All Quiet On The Western Front: Thematic Analysis

560 Words3 Pages
Works Cited: The introduction to the edition I 'm listening to is by General John W. Vessey Jr., and therein he describes it as an anti-war novel, comparing it to The Red Badge of Courageand All Quiet on the Western Front. I can see a bit of why that might be. Damon is a very good officer, who cares about his men but is also good at fighting and deeply committed to seeing his objectives through. He 's horrified by the things that he sees while at the same time seeing them as necessary. In a long conversation after the Armistice with his mentor/commanding officer (one of the weak points of the novel one has to ignore is that there 's a tendency of the author to pontificate a bit through his characters) Damon talks about how there must never be another war, how after seeing the horrors of this war politicians and nations must find anohter way to solve their disputes, while his mentor (who is…show more content…
It provides a viscerally realistic portrayal of combat, a by turns uplifting and sad portrayal of the friendships and emotions shared by men under constant threat of death, and most of all a clear (at times to the point of heavy-handed) portrayal of what it means to be a good officer who leads from the front and seeks to get the utmost effort out of his men, while caring about their lives more than is own. This got me thinking a bit about what makes a novel "anti-war". Of the novels that I 've read which I 've heard described as "anti-war", the description often seems earned by conveying sentiments such as "combat is horrific", "war creates terrible destruction" and "doing violence wound even the victor". And yet, these don 't seem like ideas that are necessarily in the sense of "pacifist" or "believing that war is always worse than its alternative". They are incompatible with the claim "war is a positive good in and of itself", but one would have to be pretty appallingly deluded to think
Open Document