Theme Of All Quiet On The Western Front

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The Lost Generation and Their Hunger for Innocence When learning about World Wars, many people may think of war as an honorable experience, with triumphant soldiers returning home full of nationalistic pride fondly looking back on the time they spent fighting for their country. On the contrary, war is an experience that leaves behind trauma-ridden young men. In Paul and his comrade's case, the war has permanently changed their lives, for the worse. All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel written by Erich Remarque has large biographical influences, considering that Remarque himself served in the German army during World I. One of the largely explored themes in this novel is the group of young teenagers who fought in World War I, referred to …show more content…

This leaves them with no choice other than detaching from all emotions and giving in to primal instinct. This is where Remarque displays another critical theme in his work, the transformation of Paul from soldier to beast on the battlefield. On page 101, separate from the description addressed in earlier passages, Paul further elaborates on the atmosphere he and his comrades feel in the trenches of the front line. Paul explains, “The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen” (Remarque). No amount of training or prior knowledge of war can prepare Paul for the trauma and suffering he endures on the battlefield. He is focused only on surviving another day, eliminating all other glorious and romantic aspects of war. Throughout the story, Remarque continues to develop Paul’s character as increasingly detached from all emotions and feelings. In the passage on page 32, Paul expresses that when soldiers run past him, “I hear their voices without understanding” (Remarque). If a character on the front like Paul pauses for a second too long to think through his decision, his life could be blown to pieces before he can even register what is happening. Remarque’s authorial intent during this point in the story is to make it blatantly obvious to readers that war is destroying his reliance on his emotions, and in turn, his ability to access them. This loss of access to his emotions is just another portion of the war that corrupts Paul’s spirit and leaves him with a deep sense of desire for human

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