When we first meet him, he's in ecstasy over the excess food rations made available by the death of so many soldiers. This scene underlines a couple of key facets of Tjaden's character: he's a pragmatist and a hedonist, someone whose huge appetites allow him to get through the psychological horrors of war. He's the guy who has the bright idea to seduce some French women with a meal of army rations, after all: the guy knows that pleasure can alleviate fear and albeit briefly. Tjaden's death is tragic but fitting: he dies after a long battle march when the troop is malnourished.
Tjaden in the Essays