All Quiet on the Western Front Quotes: Explanation

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1. "You limp, will you get out – you hound, you skunk, sneak out of it, would you?" [Himmelstoss's] eye becomes glassy, I knock his head against the wall – "You cow" – I kick him in the ribs – "You swine" – I push him toward the door and shove him out head first.” Ch.6 P.1 This quote shows how power can change a man from being ordinarily timid or shy into someone else. Himmelstoss was given power and changed from an ordinary postman to a tyrant commander. He tells the soldiers how to act when in battle and to be tough. Paul is infuriated with the fact that Himmelstoss has decided to hide in a dugout when they were being bombarded rather than fight. Himmelstoss has taught the soldiers to fight with bravery and patriotism for their country and he is seen here as a coward that wants nothing to do with the battle. Himmelstoss is seen as a hypocrite in this scene of the story. 2. “He listens and for a moment his eye becomes clear. Then again he has the glowering eyes of a mad dog, he is silent, he shoves me aside.” Ch.6 P.5 This quote relates to the theme that spending time in the war changes who you are and how you think. This is shown when Paul begins to compare his company to animals. He uses animalistic imagery to do this. The claustrophobic recruit referred to in this quote can't stand being in the trench for another second. He begins to listen to reason, but then, his emotions get the better of him. Being out on the front has caused the recruit to act differently than he otherwise would have. The stress and fear caused him to snap.

3. “If your own father came over with them you would not hesitate to fling a bomb into him.” Ch.6P. This quote relates to the theme that for the soldiers war is greater than the idea of family. The soldiers in Paul’s company have come to a point where they believe in killing more than they do in their own family. This again ties in with the theme that war changes who you are and the way that you think. Before...
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