All Quiet on the Western Front

How are men like a flame?

This is from chapter 11
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"We are little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and sometimes almost go out. " ch 11

The metaphor speaks to how fragile their sanity is in war. By now, nearing the end of the war, their psyches are fragile. THey are like a small flame in a storm.