With reference to the way Paul tries to comfort young 19-year-old Kemmerich on his deathbed, describe how you might respond to a close friend who is going through the same experience.
In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul is confronted with many ordeals but one of the most memorable was the death of his school friend Kemmerich. The reaction to Kemmerich’s death, Paul begins to question his place and meaning in life. In particular; Paul starts to question the meaning of war as well as see the downside to war. If I were in that same situation of Paul during the first World War, I probably would have a strong retaliation to a close friend of mine dying. My reaction to death would not have been as composed Paul’s as personally I don’t cope well with death; I grieve very openly. But in a time of war, I feel that my reaction to death would become similar to Paul’s due to Paul is being completely surrounded by death. The constant threat of death I believe change the way that I looked at life and death, in a way I feel that I would gain a higher appreciation for life and regard death as the norm.
One part of Paul’s reaction to death I found quite interesting was the way he thought about the boots then also the way he selectively spoke to Kemmerich about them. The way that Paul views the shoes is almost desperate because he internally he discusses the worth of the boots and almost disregards that they are Kemmerich’s; although he says anything to Kemmerich unlike the Paul’s comrades. I think in a situation of war, I would act in a similar way as decent boots were seen as a luxury in the trenches but unlike Paul, I would view it more a survival element rather than a luxury.