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• THE NOVEL AS A WHOLE
1. Explain the symbolic importance of the goose incident in the novel.
2. Explain the symbolic importance of the screaming of the wounded horses in the novel.
3. Explain the importance of Kemmerich's boots in the novel. What do they tell you about the historical situation? about the theme of friendship?
4. Explain the importance of Paul's daydreams in the novel. Are they present merely as a way for Remarque to show contrasts? Do they tell us something more about what happens to a soldier's inner values? Do they have no importance at all?
5. Explain the importance of the earth itself in the novel. Use examples from several different chapters in order to show how the earth is a source both of safety and of pain to the soldier.
6. Discuss the effectiveness of using first person narration in this novel. Why was it good or bad to have that particular soldier-Paul-telling it? Why not Kat or Kropp or Detering?
7. Discuss the author's use of contrasting scenes. How did this make the novel more vivid? How did it make it possible for you to visualize and to feel what was occurring? Use examples from the novel in your answer.
8. Go back to the introductory statement made by Remarque just before Chapter 1. Has Remarque fulfilled the purpose he set for himself. Explain the reasons for your answer.
9. Explain the psychological defense mechanisms soldiers cultivated in order to survive with some degree of sanity. What did they do to keep the war from getting to them?
10. Review the battle chapters (4, 6, 9, 11). List the words using onomatopoeia to describe the sights and sounds, and explain what effect these words have on the realism of the scenes.
11. Paul and his friends have several discussions about war. In addition, Paul's own thoughts go even deeper, to ideas about human nature. List the major conclusions you believe Paul reached about human nature. Use examples of his actions or thoughts to support your points.