Lost Generation In All Quiet On The Western Front

1080 Words5 Pages

In All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque provides the experiences of young soldiers in World War I, known as the lost generation, that lose themselves mentally and physically, and the narrative also shows the widespread consequences of the war on regular civilians. The lost generation refers to the numerous deaths, injuries, and mental health problems that haunt the "young" soldiers and makes it impossible to ever be innocent and young again. Paul struggles through his visits with his family because his mother's cancer makes Paul emotional and with acquaintances because he can not relate with them. Many of Paul's fellow soldiers experience death in the novel, which shows the horrors of war and its physical consequences. Also, …show more content…

At the Bier Haus, Paul's old principal downplays Paul's criticism of the war: '"The details, yes,' says he, 'but this relates to the whole. And of that you are not able to judge. You see only your little sector and so cannot have any general survey'" (Remarque 167). Germany's nationalism and propaganda skews the principal's belief of seeing the bigger picture and knowing more about the war than Paul, who actually fights in it but can only see his "little sector." As Paul's return comes to an end and he learns about his mother's cancer, he realizes that the trip leaves him feeling weak as a soldier and emotionally: "Out there I was indifferent and often hopeless—I will never be able to be so again. I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, for my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end. I ought never to have come on leave" (Remarque 185). Here, Paul puts aside his emotions, a symbol of his humanity, in favor of animal-like instincts to survive during the war. During his leave, Paul struggles to connect with his family and friends due to his war experiences. He can not agree with the principal's vision of the war because Paul sees through the lies of nationalism and actually experiences the horrors of war. Paul tries to associate with his family, but he has lost his innocence through his emotions. War causes soldiers to lose hope and complicates their return to everyday

Open Document