war. 3. After Paul returns to the front, what happens to his comrades? What does Paul learn about the progress of the war? After Paul returns to the front he loses everything. Allof his friends either are wounded or killed and he is a witness all of them. He is utterly alone by the end of the book. Paul learns that the progress of war just keeps going and doesn t stop for anything. It takes everything.
4. What incidents in chapter 11 show that the men s nerves are frayed? What metaphor does Remarque use to make this same point? The men have seen so much action and their friends being killed, it is driving them mad. He compares the men to metal coins that are melted down to be whatever the army wishes, they shape them how they please. 5. What is ironic, or dramatically unexpected about the book s ending? What was unexpected was that Paul lost EVERYTHING. He lost every single one of his comrades before being killed himself, it s terrible.
Personal Response: What images from the novel linger in your mind? Explain why these images made an impression on you. The images that were given of each of Paul s comrades dying still continue to linger in my mind. Throughout the novel we follow these men as they deal with everything put in front of them, as they slowly fall to pieces, and then at the end of the book, Remarque teaches us a lesson about war and takes them away from us. One situation that left a big impression on me was the death of Kat. Through the novel I grew very fond of him and his ability to adapt to any situation and make the most out of any situation. His relationship with Paul was by far the strongest in the book because Paul looked up to Kat so much and loved him. At the end of it all, Paul fights to keep Kat alive, he was going to do anything he could do to save him, even risk his own life, but it wasn t enough. While reading this section I can see Paul carrying Kat and continuously falling and getting up again, all in vain. His efforts weren t going to change the fact that Kat was dying. Paul was completely alone. Writing About the Novel: Do you think Paul can justly claim to speak for an entire generation when he talks about the effects of the war? In Paul s opinion, the war has ruined those who survive almost as much as those who died. What do you think could account for Paul s negative point of view? Do you think his fellow soldiers would have felt the same way? Do you think soldiers from other wars had similar thoughts? Why or why not? I believe Paul is justified to give his thoughts on war because he has seen so much of it. I think that when he speaks for his generation he is just stating his opinion which he is entitled to after everything he has seen. In his opinion war ruins life for the living as much as it does for the dead because after everything he has seen and experienced he can t go back to living a normal, peaceful life. Paul s negative point of view comes from the fact that he s witnessed hundreds of people s deaths. That would be enough to depress ANYONE. All of his fellow soldiers, I think, would feel the same way. This also goes for anyone who has seen way. You d have to be extremely disturbed to not be depressed and permanently changed from war.
Responding to the Reading1. What images do the first five lines of Battlefield contain? Who do the childish eyes belong to? How do they respond to what they see and why? The first five lines of Battlefield contain imagery about a wound. It talks about blood clotting and the rusting and iron so it can be assumed that someone got hit with metal and has a wound from it. Using the words oozed , decay , and fleshes slime gives the imagery of it not going well. The childish eyes belong to the person who got hit; they are a soldier because the poem describes them as murder on murder . It seems as if this person isn t sure what has happened to them and looks childish. 2. What is the setting of Postcard ? What startling sight does the speaker describe? What might the flowers that before existing fade symbolize? The person writing the postcard is in their tent on a summer s day in the middle of the war. The startling sight that the speaker describes is the war going around him. The flowers that before existing fade symbolize the war that is going on, before the summer s day would probabl...