The rise of World War I caused millions of casualties and was yet another demonstration of how supposedly civilized nations could be led into a chaotic war of power over lands and people. Since the beginning of civilization, war has been the way of the world. However, with major advances in technology, this idea of war has since become mechanized and deadlier. There is no doubt that the powerful men who lead wars often don’t care to think of nitty gritty of war, to them, rather, it’s a matter of power and legacy. In Remarque’s novel, the particular story of Paul and his comrades is a perfect example of how a generation can be used and manipulated to drive the agenda of power- hungry men. Through Remarque’s own personal experience and unparalleled writing ability, this novel presents many first-hand experiences into the living conditions of soldiers and peoples.
WWI affected many soldiers’ lives, it not only affected them physically but mentally as well. The war completely changed their mindsets, from being joyful, caring, and full of hopes and dreams to these men that no longer see war as something that gives them pride, glory, and grace, but something that has brought them terror, hopelessness, and made them insensitive to things that use to bring them happiness. Warfare pressured them to the point where they had to change in order to survive. Soldiers wouldn’t care if they saw one of their closest friends dying in front of them, but instead they’ll care about how much food they’re eating and if it is enough for each one of them, because all they care about is surviving and their survival methods. In All Quiet on the Western Front Remarque uses Paul
He was alone. There were so many dead people lying on the ground, and an awful smell of cigar smoke, gunpowder, and dirt that filled the air. There was no nationalism; all Paul wanted was survival. World War I was supposed to be about nationalism and the propaganda forced upon the soldiers to feel superiority over other countries, but Paul helps to prove otherwise, as his story tells what is was like to be at the front, and how tough it was to be a soldier. “All Quiet on the Western Front” portrays war as it was actually experienced, replacing the romantic picture of glory and heroism with an unromantic vision of fear and a meaninglessness feeling. “All Quiet on the Western Front” gives the impression that it is an antiwar novel, due to the deterioration of the war as life becomes meaningless and how brutal Paul and his fellow soldiers’ lives were as the novel went along as there is no nationalism to catalyze their fighting.
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.
More often than not, war novels romanticize the soldier on the battle field as a heroic figure that would gladly die for his county’s honor. Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”, paints a vividly different picture than one of a patriotic soldier willing to be at war. Remarque’s work masterfully shows that the soldier’s expectations of war could not be any further from society’s concept of warfare. “All Quiet on the Western Front” follows a young and innocent soldier, Paul Baumer, through the living Hell that is World War I. Through Paul’s character, Remarque’s antiwar novel demonstrates that war is nothing but, irrational, patriotic fueled violence that turns humans into insensible soldiers, while simultaneously indicating that their lives have no meaning.
It’s no surprise that soldiers will more-than-likely never come home the same. Those who have not served do not often think of the torment and negative consequences that the soldiers who make it out of war face. Erich Remarque was someone who was able to take the torment that he faced after his experience in World War I and shed light on the brutality of war. Remarque was able to illustrate the psychological problems that was experienced by men in battle with his best-selling novel All Quiet on the Western Front (Hunt). The symbolism used in the classic anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front is significant not only for showing citizens the negative attributes of war, but also the mental, physical, and emotional impact that the vicious war had on the soldiers.
This essay will consider the different effects created by Erich Maria Remarque in his novel All Quiet on the Western Front. As a writer, Remarque unknowingly left his novel open to readers with completely different perspectives, and to various forms of criticism. This undoubtedly meant that every single reader had been affected by the novel in many different ways which unfortunately for Remarque may have been an effect that he never intended. This essay is divided into 5 main sections. Firstly it will address any of the intentions Remarque could have possibly wanted to propose through his novel, and closely examine the purposes and motives behind All quiet on the Western Front. It will then go on to analyse Remarque’s use of language in various extracts of the novel. Then the content is analysed in two parts; the third part is a brief insight into one of the key themes of the novel, and the fourth part highlights the effects Remarque causes. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn as to whether or Remarque may have intended to achieve a certain effect in his novel, and as to whether or not I personally agree with the comment that through his shaping of language and content, Remarque may have achieved an effect he might not have intended.
In Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, soldiers at the front have a better idea than civilians of the true nature of war because they have experienced the war while civilians have only read about it or listened to government propaganda. Remarque is trying to tell us that only those who experience the war can understand how awful war truly is.
1. Paul Baumer and his friends, as German soldiers in World War I, collectively fight any who oppose the German army. However, Corporal Himmelstoss is an enemy whose transgressions are taken far more personally by Paul and his friends. Himmelstoss often torments Paul and his comrades for the sake of doing so, as he is power-driven and tries to exert control over others whenever he can. It is never stated that the soldiers hate or even dislike the enemies that they fight daily on the battlefield; yet they disfavor Himmelstoss openly. In addition, they all begin to harbor distaste for their former teacher, Kantorek, for encouraging them to join the army. All of the men also struggle against the knowledge that
Mahatma Gandhi, a renowned political and spiritual leader, once said that, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.” Presume you see two men in a heated argument and one of them is about to attack the other, you take a rock and throw it at him and knock him out. On one hand it is a good thing that you prevented the attack but on the other hand you used violence yourself, and there is no doubt that you would not hesitate to use it again. The good that came from the violence that you used lasted for a short time, but the punishment that you get for doing this lasts for a long time. Imperialism of rivalries and nationalism were two of the main reasons that most
Written by Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front is the tale of a young man by the name of Paul. Paul who is nineteen years old gathers several of his friends from school and together they voluntarily join the army fighting for the Axis alliance. Before they are sent off into actual battle, they are faced with the brutal training camp. Along with this they face the cruelty of the life of a soldier. This made them question the reason for which a soldier fights. They are told that they fight because they must be nationalists and must therefore be patriotic. But they began to understand that these are just clichés and are used to brainwash soldiers. Soon after they graduate they are sent into the fray of war. The premature idea of war being glorious and honourable is destroyed when they step into the gruesome actuality of war. They are forced to live in constant fear for their life. Kemmerich, a friend of Paul, gets injured and contracts gangrene. From this his leg is amputated to stop the infection from spreading. Sadly, the operation was done too late and Kemmerich is declared to be slowly dying. Paul and his friend visit Kemmerich is slowly dying, and Müller, another former classmate, overlooks Kemmerich’s horrible state and says that he wants Kemmerich’s boots for himself. Accustomed to life at war, Paul doesn’t consider Müller insensitive. Paul understands that Muller knows Kemmerich will no longer use his boots
The greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, is a novel that depicted the hardships of a group of teenagers who enlisted in the German Army during World War 1. Enlisting right out of high school forced the teens to experience things they had never thought of. From the life of a soilder on the front line to troubles with home life, war had managed to once again destroy a group of teenagers.
“He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to a single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front” (Remarque 296). Paul Baumer, the narrator of All Quiet on the Western Front, enlisted into the German army at a young age of nineteen with a group of friends from school. Kantorek, Paul’s teacher, “gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandant and volunteered” (Remarque 11). After Paul and his friends underwent the ten weeks of horrific training, under the control of brutal Corporal Himmelstoss, they found out that everything Kantorek had told them about the war being illustrious was inaccurate. Paul and his fellow combatants experienced the war to be an alienating event that led the young men to feel alone because of the relationships between the young men at the front, the problems Paul faced when returning home, and the prewar and wartime civilian society.
In All Quiet on the Western Front Paul witness all the horrors of war. He sees death crawling towards the wounded soldiers in the wood, hospital, and on the front. When a soldier was wounded it killed them, they lost a limb or they got sent back to the front. Another awful part of war is soldiers would get shot and stranded out in the woods. They would yell for help, but were never found. Mental wounds were another injury of war. Paul would see people go insane on the front and some soldiers got shellshock. The worst part of the war for Paul was watching all of his comrades die, and his connection with the ones he loved at home fade away. The horrors of war is clearly represented in both Battle Scars and All Quiet on the Western Front with physical wounds, mental wounds, and loss of loved ones.
Professor’s Comments: This is a good example of a book review typically required in history classes. It is unbiased and thoughtful. The Student explains the book and the time in which it was written in great detail, without retelling the entire story… a pitfall that many first time reviewers may experience.