Discussions will take place in the 100 wing conference room

Jack Garrett
Dale Klingensmith
Andrew Kolodgie
James Erwin
Matt Klepinger
Kyle Thomas
Rhys Eddy
Rachel Kerner

1. Student Facilitator(s): James

2. Protocols:
  • Make use of the Discussion Agenda Resources linked here or create your own
  • Start with Open-ended whip about how we liked the book and who our favorite character was and why.
  • Proceed to open discussion questions
  • Study Quotes.

3. Discussion Questions:

Collaboratively create 15-25 open-ended questions that promote discussion and organize them logically. You can use them within a protocol or on their own.
  • Personal Response Questions -- These questions might address your personal reactions to the style and content of the novel and ask group members to share and compare.
How does Kemmerich's boots and him dying make you feel?
How does the death of Kat make you feel?
How did you react to Remarque's paragraphing style?
If there was a theoretical war that popped up after the book, would Paul enlist?
How would Paul's convalescent leave in the end of the book differ from his leave in the beginning of the book?
When Muller gets the boots, how do you think other people in his company feel?
  • Open-ended, analytical questions -- These promote multiple perspectives and don’t yield a single answer. They address the WHY and HOW.
How does Paul feel his home is different to the front and before the war?
Why is it Remarque doesn't include hardly any historical context and just writes about the experience?
How does Paul's view on the war evolve from the beginning to end of the book?
How does what Paul has experienced on the front affect his life when he goes home, and his interactions with his mother?
What is the symbolic significance of Pauls mother and her illness?
In what ways does the war affect Paul and his comrades?
How does their view on war change throughout the book?
Is James okay?
How different would it have been if Paul survived?
  • Significant passage questions -- Observe, as you would in close reading, the qualities of the text and how the passage brings meaning to the novel overall.
Who do the teachers represent in today's world on war?
How is Paul's death symbolic of the Lost Generation?

4. Culture & Context

    • history and political conflict of the nation depending on the time it takes place: historical articles or current news: the lost generation was a generation of boys who came of age during world war 1. The world war 1's generation is also called the Generation of 1914, because 1914 was when the war started.
    • biographical information about the author
    • articles of literary criticism (using Marvel)
    • author information -- interviews, obituaries, statements
    • book reviews
    • research allusions and cultural references

5. Pre-Discussion Processing
  • Characters - List a significant detail for each character:

Paul: A young German soldier who left school to volunteer for service in the First World War. He refuses to relate his experiences to anyone away from the front for fear of reliving them.

Kat: An older, more experienced soldier. He is incredibly resourceful and adds comic relief in a bitterly ironic way. His death in the second to last chapter marks the death of all innocence, all coping, all humanity that has been slowly worn down throughout the story. Paul cannot hold on after that.

Kropp: Kropp was in Paul's class at school and is described as the clearest thinker of the group. Kropp is wounded towards the end of the novel and undergoes an amputation. Both he and Paul end up spending time in the Roman Catholic hospital together. Though Kropp initially plans to commit suicide if he requires an amputation, the book suggests that he postponed the suicide because of the strength of the military army.

  • Setting - World War I Western Europe
  • Important plot events - Choose at least 3 significant plot elements and explain their importance.

An important plot event that impacts the story is the encounter with the Russian soldiers that Paul has when he is returning from leave. He sees them mistreated and, despite all the propaganda telling him he is fundamentally different from his enemies, feels for them. His empathy leads him to give away his cigarettes as an act of mercy. Finally, the common bond between these men forced to fight against one another for no reason is solidified when one of the soldiers plays his violin. Paul hears a language they both understand: music.

  • Conflicts - Identify and elaborate on the conflicts that drive the plot
  • Narration (point of view) - Describe how the telling impacts the story
The story is told very personally by Paul in first person. Remarque uses line breaks to isolate passages of pure emotion on Paul's part. This really brings the reader int
  • Important passages - Have at least 5 important passages on the wiki; a brief comment or question about how and why the passage is important should follow each

Page 296: "He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the singel sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come."
-The moment of Paul's death; this instance happens only one month before the armistice (the 'peace' treaty near the end of the war)

Prologue: "This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war."
-Not exactly part of the reading but an important part of the book nevertheless. This captures the point of the book.

Chapter Four: "At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, in one part of our being, a thousand years. By the animal instinct that is awakened in us we are led and protected. It is not conscious; it is far quicker, much more sure, less fallible, than consciousness. . . . It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how. . . . We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers—we reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals."
-This is Pauls chance to share the psychological change before he goes into battle.

Chapter One: "For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity . . . to the future . . . in our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs. . . . The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces."
-Paul attempts to explain why the older generation destroys the younger generation by having them sacrifice their lives for "empty ideals."

Chapter Seven: "Just as we turn into animals when we go up to the line . . . so we turn into wags and loafers when we are resting. . . . We want to live at any price; so we cannot burden ourselves with feelings which, though they may be ornamental enough in peacetime, would be out of place here. Kemmerich is dead, Haie Westhus is dying . . . Martens has no legs anymore, Meyer is dead, Max is dead, Beyer is dead, Hammerling is dead . . . it is a damnable business, but what has it to do with us now—we live.
-In this short passage Paul explains the process of psychological disconnection in order to survive the terror of wars.