"To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapably into itself."
Summary by Jake Dudley & Patrick Ryan
In chapter four Paul, Peter, Katsiznsky, Tjanden, and Muller wake up and head to The Western Front in a transport truck. Kat describes the twelve inch mortar rounds and the fear that they entail to soldiers. Kat uses his “sixth sense” to tell his group of soldiers that they are going to be bombarded later that night.
Kat turns out to be correct, and at 10 PM the soldiers fall under heavy mortar and shell fire. All the soldiers took cover in lying close to the ground and Paul, while lying on the ground peering at the sky, notices that the mortar shells remind him of fireworks from back home. Many of the new recruits that were mentioned in the previous chapter were mentally ill prepared for the loud explosions and debris, being that this was there first time on the front.
Many of the new recruits that were mentioned in the previous chapter were mentally, ill prepared for the loud explosions and debris of being shelled, being that this was there first time on the front. These new recruits are in a graveyard, so some of the shells tear up coffins and graves, making wooden splinters fly around, and revealing the dead occupants. Soon the shells start to land close to the characters, and Paul loses hearing but has the sense of mind to remember to crawl into a hole made by a mortar, using the belief that mortars don't normally land in the same place twice. Eventually gas is deployed on the soldiers and Kat yells for Paul to put on the gas mask.
All the soldiers witness the horror of WWI mustard gas firsthand. After the shelling stops the next day they find one of the recruits with a crippled hip and arm. Kat wanted to shoot the man to put him out of his misery, but they end up just returning him back to their camp. The final death/injury count from the shelling was 8 wounded and 4 dead.
Analysis by Chewy Bruni, Hal Groome, & James Correia
In the book All Quiet on the Western front, the author Erich Maria Remarque uses descriptive images and actions to bring the reader to the Western Front. The author starts off the chapter by bringing the men and the rest of the army to the front of the battlefield. There they encounter a bombardment. The description of the bombardment that Remarque gives is a sad, yet amazing. The description of the bombardment, and relating it to nice fireworks, although it is a terrible war seen was amazing. You soon come to realize that the bombardment in nothing like fireworks, but terrible bombs that are blowing up the earth, and some people at its worst point. While Paul was in the middle of this warfare, he quickly dives under a coffin while the bombardment was surrounding him. Scared out of his mind Paul does not know what to do. The war is starting to control him, he cannot concentrate, he does not know what to do. So much, that when Kat tries to tell him to put his gas mask on because the bombardment has turned into gas warfare, he does not hear a word. He is just lying there, trying to make out what Kat is saying. When Kat leans into tell him, he finally hears, and escapes the suffocating feeling that would had been controlling him without it.
Kat in this chapter shows a great amount of knowledge and leadership, for example he predicted the that there would be a bombardment and he was right. In this chapter they actually call Kat “the old veteran,” he really leads Paul and all the characters in the book. During the bombardment he finds out that the enemy was using gasses, and he took the duty upon himself to tell as many people to through on there gas masks and spread the news that there was gas. During the midst of the bombardment he stumbled upon a soldier that was injured and in great pain, he quickly went to get a stretcher to aid this soldier. Kat ran for a stretcher he said “Shouldn't we just take a revolver and put a end to it?” I actually think this is an act of leadership, he thought about the soldier and about how much pain and misery he would be in the future. In this chapter shows Kats leader potential.
As the book continues, we will see more and more battles and bombardments. This bombardment had five killed and eight wounded. The interesting part about Chapter four was how it shows that the troops are never safe. The troops are faced with many challenges in just a night. As they are asleep and the troops begin to get bombarded, a man poops his pants. Although it could be considered as a silly thing, this shows that even the big soldiers have fears. I thought that that was a very necessary part in the book . Also when they are in the cemetery and the solider has sustained serious injuries, they are faced with the choice of putting a revolver to his head or making him suffer. This shows that some would rather die that face the pain that is presented to them after these serious injuries. As the soldiers are faced with gas, they are forced to quickly put their gas masks on.
“Gas – Gas – Gas… These first minutes with the mask decide between life and death: is it air-tight? I remember the awful sights in the hospital: the gas patients who in day-long suffocation cough up their burnt lungs in clots. Cautiously, the mouth applied to the valve, I breathe. The gas still creeps into the ground and sinks into all hollows.”
Imagine the horrors of being in that situation. Seeing your fellow “brothers” die before your eyes and have to deal with it just like that. This chapter was filled with the horrors of war and what affect it can have on some people.