All Quiet on the Western Front
Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I think of the picture of the girl on the poster and, for a moment, believe that my life depends on winning her. And if I press ever deeper into the arms that embrace me, perhaps a miracle may happen. (7.66)
Why does that poster stir Paul so deeply? Is there any moment in the book in which Paul wants something as much as he wants to win over the woman in the poster? What does she represent to him?
Yes, the club chairs with red plush. In the evening, we used to sit in them like lords, and intended later on to let them out by the hour. One cigarette per hour. It might have turned into a regular business, a real good living. (10.66)
The paradise that Paul and his fellow soldiers create in the abandoned town fills us with both happiness and unease. It's almost too good to be true, you know? This moment in the novel feels almost like a dream, as though the men were hallucinating, and yet we can't help but breathe a sigh of relief for the soldiers who've endured much.
I am very quiet. Let the months and years come, they can bring me nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. The life that has born me through these years is still in my hands and eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me. (12.10)
At this point, Paul seems to no longer have any dreams, hopes, or plans. His enemy is his own life, which, though he tries to protect it, "will seek its own way out."