All Quiet on the Western Front
How we cite our quotes:
Yesterday we were relieved, and now our bellies are full of beef and haricot beans. We are satisfied and at peace. Each man has another mess-tin full for the evening; and, what is more, there is a double ration of sausage and bread. That puts a man in fine trim. (1.1)
Is there an innocence to the way the soldiers live (despite the fact that they deal with death so frequently)? In this description we see how fully they take pleasure in something as simple as food.
These are wonderfully care-free hours. Over us is the blue sky. On the horizon float the bright yellow sunlit observation-balloons, and the many little white clouds of the anti-aircraft shells […] we hear the muffled rumble of the front only as a very distant thunder, bumble-bees droning by quite drown it. Around us stretches the flowery meadow. The grasses sway their tall spears; the white butterflies flutter around and float on the soft warm wind of the late summer. We read letters and newspapers and smoke. (1.46)
At a moment like this, the soldiers find themselves in a kind of protected paradise. Nature imagery figures largely throughout the novel, and we especially see this imagery in this moment. They are detached from the unnatural workings of war, and are surrounded by buzzing life.
Iron Youth. Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk. (1.106)
Does Paul seem like a twenty-year-old? When in the novel does he seem older or younger?