All Quiet on the Western Front

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Chapter 11 to 12

Chapter Eleven Summary

The war continues, and Paul and his comrades lose track of the days. Their individuality also weakens as they see themselves as soldiers and not people. Unable to endure the lifestyle of war any longer, Detering cracks. He takes a blossoming branch from a cherry tree and brings it back to camp. Detering notes that the branch reminds him of an orchard from his home. A few days later, Detering deserts the army, and the Second Company never hears from him again.

Müller is shot in the stomach. His final few moments of life are short but excruciatingly painful. After Müller’s death, Paul receives the boots from his feet—the same boots that once belonged to Kemmerich. The men of the Second Company hear that the war is soon to end, but they must keep fighting.

Paul carries Kat, who has been wounded, to the dressing station for help. Paul is certain that Kat, his best (and now only) friend in the army, will survive. However, Paul does not see that there is a deadly piece of shrapnel in Kat’s head. Kat dies and leaves Paul alone.

Chapter Eleven Analysis

Conditions for the men continue to worsen. The men are unable to keep track of their days, and this signifies another hardship of war: Fighting, as difficult as it is, has become extremely commonplace for the men. When Paul receives the boots that once belonged to Kemmerich, he seems marked for death. Although he has survived thus far, the boots symbolize that he will die as the other men before him did.

Paul’s carrying of Kat is a powerful image that symbolizes the brotherhood of war. Paul would do anything to save his friend. The news that there is shrapnel in Kat’s head devastates Paul. Paul knows that he will never emotionally recover from the death of his mentor and good friend.

Chapter Twelve Summary

It is the fall of 1918, and Paul is the only person left from his group of classmates. Paul inhales poisonous gas, so he is given 14 days of...

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