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TERM PAPER IDEAS
• PAPERS BASED ON CHAPTERS OF THE NOVEL
1. Chapters 1 and 2:
Study the obituary page in a local newspaper. Write a similar obituary for Franz Kemmerich. Use details from the novel for the general facts, and fill in with suitable additional ideas as needed.
2. Chapter 3:
Choose Kat's theory of equal pay or Kropp's theory of having the leaders fight the war personally. Argue for or against the theory as being a good way to conduct war.
3. Chapter 3:
Discuss the way Paul and his friends took revenge on Himmelstoss. Were they right or wrong to do what they did? (If you wish, you may include a comparison with how Mittelstaedt treats Kantorek in Chapter 4.)
4. Chapter 4:
Explain the statement, "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier."
5. Chapter 5:
Explain how the goose incident shows that comradeship means everything to the soldier.
6. Chapter 6:
Explain either why "every soldier believes in Chance" or why the men must fight "like wild beasts."
7. Chapter 7:
Why is leave "a pause that only makes everything after it so much worse"? Consider the words and actions of Paul's family and acquaintances in your response.
8. Chapter 8:
Paul guards Russian prisoners of war in this chapter. What does he seem to learn from this experience? What does he seem to have in mind as a possible goal for himself for after the war?
9. Chapter 9:
Explain the difference between "heightened caution" and "animal fear."
10. Chapter 9:
Contrast Paul's killing of Duval with Oellrich's sniping at the enemy. What makes their actions different?
11. Chapter 10:
Write a paper of comparison and contrast based on the men's lives at the supply dump and at the hospital. Include such areas as food, physical comfort, and comradeship. Explain both what was alike in the two situations and what was different.
12. Chapter 10:
Find out more about medicine during World War I. Was Paul's opinion of the medical profession justified? (You might also consider a comparison with medicine during the Korean Conflict as shown in reruns of the television series "M*A*S*H.")
13. Chapter 11:
Something mentioned again in this chapter is the callous attitude that a soldier must take toward an individual death. This attitude is shared by the orderly in Chapter 2, Paul when he is talking to Kemmerich's mother in Chapter 7, the medical profession in Chapter 10, and the soldiers themselves. Why is this matter-of-fact attitude necessary?
14. Chapter 11:
Study the obituary page in a local paper. Write a similar obituary for Stanislaus Katczinsky. Use details from the novel for the general facts, and make up suitable additional ones as needed.
15. Chapter 12:
Study the obituary page in a local paper. Write a similar obituary for Paul Baumer. Use details from the novel for the general facts, and make up additional ones as needed. 16. Chapter 12: How do you feel about Paul's death in the last chapter? What did he have left to live for? Argue that his death was either tragedy or a blessing and explain what led you to your conclusion.