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Chapter 1 Questions. Why do the men have a double ration of food? When they were at the front they were ‘taken by surprise by long-range shelling…’ (p2) and 70 men were killed. What is symbolic about Leer’s name?

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chapter 1 questions
Chapter 1 Questions
  • Why do the men have a double ration of food?
    • When they were at the front they were ‘taken by surprise by long-range shelling…’ (p2) and 70 men were killed.

What is symbolic about Leer’s name?

    • He is ‘obsessed’ with prostitutes and has a ‘lusty’ look toward them. (Leer means to ‘ogle’ or stare).

What is the double horror of Behm’s death?

    • He had only been knocked unconscious when he was first shot. Then – because he had been blinded by the first shot – he was crawling around in no-man’s land and was killed before anyone could get out to fetch him. (p8)

What does Muller want?

    • To take the School Leaving Diploma after the war (under special provisions). (p2)
    • Kemmerich’s airforceboots

Where are the men ‘at rest’?

    • Five miles behind the front line (p1)

What does Kantorek call the boys? Is this accurate?

    • He calls them ‘young men of iron’. They are young of years – 19 and 20 – but none of them feel young. They now feel that they are ‘old now’. (p13)

Why do the men feel hostile towards Ginger?

    • ‘thanks to him’ they had gotten their food ‘far too late, and cold into the bargain’ – because he did not want to bring his field kitchen to close to the shellfire (unlike some of the other companies). (p4)

What has changed about these men?

    • They have learned how to cope with the embarrassment of using the communal toilet (p5)
    • Their experience of shell-fire and other war had opened their eyes to the reality of war and that there was ‘nothing left’ of the old world. (p9)
    • They now view authority with distrust – especially their once-loved teacher Kantorek.

Why does Muller wish Kantorek was there?

    • Because he was the one who had convinced them to go to the war. The wish is ironic – why shouldn’t the man who ‘sold them’ the war also be there fighting it? (p7)

What attitudes about war are held by the ‘poor and simple’ vs. those who were ‘better off’?

    • They saw the war as a ‘disaster right from the start’ whereas the better off thought of the war as a good thing and were ‘overjoyed’ despite their education and awareness of the world. (p8)

What is Muller’s plan for Kemmerich’s boots? Do you think this is cruel?

    • Muller plans to keep Kemmerich’s boots for himself. This could be considered cruel because Muller is more worried about the boots, but the reality of it is that they see so much death out there, and for Muller to survive, he must look out for his own needs well beyond Kemmerich’s death.
    • In this case, he must consider how to replace his worn boots with Kemmerich’s before his are so worn out that he can’t function on the front.

What does the theft of Kemmerich’s watch tell us about the moral decay fostered by war?

    • That even as a man is dying, others are only thinking about their own needs or wants – they have become animals, only worried about survival.

Although the novel is told from the German point-of-view, what universal view does it offer of war?

    • That death corrupts and takes the humanity slowly from all men no matter their background.

Why is Paul bitter in his feelings toward Kantorek?

    • Because they feel tricked by his claims of courage and bravery into their participation in the war.