Juxtaposition In All Quiet On The Western Front

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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. As time passes, each of the soldiers slowly loses his sense of self, specifically seen when Bäumer and Kropp, a fellow soldier, cannot seem to recognize themselves in a regular life in the future after the war. Kropp then interprets this as a loss of preparedness because of war. Paul seems to agree as he reminisces, “We were eighteen
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Remarque ties this specific theme of World War I to deliver the problem of bringing soldiers with no experience in the world, representing an entire country and consequently dying in the Front because they were not mature enough to fully comprehend their surroundings to light. Bringing young people away from their lives and to war takes away any chance they have at a normal life, sooner or later putting them in an exceptionally weak mental
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