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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque-Barron's Booknotes
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CHAPTER 12

Soon it is autumn. Paul has been on two weeks' rest because of gas poisoning. On leave, he sat in the sun listening to news that the Armistice would come soon. But now he is back at the front alone, confronting the future dully, without even fear. Still he believes there is some bit of life within him that will seek its way out.


And then we come to a break in the text. The narration switches to third person-someone else, not Paul, is speaking. The narrator tells us that Paul fell on an October day, an October day so quiet that the army report confined itself to the single line: "All quiet on the Western Front." His face was calm, almost glad. He did not appear to have suffered long. Our feeling is almost one of relief. In the last two chapters the misery has been so relentless that we are convinced of the hopelessness of the chance that Paul (or any of his friends) could create a good life after the war. The bitter irony is that he should have survived so much terror and died so quietly-only one month before the Armistice.

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