My English class read this book only a few weeks ago. It’s about WW1 with the setting mainly around Germany and England at war against each other. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. At first, I didn’t understand what was going on even though it was a MUCH easier read than the previous books that we had to read. I like how reading the book was in sync with what I was learning in world history at the time. It was perfect because there were certain things in the book that I didn’t know what they were, and then I got to learn about them in world history a few days later. I didn’t know what a trench was, or a parapet. Anyways, I really liked the main character, Paul Baumer. He’s German fighting for the western front. He was a normal kind of guy. Well “normal” wouldn’t include experiencing all the horrible attacks during the war that were in front of his eyes that probably changed his life forever. Normal for him at the time of the war meant that he was still able to enjoy talking with his fellow soldier buddies from high school, and playing cards and smoking with them.
In the book, it is often described how Baumer has changed during the time of the war. In earlier chapters, the attacks during the war were described so significantly and very detailed. I think this was to show extreme exaggeration so that readers can see that he has changed so much due to this. He is no longer able to see the normality at the home front, where life goes on with everybody else who are not serving in the war. When he came home on leave to visit his family and his life back at home, everything wasn’t the same. Baumer was more quiet, more cautious, more uncomfortable than usual. He doesn’t speak with his family like he used to before, no longer with a joyous tone in his voice or an pleasant gleam in his eyes. Everything is dead to him. The war was now his new “normal” because he had been exposed to all the countless attacks and loss of friends and many of his own kind. He had gotten used to it.
In the very end, there was one last page that described the death of somebody, most likely to have been Baumer’s . It truly was sad. He had come a long way from the war, and he was a good soldier. He tried to be helpful in many ways, and he’s always be remembered for that.