90 pages 3 hours read

Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Chapters 11-12

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapters 11-12 Summary

Back at the front, Paul explains how war has altered the realities of the soldiers who fight it. Constant nearness to death and devastation has returned the men closer to their primal, animal state. One of the company men, Detering, loses his wits and goes AWOL from the war zone, and Paul informs the reader that Detering was never heard from again. Paul continues to recount how the psychology of the men is constantly on the precipice between sanity and madness and tells of a man named Berger. During an intense fight, Berger is able to provide enough cover to Paul and others so they can escape part of the trench and return to the main. Once this is completed, there are reports that a messenger dog has been wounded. This prompts Berger to risk everything to either rescue the dog or mercy-kill it all in the midst of horrible fighting. He is wounded in the pelvis, and the man sent to drag back Berger is also wounded.

Muller is killed in action, and Paul receives his boots, which it turns out were also Kemmerich’s boots. Things are getting bad for the company, but the enemy has reinforcements. The German side is either starving or are becoming sick with dysentery from the food that’s available.