In chapter 12 of All Quiet on the Western Front why does the book describe Paul's face as calm?In Chapter 12 of All Quiet on the Western Front, why does author Remarque describe Paul's face as calm?

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thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After all the torment and anguish of Paul's experiences in war, death was a relief. For Remarque, war destroyed the entire generation of men-regardless of whether they survived the battles.

In the previous chapter, Paul observes,

Had we returned home in 1916, out of the suffering and strength of our experiences we might have unleashed a storm. Now if we go back we will be weary, broken, burnt out, rootless, and without hope. We will not be able to find our way any more.

And men will not understand us--for the generation that grew up before us,though it has passed these years with us already had a homne and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten...we will be superfluous even to ourselves....

The hopeless future that faces those who come of age on the battlefield of a war the soldiers don't understand is more terrifying than any combat. For Paul to fall and die quickly before having to face the impossibilities of post-war cilvilian life was for him a blessing and not a curse.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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