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Stanislaus Katczinsky in All Quiet on the Western Front

Instructor: J.R. Hudspeth

Jackie has taught college English and Critical Thinking and has a Master's degree in English Rhetoric and Composition

In ''All Quiet on the Western Front,'' Stanislaus Katczinsky, or Kat, is main character Paul Baumer's closest comrade on the battlefields of World War I. Read on for a short summary of the character and how his relationship with Paul is important to the themes of the novel!

Introduction

Paul Baumer, the main character and narrator of All Quiet on the Western Front, struggles to handle the death and violence that he sees during his time fighting for the German Army in World War I. His experiences are so shocking that he feels that even his own family can no longer understand him. He turns to his comrades -- his fellow soldiers -- for emotional support. Stanislaus Katczinsky, or Kat as everyone calls him, is one of these soldiers. Their friendship helps Paul to cope with the horrors of war.

Meet Kat

Kat is described as 'small and stooping.' He is an older man, about forty years old, and Paul calls him 'shrewd, cunning, and hard-bitten.' Kat's life as a poor farmer has given him the experience needed to survive hard times, and he is counted on to find food and supplies where none seem to be available.

As an older soldier, Kat is something of a leader for the other men, many of whom are in their late teens and early twenties (Paul, for example, is about 18 when the story begins). When the company cook refuses to serve the squad because so many men died in the squad's last battle, Kat speaks out against the cook's harshness, asking the cook 'to be generous for once' and arguing that the food is 'for the Second Company. Let's have it then. We are the Second Company.' His words spring the other soldiers to action, and they eventually have their way.

Kat also speaks with the wisdom of experience in life about the war. He mocks the leaders of the army for trying to instill discipline in the troops rather than keeping the troops rested and trained enough to win the war: 'You can take it from me, we are losing the war because we can salute too well.' What the army leaders see as discipline, Kat sees as pointless. He believes that the leaders of the war are simply prolonging the effort because they have more power than the typical soldier, and that if everyone had 'the same grub and the same pay,' the war would be over much more quickly. Kat's ideas about the war are shared by other soldiers, and he surely has some influence on their thoughts whenever they discuss the war because of his age and stature in the group.

Kat, a character in All Quiet on the Western Front, acts as a father figure to the younger soldiers. He teaches them how to survive during the war.
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The Friendship of Kat and Paul

Paul describes his relationship with Kat as one of brotherhood; furthermore, their relationship is also reminiscent of a father-son relationship. Paul's relationship with his own father is strained, but Kat takes on the role of Paul's father by teaching Paul how to survive the war.

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