As a war develops and progresses, the soldiers of the battlefield are haunted by images of gunfire and the stench of death that are still present in the mind. Paul Baumer, a main character in the novel All Quiet On The Western Front written by Erich Mariaremarque, often describes how war creates feelings of isolation and dehumanization cause by its trench warfare; at the same time, however, he provides examples of experiences in war which might make the young soldiers more human. As Paul Baumer progresses through the book, picturing empty coffins, meeting a Russian prisoner, and losing classmates creates a feeling of isolation and dehumanization for the main character. In the beginning in the story before the soldiers enter the front, empty coffins are spotted in a deserted schoolhouse off the road. .
First, as the soldiers trudge to the front line, empty coffins are spotted in a deserted schoolhouse on the side of the road. The soldiers begin to laugh and joke about the coffins, knowing that the coffins are for them if they die. "You be thankful if you get much as a coffin," grins Tjaden, "they"ll slip you a waterproof sheet for your old Aunt Sally of a carcase" (99). The stacked coffins are a symbol of isolation. After a soldier dies in war, they will never return. The lonesome soldier will be lonely forever because of the suitable room for one. The story begins to move on and during the war the soldiers capture a Russian soldier. .
Second, the war begins to move on and while in the battle the soldiers and Paul Baumer capture a prisoner known as the Russian soldier. Paul Baumer begins to connect with the Russian soldier and takes pity on the poor fellow. Paul thinks of all the suffering that the poor man must wallow in. Paul pushes away the orders of maim, shoot, imprison, and kill. He shares his cigarettes and entertains the prisoner with piano music. "They are more human and more brotherly towards one another, it seems to me, than we are" (192).