"I merely crawl still farther under the coffin, it shall protect me, though Death himself lies in it." What is the significance of this quote in Chapter 4?

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book All Quiet of the Western Front, the author uses  the young Paul Baumer as his narrator, looking at the end of World War I as a German volunteer soldier.  Remarque's view of the war is that it effectively destroyed a generation of young people whether they were soldiers or not.  The significance of this quote is that  the war was extremely brutal and alternated between episodes of horror in combat and the ordinary.  This quote emphasizes the horror of war.  To protect himself in the shelling, Paul says that he will crawl even further under the coffin even if Death itself is inside because the coffin will protect him. Just imagine being desperate enough to hide under Death!  Soldiers looked for shelter even in  depressions in the earth or under dead bodies of other soldiers just to escape with their lives.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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