All Quiet on the Western Front

1272 WordsApr 23, 20146 Pages
The book, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque can be identified with many themes. Whether the theme is loyalty to friends, the unbelievable suffering at the hands of other human beings, or the beauty of nature in contrast to the horrors of war, none of those are as fitting as the theme: betrayal by adults. The manipulation performed by a trusted schoolmaster, the awful treatment done by someone who is called a leader, and parents going along with what society thinks is right versus what their sons want, all are important factors that explain why betrayal by adults is the central idea of this story. In Remarque’s book, the main character, Paul Baümer and his comrades all have a bitter feeling towards their once…show more content…
He hunted up another piss-a-bed... and quartered him with Tjaden.... Himmelstoss put these two so that one occupied the upper and the other the lower bunk. The man underneath of course had a vile time. The next night they were changed over and the lower one put on top so that he could retaliate. That was Himmelstoss’s system of self-education.” (page 45 and 46) This quote proves how terrible of a person Himmelstoss is indeed. What makes it even worse is that he is supposed to be the one pushing the soldiers to be better soldiers and discipline them in the right way. The way he does things, brings out the childish and vengeful sides of the men and that is not something that soldiers should feel for someone who is fighting for the same thing and is on their own squad. Himmelstoss’s actions are considered as betrayal because of the fact that he is supposed to be admired and respected by his comrades, because of his higher rank but instead is hated. Taking advantage of his rank and performing terrible acts, like what he did to Tjaden, only make the young soldiers hesitate to trust adults like him. Betrayal by adults is a common occurrence in Remarque’s story. This betrayal is the worst of all because of the fact that they are their parents. Parents are supposed to comfort their children, and also support them and be on their sides when making tough decisions. In All Quiet on the Western Front, this was not what happened. Deciding whether

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