Please help with homework All Quiet On The Western Front : When Paul encounters the Russian prisoners

When Paul encounters the Russian prisoners, he recognizes that they are human beings, like him. While thinking about these prisoners, he muses that he would have to shoot them if they were again in battle. He then stops and considers: I am frightened. I dare not think this way no more. This way lies the abyss. It is not now the time but I will not lose these thoughts. I will keep them, shut them away until the war is ended. My heart beats fast: this is the aim, the great, the sole aim, that I have thought of in the trenches; that I have looked for as the only possibility of existence after this annihilation of all human feeling; this is a task that will make life afterward worthy of these hideous years. (194). Do you believe that Paul lives up to this ideal in the rest of the story? Does his killing of the man who stumbles into his trench nullify these thoughts? Do you think that his goal is noble, even if he is faced with the possibility of killing other men?

Asked on 06.06.2017 in English Literature.
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