how do any of the characters describe the trenches and their condition?
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The rats have become much more numerous lately because the trenches are no longer in good condition.
The forward trenches have been abandoned. Are they still trenches? They are blown to pieces, annihilated--there are only broken bits of trenches, holes linked by cracks, nests of craters, that is all.
Two are smashed so that Tjaden remarks you could scrape them off the wall of the trench with a spoon and bury them in a mess-tin. Another has the lower part of his body and his legs torn off. Dead, his chest leans against the side of the trench, his face is lemon-yellow, in his beard still burns a cigarette.
All Quiet on the Western Front