Symbolism In All Quiet On The Western Front

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When the youth are put into danger, it takes away their innocence and makes them adapt to survive. In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Müller and his classmates signed up to fight in the war. Unknowingly, they enlisted to fight in one of the deadliest wars in human history. World War 1 involved the death of 41 million men and women and changed the lives of the soldiers fighting in it forever. Remarque uses the symbols of Paul’s books, Kemmerich’s boots, and the butterflies to show how the war robs the youth of their innocence, causes the soldiers to lose their sympathy for others, and how nature distracts from this. Paul’s books shows how he has changed since the beginning of the war and lost his innocence. When Paul comes and visits back home, he rediscovers his childhood books and “wants to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that [he] used to feel when [he] turned to [his] books”(Remarque 173). Paul has learned that his childhood had ended when he joined the war. He isn’t the same person as he used to be and it is harder for him to feel happy after the traumatic …show more content…

During a quiet morning on the front, Paul notices two butterflies that “play in front of [the] trench...and they settle on the teeth of a skull”(Remarque 127). The playful butterflies bring back bits of aspiration to the soldiers because of how contrasting the purity of the butterflies are to the dreadful warzone. The contrast illustrates how the soldiers find tranquility despite their atrocious circumstances. While reflecting on his surroundings in a flowery meadow, Paul observes “the white butterflies fluttering around and float on the soft warm wind of the late summer”(Remarque 9). This gives him and the soldiers a sense of serenity that frees them from the troubles of war. They stop focusing on all of their terrifying experiences and relax during the down

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