Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Like the pants in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (what happened to the pants?!), the boots get passed around. Unfortunately, unlike the denim flavor, these boots kill whoever wears them; or at least whoever wears them dies. They are more sought after than human life and they outlive those who wear them. Müller is the first to yearn for them, eyeing their sturdy soles, while their owner, Kemmerich, dies a long and painful death. Good boots mean healthier feet, which mean a stronger soldier, and a stronger soldier can protect himself against death better than a soldier with blisters and frostbitten toes. The boots allow us to see just how the war turns men into unfeeling beings bent on survival at all costs.