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This three year ordeal is marked by Paul's short, but tragic trek into adulthood as he learns to cope with the trials and tribulations of war.
Paul Bäumer, the narrator and protagonist in All Quiet on the Western Front, is a character who develops extensively within the course of the novel.
As a young man, he is persuaded to join the German Army during World War I.
Paul's evolution throughout the novel is a result of his having to adapt in order to survive.
Paul's experiences in combat shatter his former misconceptions of war; consequently, he gains the ability to reflect on events with his own accord.
He becomes more humble, timid and appears to want to be friendly with the other men. Before Himmelstoss was intent on using his power whenever possible but after he sees what the other men have to go through, he seems to regret it and wants to be their comrade. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and your fellowship.
The offensive in which Paul finds Himmelstoss also highlights the theme of waste of life. Conclusion In expressing his regret he says; "But you were only an idea to me... Forgive me Comrade." This again demonstrates how Paul feels about the Russians.His maturing personality gives him the insight to see past the facade of war and expose it for what it truly is.Paul loses his innocence and childhood during the war; as a result, he becomes a man.Himmelstoss, their training corporal, is shown to be slightly sadistic.He uses an immensely cruel method to cure Tjaden and another man of their bed-wetting and makes the men do repetitive and tedious exercises in muddy fields.Later on, they meet Himmelstoss again at the front during an offensive where Paul finds him cowering in a shell hole pretending to be wounded, only to see him overcome with some kind of blind courage and join the next wave of troops charging forwards.After the battle Himmelstoss is appointed company cook and the men see a change in him.In my essay I intend to show how the author makes these themes vivid to the reader.One way the author highlights the futility of war is through the use of key incidents.Muller is killed and Paul inherits the boots that Muller had, in turn received from Kemmerich, and Katczinsky was hit by shrapnel and died of his wounds. His death is described in a brief paragraph where the tense and viewpoint change from the present tense and through Paul's eyes to past tense and in third person.This change of tense and viewpoint shows the impersonal way in which soldiers are seen when they die.