In All Quiet on the Western Front, the soldiers depicted experience many hardships throughout their daily lives. Among these hardships is a lack of luxuries which are taken for granted by most, but feel necessary when they are no longer available. Particularly, the comfort that a woman provides, as described in the novel, is a very important aspect of life which has been deprived from the soldiers.
Throughout the book, discussion about women amongst the men on the front line was a rarity. However, when they happened upon a poster with a beautiful woman pictured on it, feelings that they had before the war began flooded back to their memories. However, it is evident that they were not completely enlightened again by this small sample of female presence. This is evident in the initial response of the narrator, when he questioned how anyone could march in such shoes (referring to the high heel shoes worn by the model in the poster). While he realized this was an unusual thing to think, the thought had still been planted in his head. At this point, war and the military lifestyle was obviously still a natural instinct for him. But, when the women from across the bank had allowed the small group of soldiers into their home, the narrator was able to, for the first time since the war, actually relax. After spending one night in the presence of women, he was able to forget the war’s horrors, which was something that being temporarily relieved of duty had never allowed him to do.
Throughout this section of the book, it becomes apparent that women represent a relaxing comfort like nothing else, which can make a man feel at home after a long journey. During the war, the periods of downtime from being in the front were almost dreaded, since they “made coming back feel worse.” However, the comforting effect of women allowed a more satisfying break which is obviously reflected by the soldiers attitude of lust and desire towards the females within the text.
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