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Though the war does not haunt Paul when he is at home, he feels distanced from home life, emphasized by the civilian clothes he has out grown. He cannot relate to any civilians, most of all his family. His dealing with Kemmerich's mother is a more pronounced version of how he relates to his own mother; he protects her from the painful truth. Paul's mother, however, sees through him more clearly. She understands she may never see her son again. The irony, though, is that it may be from her death from cancer, not his from war. Paul wants to return to the front and his comrades in arms. Paul realizes that his home has not changed rather that he has changed.