What are some examples of friendship in All Quiet on the Western Front?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the sixth chapter of All Quiet on the Western Front, specific examples of friendship can be seen in the midst of war.

Friendship is the tie that binds soldiers together. Despite the shelling, attacks, and sheer terror of war, companionship connects many of the young soldiers. This can be seen when Paul comforts his friend, Haie Westhus, in his last moments of life: "Haie Westhus drags off with a great wound in his back through which the lung pulses at every breath. I can only press his hand; 'It's all up, Paul,' he groans and he bites his arm because of the pain." The terror of the war has done much to desensitize soldiers from one another. However, Paul embodies the ethics of friendship in the midst of the war. He holds Haie's hand as he dies. This is a powerful example of friendship in the text.

Another such example is evident at the end of the chapter. After the intense shelling of the night before, the soldiers attend roll call. Paul immediately recognizes familiar faces as havens from the pain of war:

Now someone is calling the number of our company, it is, yes, the Company Commander, he has come through, then; his arm is in a sling. We go over to him and I recognise Kat and Albert, we stand together, lean against each other, and look at one another.

When they "lean against each other" and "stand together," it is clear that friendship is one of the most important elements to the soldiers in fighting off war's brutality. It represents how the soldiers need something, anything, to help them endure the unimaginable. In this way, chapter 6 of All Quiet on the Western Front displays distinct examples of friendship.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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