All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front

Chapters 11-12

What do you think is symbolic about Kemmerich's boots?

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Paul describes how Müller was shot point-blank in the stomach. Before he died, Müller gave Paul his boots--originally Kemmerich's. Paul has promised to give them to Tjaden next.

Müller's death and transfer of Kemmerich's boots develops the boots' deathly associations--Paul is already making plans for who shall get them next, as if his death is an inevitability. Not only is the physical material of the boots more permanent than the bodies of the soldiers, but in practical terms, it is more valuable.