Illustration of Paul Baumer in a German army uniform with a red background

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque
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Why doesnt Paul want to be chloroformed?  

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After he is struck by a piece of shrapnel from a shell, Paul is loaded into an ambulance. He knows some surgery will be required to remove the shell fragment, and he worries about being chloroformed, because he is aware that many soldiers who suffer leg or arm wounds often...

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After he is struck by a piece of shrapnel from a shell, Paul is loaded into an ambulance. He knows some surgery will be required to remove the shell fragment, and he worries about being chloroformed, because he is aware that many soldiers who suffer leg or arm wounds often wind up getting those limbs amputated. His friend Kropp, also wounded, even says that he will commit suicide if he loses a limb.

Paul believes that many of these amputations are unnecessary, and wants to make sure that the surgeons don't cut his leg off. So he remains fully awake through the excruciating pain as the surgeon searches his wound for the piece of shrapnel. 

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