Currently, I’m reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. It’s a really great novel. It’s heartbreaking and bleak, and it conveys the horrors of WWI, and indeed, war in general, to the modern reader. There are many beautifully written passages, some of which I will reproduce here in my blog.
At any rate, at one point during the story, two German recruits beat up their boot camp sergeant, who was an unfair mean bastard, before heading off to the front. One of the recruits exclaims savagely after the beating, “Revenge is black pudding.”
The other recruit doesn’t know what that means. Black pudding is another name for blood sausage, which is made by cooking blood and filler long enough so that it congeals when cooled. What he meant by that was that revenge tastes good. There was no turning the other cheek in this character’s heart, that’s for sure.
I like the phrase.
And now for some quotes:
Outside the door I am aware of the darkness and the wind as a deliverance. I breathe as deep as I can, and feel the breeze in my face, warm and soft as never before. Thoughts of girls, of flowery meadows, of white clouds suddenly come into my head. My feet begin to move forward in my boots, I go quicker, I run. Soldiers pass by me, I hear their voices without understanding. The earth is streaming with forces which pour into me through the soles of my feet. The night crackles electrically, the front thunders like a concert of drums. My limbs move supplely, I feel my joints strong, I breathe the air deeply. The night lives, I live. I feel a hunger, greater than comes from the belly alone.
We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers–we reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals.