All Quiet on the Western Front

by: Erich Maria Remarque

Chapter Seven

Paul’s visit to Kemmerich’s mother likewise jeopardizes his ability to distance himself emotionally from his traumatic experiences. He faces the pain of a grieving mother, which threatens to open the gates of his own grief. He lies to her about the circumstances of her son’s death because he cannot deal with his own anguish at having watched a friend die so miserably. He swears to her that he is telling the truth on everything that he holds sacred, not only because he wants to escape but also because he no longer truly holds anything sacred.