What are examples of  similes and metaphors in All Quiet on the Western Front?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remarque has been called "a man who can bend language to his will," for while some of the narrative reads like a journal of the young soldier, Paul Baumer, there are also impressionistic passages with unbalanced, fragmented syntax. The use of figurative language in these passages is frequent.  After the men are in the heat of battle where  “To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier," the trucks pick up the men. Then, in Chapter Five, the men learn that their detested officer, Himmelstoss is returning, 

Haie gazes thoughfully at his great paws and winks at me.  The thrashing was the high water mark of his life. [metaphors]

One day the men decide to catch a goose. Paul grabs two; as the geese struggle, Paul describes the action,

In the dark these white patches are terrifying.  My arms have grown wings and I'm almost afraid of going up into the sky, as though I held a couple of captive balloons in my fists.  [metaphor and simile]

As they cook the geese, Paul poetically describes Kat and himself,

We are two men, two minute sparks of life; outside is the night and the circle of death.  We sit on the edge of it crouching in danger, the grease drips from our hands, in our hearts we are close to one another, and the hour is like the room:  flecked over with the lights and shadows of our feelings cast by a quiet fire. [metaphor, metaphor, simile, metaphor]

Further, Paul describes his friend's loss of his humanity as he is now "a little soldier" who has never possessed some sights:

A little soldier and a clear voice, and if anyone were to caress him he would hardly understand, this soldier with the big boots and the shut heart, who marches because he is wearing big boots, and has forgotten all else but marching....Kat stands before me, his gigantic, stooping shadow falls upon me, like home.  [metaphor, simile]

The last line of Chapter Five contains a simile with alliteration:

The outlines of the huts are upon us in the dawn like a dark, deep sleep.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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