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

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

Start Free Trial

Why are Paul and his comrades sent to the front?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front opens, narrator Paul Bäumer and his comrades are resting behind the front lines. Of the 150 men in their unit, only 80 had survived their last trip to the front. In the bitter irony that characterizes the warfare presented in All Quiet on the Western Front, the men rejoice that they get double-rations (this, of course, was only possible because nearly half the men in the unit had died). Paul narrates many other ways in which warfare had already changed him and his friends (coveting the clothing of a dying man, viewing a latrine as a luxury, etc.).

Unfortunately, Paul and his comrades are sent back to the front. Their mission is dangerous; they are tasked with laying barbed wire fence. They face constant shelling and gunfire as they crawl from foxhole to foxhole to fulfill their orders.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team