Summary Of Diction In All Quiet On The Western Front

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In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, author Erich Maria Remarque adopts an exemplary use of diction and emotion to describe a critical moment in the life of the protagonist, Paul Bäumer, as he ends the life of the French soldier Gérard Duval. On a “patrol… sent out to discover just how strongly the enemy position is manned” (209), Paul dives into a shell hole for refuge from the lead storm above. Trapped, an alarmed Paul is forced to stay in the hole for an extended period of time as “minute after minute trickles away” (217), all the while fearfully attempting to escape. When the enemy troops begin to attack, Paul plans what he might do in advance in the event of one of them falling in the hole and finding him. He ultimately decides to pull his knife out as self-defense. When an enemy soldier stumbles and falls on top of him, without thinking and merely responding to survival instincts, Paul stabs the soldier. In that dire scene, Remarque depicts the entire perspective of war as it evolves for both the reader and the young Paul Bäumer. It is only until Paul (who represents the entirety of the armies) discovers what he has truly done as he kills and witnesses Gérard Duval’s life slowly drain from the pool of red on his chest, realizing that everybody is a human, much like himself. Upon the opening of this setting, Remarque develops the sense of anxiety and awakening. As Paul Bäumer sits in the claustrophobic, watery hole, all he thinks of is the want of silence
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