All Quiet On The Western Front

1089 WordsOct 18, 20165 Pages
In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, human nature is the only abstract periphery between belligerent barbarism and justifiable violence. Through the insipid bombardments that rained shells over the Germans’ heads and noxious implementation of mustard gas, Remarque dexterously misleads the reader into believing that he fights in an apathetic war where all remnants of human nature and identity have been destroyed with the introduction of trench warfare. Through Paul Baumer’s eyes, Remarque identifies war as an artificial construct devoid of human identity and any subsequent emotions until the first bombardment, the first glimpse Baumer has of the unfettered abominations of war. After the shrieking of artillery shells ceased, it was replaced by the numbing scream of injured horses. Paul described this abhorrent noise as “the moaning of the world…, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning” (Remarque 62), the first emotionally provocative scene in the novel. As if the description of the noise did not suffice to pique the reader, Remarque continues, “The belly of one is ripped open, the guts trail out. He becomes tangled in them and falls…” (Remarque 63). At this instant, Remarque sheds the obscure layer of superficiality and reveals the tatters of human nature and identity still exist even in most anguish conditions of comeradeship, sympathy, contrition, and selflessness. As the war worsens, Baumer and his colleagues gradually

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