In chapter 3 of All Quiet on the Western Front, what is Katczinsky's sixth sense?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The battle weary men in Paul's platoon receive reinforcements, but they are half-starved. "Long time since you've had anything decent to eat, eh?" Kat asks the new recruits, revealing a tub half full of bean and beef.  Paul remarks that Katczinsky has a sixth sense.  Somehow he is able to find what no one else can:  When the men have nothing but metal for a mattress, he finds straw; when the men are starving, he goes off on his own and returns with hot, baked bread and a blood-stained bag with horse-flesh.

That is Kat.  If for one hour in a year something eatable were to be had in some one place only, withing that hours, as if moved by a vision, he would put on his cap, go out, and walk directly there, as though following a compass, and find it.

Of course, Paul exaggerates here, but Kat is one of those uniquely resourceful people who is able to deal, steal, or whatever is necessary in order to survive.  He finds what is needed when no one else can because he has an instinct for survival and he is an experienced soldier.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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