All Quiet on the Western Front by Ericha Maria Remarque
935 Words4 Pages
“I think it [war] is more of a kind of fever. No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing- and yet half the world is in it all the same. (206)” Erich Remarque describes how war is an odd sort of happening through Albert Kropp, one of the most intelligent young men of Paul Bäumer’s company. Remarque, himself a German World War 1 veteran, uses the characters of Paul’s company to channel his frustrations from his experiences during the war. The vivid imagery used to describe bombardments and life at the front allows the reader to visualize the reality of warfare. It’s bloody, messy, and repulsive. Extreme detail aids Remarque in exposing the atrocities of war, and its repercussions. All Quiet on the Western Front focuses on an anti-war theme, and how war itself has no purpose other than to be savage and wasteful.
Some aspects of the novel serve as symbol for important things Remarque would like the audience to note. Kemmerich’s boots are the most prominent example. The soft leather boots are passed down from man to man after one dies, and it isn’t thought of in depth. Kemmerich takes them from a deceased airman, and after he dies, Müller is the owner. Paul then inherits the boots from Müller. The footwear symbolises the nonchalance of war, and how one must remain practical. Paul realizes this as he observes Müller hound Kemmerich for his boots. Schoolmaster Kantorek, the old teacher of Paul, serves