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 9

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary

Paul returns to the front and searches for his company mates and eventually finds them. After preparing for a visit from the Kaiser, Paul and his mates discuss the morality of war from different perspectives. Both sides insist they are in the right, yet it is hard to determine who is actually in the right. Their conversation continues and includes the cause of the war, why it was fought, and who was making the decisions. Once again, the men find parallels between themselves and the French men who they are fighting against. Most likely, like themselves, the French soldiers are poor folk.

After the inspection from the Kaiser, the men begin again to make their way to the front, where they witness scenes of gruesome and horrific carnage caused by trench mortars. While out on patrol, Paul is gripped by a primal fear which essentially paralyzes him. His thoughts are conflicted between the urgency to fight and the desperation to survive. Paul blames the inner conflict on the leave he took. He is snapped out of his fear-induced paralysis by the sounds of his comrade’s voices.

Paul becomes caught in No Man’s Land during intense bombardment and takes cover in a shell hole and pretends to be dead.