All Quiet On The Western Front War Analysis

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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. Like the critic Pfeiler claims, All Quiet on the Western Front can be seen as a unique biography about one man, Paul Bäumer, who is changed by the horrors of war and the experiences that come along with it. Before going to war, Paul is a studious young man that has a close…show more content…
In agreement with Eksteins, Paul’s generation is lost psychologically and bodily. All Quiet on the Western Front is not just the biography of one man as Pfeiler argues but rather the story of many men. Men that had potential to become more than dead soldiers. In the end, a lost generation exists from the dead that will not return home and the living that will return home as different people. Paul’s generation has lost its potential and energy to the war. Because of this, Paul Bäumer is an everyman that stands for his generation lost to the deadly fighting of World War
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