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All Quiet on the Western Front

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dancingurligirl
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Explore Paul's relationship with Kat. What effect, if any, does this relationship have on Paul's view of his experiences throughout the novel?

Standing next your best friend unaware of if they will live or die is a quite terrible situation. Would you be able to stand next to your best friend and watch him or her die? Feeling like your whole world could come crashing down, enveloping you and your loved ones at any moment is the feeling many of the soldiers had in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. The camaraderie felt between the soldiers was quite evident throughout this piece of work. One connection that was immense throughout the book was the main character and narrator, Paul’s feelings toward Kaczynski (Kat), a fellow soldier and great friend. Paul’s relationship with Kat only seems to grow, creating a special bond as the novel progressed. From comforting Paul after his first hand to hand combat to simply being a friend to rely on, Kat was always by Paul’s side. Kat had an amazing impact on Paul during his time at war and on leave. When Paul was released for his short leave in Chapter 9, Paul couldn’t help but feel like he was out of place once he arrived back home. Paul realized he had changed as a person and was worried about his fellow comrades fighting on the battlefield. He often longed to return to the war so he could be back with his friends. When he arrived back however, he felt different. “I have an uneasy conscience when I look at them, and yet without any good reason” (89). He found his confidence when he was with Kat and felt that is where he belonged, fighting along side him. Kat always had a way of comforting Paul, and even though he did not want to seem childish, Paul looked up to Kat. This bond kept Paul strong and ready for anything. While fighting on the front, Paul resumed an animalistic instinct and faced the question kill or be killed. Within seconds he had stabbed an enemy soldier and shortly after felt remorse. Kat was there to comfort Paul once again with pure logic and wit. “ You can’t do anything about it. What else could you have done? This is what you are here for ” (102). Kat remained loyal to his comrades and always included Paul in all he did. In Chapter 10, Kat and Paul patrolled through many houses and stumbled upon two live sucking pigs. Including Paul in the preparations for the meal, Kat provided a gourmet feast for his friends to enjoy, re-establishing his role as a leader among the men. Paul and Kat had become really close during the duration of the war, when suddenly one day at battle Kat was injured. Paul showed his affection for Kat by comforting him during his time of pain. Paul assumed the position of best friend, ironically taking the character qualities of Kat, by carrying Kat to a small hole and waiting until the shelling was over. Sadly, Paul knew that his friendship with Kat would end shortly. “ We are going to be separated at last.” “When Kat is taken away I will not have one friend left” (128). Kat had always been there for Paul and it was Paul’s time to return the favor. The novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is filled with tragic war details and heart warming friendships. The connection between all of the soldiers is evident, but the relationship between Paul and Kat is stronger than the rest. The bond between these two brave war soldiers only grows throughout the novel. Kat had a positive influence on Paul and was always there for him. Now the question remains, are you the kind of person who could watch your friends die?

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