All Quiet on the Western Front: Novel Summary: Chapter 12

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It is autumn. Paul is the last survivor of the seven members of his class. He is given fourteen days' rest, after inhaling some poison gas. Everyone knows an armistice is coming. Paul knows he will be going home soon, but he feels burnt out and rootless, unable to make his way any more. He feels that neither the older nor the younger generation will understand him and his comrades who have fought in the war. He feels alone and without hope.

Paul dies in October, 1918, on a quiet day. The army report for the day consisted of a single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.

Analysis
In this short final chapter, Paul's despair is complete. All his friends are dead. And in a final ironic touch, he is himself killed only a month before an armistice is declared in November, 1918. This makes his death even more pointless.

In order to convey the death of Paul, Remarque has to switch the narrative point of view. Up to the final paragraph, the novel has been told in the first person, from Paul's point of view. But at the end, since a man cannot report his own death, the narrative voice switches to the third person.

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