War over a War Novel In the preface to All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque writes, “It [the novel] will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.” This quote shows that this book was written for the purpose of conveying how a generation was lost because of World War I. Two critics, however, differ over the validity of the author’s purpose because of the depiction of the horrors of war and portrayal of a soldier in All Quiet on the Western Front. The critic Modris Eksteins agrees with Remarque in arguing that Paul Bäumer embodies an everyman that represents the fate of a generation. On the other hand, William Pfeiler writes that the novel should not be taken seriously because it is about a certain type of naive soldier that does not represent an everyman. Although there is evidence in the novel to support both views, the idea that Paul represents a lost generation is stronger than the opinion that he represents an immature individual.
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. In order to emphasize the degree to which the soldiers in World War I changed emotionally, Paul juxtaposes the innocence of his youth with a primal instinct of desperate survival that forms from the brutality of the war.
The novel ends with, “ e fell in October, 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole Front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front” (140). Meaning that Paul died on a quiet day, a day when there wasn 't much action elsewhere on the Front. By the end of Remarque’s novel, the audience has seen the infernal assaults Paul has managed to survive, the fact that paul dies on a relatively peaceful day suggests that he was either comfortable with death, expecting it, or that he was so used to the violence he didn’t know what to do when it became quiet. The “expression of calm” that he died with leaves the audience knowing that he has found his peace. The impact the audience would have been shocked to see was that the war was so horrible that after all this fighting to stay alive, Paul was so relieved to die.
A gap between his destiny and reality define the comparison of what his life could've been. Paul could see his past in chapter 6, “a large portion inapprehensible melancholy….the memories are past, they belong to another place that is gone from us...And even if these scenes of our youth were given back to us we would hardly know what to do...I believe we are lost.” His reviewing of his old family album and childhood papers makes him realize there's no way to come back as the old Paul, there's no way to come back as the old him.Such events in the front has shaped his perspective in human beings, he has lost that compassion he used to held.Paul parents also realize that his life will never be the same. Also another piece that supports this evidence is Paul openness towards his feelings when seeing dying patients at the hospital:”...and all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things, all my generation is experiencing these things with me.”There for showing that all the cruelty Paul has suffered of the war is tag along the same experience towards his
All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel about Paul, a young German man who fights for the army on the French front in World War I. Paul and his classmates joined the German army after listening to the patriotic speeches of their teacher. After experiencing brutal training at the hands of the cruel Corporal Himmelstoss and brutality of life on the French front, Paul and his comrades have realized that the ideals of patriotism for which they enlisted are clichés. As a result, Paul and his friends no longer believe that war is glorious and they live in constant fear of death. "The abyss" to which Bäumer fears his thoughts will lead is the end of the World War I which has destroyed the lives of his comrades and his life predicated on a misconstrue
That’s what you are here for” (Remarque 228). When Paul killed Gerard Duval he was planning on throwing away his life and living for him. Without the comfort and assurance from his comrades Paul would have died from the guilt. This demonstrates how much these soldiers depend and need one another. In the novel it says, “Our only comfort is the steady breathing of our comrades asleep, and thus we wait for the morning” (Remarque 275).
In the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, displays that nihilism is a result of war. Throughout the book, several key events occur that point back to that theme, nihilism is a result of war. War fosters nihilism and creates a loss of innocence in the soldiers. The feeling of nihilism causes the soldiers to expect death, and channel their feelings into caring only about material things. This book, All Quiet on the Western Front, gives countless examples that point to the main theme, war causes nihilism.
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.
War habitually desensitizes and numbs the fighting soldiers due to the harsh, crippling events they have witnessed. War creates a feeling of endless hopelessness felt by the comrades during the war. In “All Quiet on the Western Front”, Erich Maria Remarque exposes the change of characterization of Paul Baumer from an innocent boy transformed by the monstrosities of war into a desensitized soldier by repeating the pattern of soldiers going to the front, being at the front, and then being away from the front to expose the personal destruction caused by it. On the way to the front, the comrades are experiencing rising anxiety and intimidating tension from the realization of the unavoidability death on the frontline. For example Baumer is thinking, “Every time it is the same.
Never before had a war lasted so long or with such a terrible and destructive death toll. It brought in the new century with an unconscious amount of violence, death, and gore. In Erich Maria Remarque 's war novel "All Quiet on the Western Front," a young man by the name of Paul Baumer remembers and retells his personal story as a German soldier in World War I. Although his accounts are based on a fabricated idea they are based on an actuality that many men had to genuinely endure during their fight front experiences in World War I. There are a large number of themes and ideas in this novel that range from the overall depiction of World War I to the personal struggle of a soldier in comparison to what the people from back home believes what is happening during the war.