Examples Of Modernism In All Quiet On The Western Front

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Conner Hansford
Mr. Seymore
Honors English 10
24 April 2017
Modernism in All Quiet on the Western Front
Some may view Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front as a materialistic story, promoting this mentality through Paul Baumer and his comrades’ attitudes that stay consistent throughout the entirety of the book. This can be supported by how Paul focuses on unimportant things whenever other soldiers die such as in the start of the book, accurately portraying what is described in Virginia Woolf’s “Modern Fiction”. The book eventually ends in this same materialistic mentality, mentioning Paul’s death with no real emphasis or importance. However, All Quiet on the Western Front is truly a story about how Paul starts the war confining …show more content…

In the beginning, all of the men including Paul were simply happy that they got double rations and ignored the fact that it was because 70 men had died. However, with Katczinsky’s death it is very different. Paul gets to take all of Kat’s possessions and even his paybook with all of the money Kat had earned, yet he does not care. Instead, he is in a clear state of shock and grief as he tries to comprehend that his closest friend had died. So, after Paul’s return to consciousness in the crater he has come to value important things such as human life more than unimportant things such as paybooks and rations, which is the exact opposite of Virginia Woolf’s definition of materialism, making All Quiet on the Western Front a Modernist …show more content…

This can be supported by how Paul behaves after his encounter with the Frenchman. Once he is able to leave the crater, his mindset leaves behind his previous Modernist realizations: “I think no more of the dead man, he is of no consequence to me now… ‘I will fulfil everything, fulfil everything I have promised you—” but already I know that I shall not do so” (Remarque 226). This quote shows that Paul is already returning back to his materialistic ignorance. However, that does not mean that he is completely abandoning it. Following his experience in the crater, Paul is able to return to a Modernist mentality much more frequently. However, in order to survive day to day in the trenches, he does admittedly have to follow a materialistic mentality. But, since the story follows a path of Paul learning to break free of a materialistic-focused mentality into a more conscious Modernist viewpoint, All Quiet on the Western Front is a Modernist

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