All Quiet on the Western Front
Innocence Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
[Kemmerich] raises himself on the pillow with his elbows. "They have amputated my leg." (2.19)
Kemmerich doesn't realize that they have amputated his leg at first, but discovers this fact over the course of his recovery. Whether he is protected from this news by the hospital attendants intentionally or not, the discovery of his missing leg is a huge blow. We see Albert Kropp deal with a similar situation later on in the novel. Many men would rather die than lose a limb.
I nod. We stick out our chests, shave in the open, shove our hands in our pockets, inspect the recruits and feel ourselves to be stone-age veterans. (3.2)
We feel like Paul and his compatriots are constantly losing a layer of innocence with each event and each experience they endure over the course of the novel. When compared with their selves at the end of the novel, these "stone-age veterans" seem like puppies, young and sprightly.
I don't know whether it's morning or evening. I lie in the pale cradle of the twilight, and listen for the soft words which will come, soft and near – am I crying? I put my hand to my eyes, it is so fantastic; am I a child? (4.43)
Sleep is the only thing powerful enough to make the soldiers forget where they are. This is a heartbreaking moment in which the rockets overhead seem almost like fireworks to a newly wakened Paul.