When Detering glimpses a blooming cherry tree while coming back from the front, he is reminded of the beautiful farm with cherry orchards that he left behind. The memory is so compelling that he deserts. While the cherry tree holds particular meaning for Detering, it symbolizes the lives that all of the men have left behind, lives that had just begun to bloom.
The Cherry Tree Symbol Timeline in All Quiet on the Western Front
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cherry Tree appears in All Quiet on the Western Front. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...to diminish the effects of war, the men begin to break down. Detering passes a blossoming cherry tree and becomes fixated on it. He takes branches off the tree and carries them with... (full context)