90 pages 3 hours read

Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Chapter 8

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary

Paul is now at the camp on the moors for training rather than a return to the front. He mentions that near the camp there are Russian prisoners of war, and he reflects humanely on their dire condition. They are extremely hungry and desperate. Paul’s fellow soldiers mistreat them, and Paul recognizes the inhumanity shown to these men, who much like many of the German soldiers, are most likely peasants, too. As Paul begins to sympathize with them, he suddenly realizes the flaw in this kind of thinking. In order for him to survive the war, he must regard them as his mortal enemy, and so he stifles the sympathy he begins to feel.

While at the camp, Paul’s father and sister visit him. Once again, Paul is speechless and has a difficult time communicating with them. They talk about his mother, whose prospects of surviving cancer are increasingly bleak. In the discussion with his father, Paul reveals the problems faced by those of his social class. The cost of his mother’s operation is a cause of great concern for Paul’s father, but not much can really be done about it. The bitterness of Paul’s voice is apparent when he mentions how people of better means don’t have to worry about asking for the price of things—only poor people do.