With the end of a world war comes the beginning of rebuilding---picking up the pieces and returning, or at least trying to return, to normalcy. It is when the smoke finally clears that the true damage can be assessed. Yet, for authors like Erich Maria Remarque and Kurt Vonnegut, it is the damage that can’t be seen, the damage that lingers, the damage that clearly has a start but no end, that is the worst. In 1929, Remarque channeled those lingering remnants of his time as a German soldier in World War I through the physical and mental tumult of Paul Bäumer in All Quiet on the Western Front. Forty years later, Vonnegut expressed the lasting impression World War II had on him through Billy Pilgrim’s adventures across time in Slaughterhouse Five. …show more content…
In Slaughterhouse Five, when faced with a horrifying or otherwise sad event, Billy simply responds “So it goes” (Vonnegut 35). Throughout the book, whenever something tragic or upsetting occurs, Billy brushes it aside by repeating these words. He dismisses the horror, rather than facing it, because it is the only way he knows how to cope with what he has experienced. “So it goes.” which appears 106 times in the novel, is a distinct example of Billy’s inability to cope with the atrocities of his experience in war. His desensitization is both an example of his struggles during the war and the PTSD that haunts him every day thereafter. If a soldier were to absorb every horror he saw, he would be incapable of surviving much longer than the war itself. Comparing Billy’s life of misery after World War II to those who were brutally slaughtered begs the question of who had the better end---the man who died young, or the man who, while still alive, doesn’t know how to live? The answer that Vonnegut conveys is that neither man wins. In war, there are no winners. Only those who escaped with the least amount of pain. In All Quiet on the Western Front, rather than dismissing the atrocities he has seen, Paul contemplates his life realizing “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over …show more content…
Paul and his friends consider their efforts in fighting and realize "It's queer, when one thinks about it...we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?” (Remarque 203) In war, it is easy to forget that no one believes themselves to be the “bad guys.” It is believed that each respective side is fighting for what’s right, which makes those in opposition in the wrong. If both sides of any conflict believe that the other side is “wrong,” no one can ever be truly “right.” The irony of being unable to identify a “right” and “wrong” side of World War I solidifies Remarque’s message that war is a purposeless entity that does nothing but destroy. His message applies to a broader philosophy that there is truly no reason to kill one another. The soldiers attempt to come to an answer asking, “Then what exactly is the war for?” and realizing, “There must be some people to whom the war is useful. ‘Well, I'm not one of them,’ grins Tjaden. ‘Not you, nor anybody else here’” (Remarque 205). In this exchange, Tjaden calls into question the reason for their fighting, pointing out that the soldiers who fight in the war have little use for it. They are not the ones who gain power and land, but are rather the ones who lose their lives to protect a thankless country. Remarque uses the irony of soldiers
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Throughout the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the narrator of the story, Paul Baumer goes through the realization how joining the war was destroying his and others’ youth while turning people against each other. Remarque uses the phrase “abyss of sorrow” as figurative language to describe the suffering and heartbreak the young boys experience in the front line, earning the generation of boys that served in World War 1 the name “the Lost Generation”. After Paul observes the pain of the prisoners that he is assigned to watch, he sees for himself “how people are set against one another, and in silence…slay one another”. Just because two sides are waging war, people are brainwashed or persuaded to sacrifice themselves for a fight that is
World War I had millions of deaths but the soldiers did not want those deaths. The book All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is based around the outlook of a young soldier named Paul Baumer during World War I. The book shows all the ins and outs of what it was like as a soldier in World War I. Through the view of Paul we see an abundance of deaths. In AQotWF Erich Maria Remarque shows in war, one’s supposed enemy may not be one’s actual enemy--by using indirect characterization.
Remarque uses dehumanizing diction and internal conflict in Gerad Duval's death scene to convey that the nature of war forces soldiers to degrade
Perhaps one of the most gruesome scenes depicting the horrors of World War I in All Quiet on the Western Front is when Paul sees all the dead and wounded
This quote exemplifies how even though they are on opposite sides of the war they are not inherently enemies but rather forced into the position by their commanding officers. It is not personal animosity or lasting hatred that employs the soldiers to kill the common enemy soldier, instead, it is the doing of their superiors who forced these men into the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. Highlighting the arbitrary nature of war and the control authority and leadership take in shaping the course of the conflict. On page 205, it claims, “Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers.”
It focuses on the journey and the experiences of Paul, a young soldier, and his friends as they enter the war to battle along the front. Unfortunately, the war resulted in a harsh and agonizing time period for Paul and the other men that took part in it. The inhuman parts of the war brutally impacted soldiers, putting them through a period of pain and torture. Remarque’s expressions of the cruel and futile aspects of the war developed a vast effect on the lives of many soldiers during the period of conflict. They experienced many agonizing parts of the way, including massive and threatening bombardments, explosions, gas attacks, shellings, and even death.
Kropp states in the book that “we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who’s in the right?”, furthermore showing that they (Germans) are not even sure if they are on the right side (Remarque 203). They are sacrificing their lives for something they don’t even know if they are in the right. The quote shows that the soldiers don’t even understand what they are fighting for, and when u think about if it is so important to win, why do they not know what they want to win for?
Both Remarque and Hemingway use the technique of juxtaposition to demonstrate the meaningless nature of patriotic idealism in the face of war. In ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Paul Bäumer and his classmates enlist into the army under the nationalistic ideology that all citizens should give unquestioning loyalty to the state, as represented by Kantorek’s persuasive preaching in which he asks “You’ll all go, won’t you lads?”1. However, when Kantorek writes his former pupils a patriotic letter, the men begin to realise that they despise him for sending them to die for empty ideals. By using the phrase “young men of iron”2 he implies that the men are young however, they feel that the horror of war has aged them prematurely, beyond their nineteen
The author compares the soldiers because he wants the readers
Millions of people have gone through life-altering experiences in their time in World War I. In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Bäumer, a 19-year-old German soldier, narrates his personal memoirs of this war. He describes the mental change and suffering he goes through as he is forced to mature from a young boy to a soldier in order to survive, leaving him permanently scarred from the throes of war. By employing juxtaposition to contrast Paul’s mindset, before and after the war, Remarque demonstrates how the mental health of the World War I soldiers is damaged because of the abrupt loss of their youth, leaving them in a state of survival and mental instability.
Erich Maria Remarque, a World War I veteran, took his own personal war experience to paper, which resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed anti-war movement novels of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front. The voice of the novel, Paul Baumer, describes his daily life as a soldier during the First World War. Through the characters he creates in the novel, Remarque addresses his own issues with the war. Specifically, Remarque brings to light the idea of the “Iron Youth,” the living conditions in the trenches, and the sense of detachment soldiers feel, among other things. Therefore, All Quiet on the Western Front criticizes the sense of nationalism, which war tends to create among citizens by quickly diminishing any belief regarding it as a glorious and courageous act.
War is a harsh reality that is inflicted upon the unwilling through the “need” of it’s predecessors and those whom wish it. All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is about 19 year old Paul and his friends in the “Second Company”. Even though they are just out of school age, they have already seen things that many could not bear to even think about. Eventually, all of his friends die, and even Paul too, dies. Remarque uses diction and syntax as literary devices to express his anti-war theme, or lesson.
When Paul and his friends are fighting on the front lines they are presented with a very dark and scary tone. They have constant bombardments and worry about the death of friends. They are constantly worried about gas attacks and it gives them a feeling of uncomfort, stress, and tension. When every Paul and his unit are at the camps it is very peaceful and they have lots of food. They wish they can stay there because they feel safe they run around and tell stories by the campfire.
Despite creativity and authentic stories that war books possess, they are not accessible everywhere. All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque, is a book about the hardships of war. The author went against The author challenges authority and extreme nationalism. The Nazis, in the 1930’s, publicly burned this book as it was deemed anti-government and anti-military. This book includes many fascinating quotes that lead the reader to believe that the author is in fact against war, and while the book does clearly state against war in some quotes, the true meaning of this book is found in between the lines.
The war novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque depicts one protagonist, Paul, as he undergoes a psychological transformation. Paul plays a role as a soldier fighting in World War I. His experiences during the war are not episodes the average person would simply experience. Alternatively, his experiences allow him to develop into a more sophisticated individual. Remarque illustrates these metamorphic experiences to expose his theme of the loss of not only people’s lives but also innocence and tranquility that occurs in war.