All Quiet on the Western Front
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Paul seems to get much pleasure from nature at the training camp. At this camp, Paul feels rather alone, he doesn't have his friends with him. He spends his time musing about natural beauty in the midst of most unnatural warfare. Paul rests his mind in, "The grasses and the flowers of the heather...the fine sand (that) is composed of millions of the tiniest pebbles...but most beautiful are the woods with their line of birch trees". The Russian prisoners represent the dehumanizing waste of war. Paul feels sorry for them. They have become hollow men, they have given up. They live, more or less, in cages. They used to sing and play music but now they just beg for food. Paul notes that they had even stopped "masturbating". I'm not sure how Paul knows this!