All Quiet on the Western Front
A Soldiers Change in All Quiet On The Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque describes the school-aged German soldier Paul Bäumer’s involvement in World War I. The book shows how he and his comrades changed during the war. From their early time in training to their deaths towards the end of the war. However, rather than idealistically show us how Paul patriotically fights for his country on free will and is rewarded, we see quite the opposite. By the end of the book, we understand the point Remarque is trying to make. He shows us the true horrors of war, past the propaganda and politics. We see perfectly good young minds with aspirations, hopes, and dreams crushed by war. The savagery of battle forces the soldiers to develop animalistic instincts and unbreakable friendships to survive. The soldiers are consumed with the instinct to survive, turning them from bright scholars into animals hellbent on survival.
The first few pages stress how war destroys all individuality into one, shared personality. Most comparable war books are narrated in the first-person by the main character ( Paul), starting with the protagonist reflecting on their development from an untrained recruit into a soldier. However, Paul begins his account by using the third-person to describe not only himself but his fellow soldiers as well. From the start, Paul is absorbed by the troop, a troop reduced to physical functions and gluttonous animal-like appetites. The third-person dominates this first chapter as the soldiers think with a single personality, moved by the same common desires. Such as hunger, excitement, and impatience. The emotions that concern the troop are not spurred. from human personalities, but rather from the most basic of animal needs with which all humans are pre-programmed with. What unifies the soldiers, we discover, are not abstract thinking and complex emotions, but the stomach and the intestines—full bellies and general latrines.
In order to tolerate the horrors of war, Paul must alter his feelings and empathy, so all that remains is, a “human animal.” In Chapter Seven, Paul recounts how he must separate himself from his emotions and rely solely on perfunctory, animal instincts. In war, the characteristics which make a person human can certainly cost a soldier his sanity, if not his life. As Paul states it; The attributes that compose the human experience—are “ornamental enough during peacetime.” A soldier must discard his immediate emotional impulses to survive, but he must also discard his remembrance of the past and hopes for the future. The war becomes the sole focal point of his world and attention. His identity before (writer Paul) or after becomes a stinging distraction. The only things that matter on the battlefields of World War I are the immediate physical threats: shells, gas, bullets, and machine guns.
The soldiers are animalistic in the way that they reject human emotions and live attentively in the present. Also, in the vicious struggle for power through the practice of brute force. In seeing how a seemingly unassertive postman like Himmelstoss could become such a tyrant, Kat, explains that the army’s hierarchy stirs the animals concealed within human beings. Kat argues that civilization is just a facade, and humans are more similar to animals than they would like to admit. When viciously beating Himmelstoss, Paul illustrates through actions Kat’s point by displaying behavior more fitted to a savage animal rather than to a logical individual.
If, as Kat says, it is the arrangement of the army that is accountable for bringing out the soldiers’ collective animal side, then perhaps the end of the war will enable the soldiers to return to normal (their individual personalities). For Paul, the thought of the wars’ end doesn’t seem to guarantee a seamless re-introduction to civilized human society. Paul believes that a return to civilized society will be an exceedingly changing experience, one in which “others will not understand” him and in which veterans of his generation will become “superfluous.” His war experience has excluded Paul from the general civilian community, and now the only form of community he can rely on is the animalism of his fellow soldiers. As Paul voices his fear that his generation will fail to “adapt” to the civilized world, his use of Darwinian language draws a final link between the human and animal kingdoms, suggesting that war not only turns the soldier from a human individual into an animal, but that by doing so it ineradicably alters the individual’s ability to relate to other humans.
The Use Of Symbolism in All Quiet On The Western Front
Friendship is one of the key themes in the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, which takes place behind the German frontlines during World War I. Erich Maria Remarque uses symbolic events in order to portray the importance of relationships between soldiers and the historical situation. Several soldiers of the Second Company-Paul Baumer, Stanilaus Katczinsky (Kat), Franz Kemmerich, Muller, and Detering- are involved in the events that shape the way in which friendships are taken on and formed, and also how the brutality of war affects them. The passing down of Kemmerich’s boots, the screaming of the wounded horses, and the goose incidents are the primary events in All Quiet on the Western Front that are used to exemplify the true meaning of friendship and demonstrate how difficult the historical situation is for the soldiers.
Kemmerich’s boots are handed on from one soldier to another as each possessor passes away. Originally, Kemmerich stole the boots from the corpse of a dead airman, but he is now lying in his deathbed after having his leg amputated. Once Muller finds out that Kemmerich is dying, he begins planning his attaining of the boots. To most people, this type of scheming would seem rude and unthoughtful, but to these soldiers, it is different. Paul says, “Kemmerich will die; it is immaterial who gets them. Why, then, should Muller not succeed them? When Kemmerich is dead it will be too late” (21). Paul ends up taking the boots to Muller after Kemmerich dies, and later receives them himself when Muller is killed from being shot. Thus, the boots are representing how cheap human life actually is during war. Because these boots are lasting longer than a human, they seem to be more valued than someone’s life. The boots also symbolize the essential practicality that a soldier needs to have. They cannot display their emotions during the brutality of war; instead, they must block out sorrow and desolation, almost like a robot. These soldiers live together and create strong friendships. Every day their friends are taken away from them, so if they do not learn how to control their emotions, they will be too weak and depressed to stay in the right mind and put up the best battle they have. These soldiers live and suffer together. Therefore, strong friendships grow and losing one another is an unbearable thing to have to deal with. So instead of being upset about the loss of a friend, they look forward to a pair of boots.
While in the field, the men hear the sounds of screaming horses. When Detering realizes what is happening, he demands that the horse be shot and killed. He felt that he should put the innocent horse out of their misery instead of letting them suffer. Although, no one was allowed to do so because it would give away their position to the enemy. Detering gives up and says, “Like to know what harm they’ve done” (64). Later, Paul helps a young soldier when he becomes injured because a coffin lands on top of him after it is blown up by the shelling. Paul ends up shooting him to put him out of his misery, just as Detering wanted to do to the horses. Detering simply wanted to relieve the innocent of their pain because they did nothing wrong, just like the young soldier. Even though Paul does not know the young soldier, he knows that what he has done is for the best.
The food that soldiers are provided during war is neither plentiful nor tasteful. One night, Kat and Paul hear the cackle of geese. They decide that geese will make a delicious meal, so they later coax a weapon wagon driver to take them back to the place where they believe the geese are. Once they arrive, Paul walks around and finds two geese. He tries to kill them quickly by slamming their heads against the wall, but he does not succeed, so Kat comes in and completes the job. Both men return back to cook the geese and gulp them down so that they do not get caught. As they sit there cooking and eating the geese, Paul describes, “We sit opposite one another, Kat and I, two soldiers in shabby coats, cooking a goose in the middle of the night. We don’t talk much, but I believe we have a more complete communion with one another than even lovers have. We are two men, two minute sparks of life; outside is the night and the circle of death. We sit on the edge of it crouching in danger, the grease drips from our hands, in our hearts we are close to one another…What does he know of me or I of him? formerly we should not have had a single thought in common–now we sit with a goose between us and feel in unison, are so intimate that we do not even speak” (94). Paul and Kat hardly knew each other before the goose incident, but now they seem to have a special connection with each other. This novel demonstrates how important it is for soldiers to have someone who will have their back. Now, both Paul and Kat have that.
A Lost Generation in All Quiet in the Western Front
In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque demonstrates, through the character of Paul Baumer, how war has obliterated almost an entire generation of men. Because these men no longer retain a place in life and are incapable of relating with former generations, they are collectively referred to in history as the “lost generation.” Remarque emphasizes Paul’s leave and the linguistic differences between the two generations to show how Paul comes to the realization that he is part of this lost generation.
Ironically, Paul’s leave is unfortunate, yet serves an important purpose in showing how far apart Paul has grown from his family and past youth. During his leave, Paul learns of his incapability in communicating with former generations due to his war experiences. Remarque shows that Paul no longer feels any relation with civilian life as soon as Paul enters his hometown. For example, when Paul gets off the train, he encounters a redcross sister who calls him “comrade,” but he thinks to himself: “…I will have none of it” (156). Paul replies in this negative manner because he feels angered by her attempt to associate with him by calling him a “comrade.” Paul knows that only soldiers at the front can call each other comrades since they have experienced the brutality of war together. By calling Paul a comrade, she represents the former generation’s misuse of language because she does not know the true meaning of camaraderie in war, but tries to use it anyway.
This lack of association with civilian life Paul feels carries over into his house. When his mother greets him, he immediately realizes he cannot say anything: “We say very little and I am thankful that she asks nothing. What ought to I say?” (159). This serves as a sign showing Paul’s loss of communication with former generations, for even when his mother then asks him about the front: “Was it very bad out there, Paul?” (161), he replies with compassion by saying: “No, Mother, not so very. There are always a lot of us together so it isn’t so bad” (161). However, the main reason he does this is not to protect his mother from fear, but because he is aware that the effort in trying to explain to her the horrors of war would be useless. If he tried to describe what he has experienced on the front to her, she could not possibly comprehend his descriptions of his pain and suffering. Also, putting these experiences into words provides a challenge to Paul, as the language of war would be meaningless and empty to the former generation. However, by not telling the truth, he deepens the gap between him and his mother. During the course of his leave, Paul is also reluctant to speak to his father about the war. This shows a further movement away from the past and more into his isolated and lost generation.
Remarque also uses even the smallest incidents on Paul’s leave to show how Paul notices the generation gap. Paul’s father asks Paul to keep his army uniform on, but Paul refuses because he sees no purpose in doing so. When Paul puts on his “civilian” clothes, he notices they have grown too tight and that he cannot fit properly into them. These clothes represent his old civilian life, and, similarly, just as he cannot fit into his clothes, he also cannot fit back into his former social role. Because of these various incidents, Paul realizes that things will never be that same again with both his parents. Paul faces similar difficulties when he encounters other members of his hometown: “They are different men here, men I cannot properly understand…” (169). Again, he cannot relate to these people, who have been disillusioned by the war because, he suggests, they have not truly experienced it as Paul has. He realizes that their language contains nothing but emptiness; thus, it serves no purpose to his generation since it does not accurately portray the reality of war and the inner experiences of those who have lived it.
In addition to not being able to communicate with his family, he also loses a connection with his youth. Remarque develops the idea of how Paul has also lost his youth through the butterfly collection and old books. Paul recalls his old butterfly collection: “Above me on the wall hangs the glass case with coloured butterflies that once I collected” (158). The hard glass case keeps the butterflies, which symbolize Paul’s youth and innocence, preserved. However, he cannot reach in and touch the butterflies just like his youth because of the hard case around the butterflies. War has created a similar hard case around Paul, which holds him back from being able to integrate back into his former self and society in general. He also attempts to seek his youth through books: “I want that quiet rapture again. I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books. The breath of desire…shall fill me again…it shall bring back again that lost eagerness of my youth” (171). The books also symbolize the older, more peaceful time, in which the innocent Paul possessed hopes and goals to lead a happy life. However, he realizes that his efforts to relate to his past are abortive because of how much war has broken him apart from his former youth, so he turns away despondently. The books are now useless because the words in them are empty and meaningless to Paul and his generation. The pre-enlistment world becomes even more alien to Paul, as when he thinks to himself: “A terrible feeling of foreignness suddenly rises up in me. I cannot find my way back, I am shut out though I entreat earnestly and put forth all my strength” (172). Even with full effort, he cannot engender any sort of connection with his past youth due to the recent experiences with the horrors and other realities of war.
Paul feels further lost as the days proceed one another during his leave. Near the end of his leave, Remarque creates a very significant scene between Paul and his mother as Paul sadly pleads: “Ah! Mother, Mother! how can it be that I must part from you? Who else is there that has any claim on me but you? Here I sit and there you are lying; we have so much to say, and we shall never say it” (184). This is the ultimate scene where Paul gives a final farewell to his mother and her generation. Paul feels as if there is so much he has to say to her, but he cannot because she can no longer relate to his language. Paul’s generation has lost its dreams, hopes, youth, innocence, and everything else it may have possessed in its former life. It dreads the times during war just as much as the thought of what to do during post-war era because of the generation gap. Paul realizes that life will never be the same again and that he does not belong anywhere because of the brutal war.
Remarque’s use of Paul’s leave shows how Paul learns that he is part of the lost generation. Through the interaction with his family members, Paul realizes that he no longer fits in with them and never will be able to. Because of the war, Paul’s generation has lost the idea of a meaningful world in which compassion exists for the individual. This entire generation of men is incapable of integrating back into society and no longer retains a place in collective life; thus, it is referred to in history as the lost generation.
Analysis of The Novels, A Farewell To Arms And All Quiet On The Western Front, With A View On Quest For Normality
How far does the literature of the First World War depict a search for normality despite the fact that the war has questioned ‘civilised values’?
For many of those who took part in the First World War, ‘normality’ was not found until much after the war. Shortly after the publication of novels such as All Quiet on the Western Front and A Farewell to Arms, many of its readers spoke out in defence of war literature, stating that these novels represent an ‘Erlosung’, or release, from the traumas of war. It can be considered that the literature itself of this nature can help find this normality, and sort out “the tangled memories and emotions of the Great War, and to come to terms with them.” (Barker 1979, p. 48).
Since such novels based in the war are considered to be helpful to veterans, it is important to note that there are a number of events in these novels whereby a person is in search of a new purpose. Most remarkably is a statement from All Quiet on the Western Front, where Paul states “We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.” (Remarque 1929, p. 42). Here, there is a very strong sense that, for the young men, the war has taken its toll on them, and is no longer the adventure that they sought. With a transition from youth to men, it appears that they want to return to the normality that there was before their deployment.
This idea is also applied in A Farewell to Arms. As Frederic’s relationship with Catherin grows, he too can see that he is no longer a young man in the war, but an adult who longs to escape the violence and start a normal life with Catherine. He goes to great extent to do this, notably refusing to be operated on so that he can remain injured and avoid the frontline: “I threw away the goddam truss so it would get bad and I wouldn’t have to go to the line again.” (Hemingway 2014, p. 30)
It is interesting that Frederic should battle his purpose in the war with alcohol. Seen as a form of escapism, there is no doubt that Frederic drinks to forget. It may be that alcohol reminds him of home while blocking out the trauma. In a similar fashion, Paul and Kat go hunting for a better meal, and arrive with horse-flesh, which they cook and eat. The mere fact that the young men are searching for a better food is an example of just how strong they wish to return to normality, yet the fact that they feast upon horse-flesh does indeed question their ‘civilised value’.
This too is explored in both novels, particularly with the act of killing. Frederic shoots and kills a Sergeant who refuses to help him push the ambulance out of the mud. The fact that both men are fighting for the same side, and Frederic shows no remorse in killing him is evidence of the truth that ‘civilised value’ is diminished with those involved in the war. On the other hand, Paul murders a British soldier in self-defence, yet it is only after a realisation of what he has done that he states “I would give much if he would but stay alive” (Remarque 1929, p. 105). Although it is clear that Paul has been completely transformed by the war, there is still a great sense that he is very much human; he acts as if the dying soldier were a normal person on the streets of his hometown, and refuses to see him as the enemy. It is the realisation that this man had a wife and daughter that sparks the ‘civilised’ in Paul, and it may be argued that a return to normality is sometimes not sought after, but comes naturally from within.
A natural movement of the normal is also strong in the relationship between Frederic and Catherine. Most particularly is the fact that Frederic did not wish to start a relationship with Catherine, since he states that he had “treated seeing Catherine very lightly” (Hemingway 2014, p. 35). As his natural feelings developed, revealing in him a longingness for normality, he starts “feeling lonely and hollow” (ibid) on the days that he is unable to see her. Such withdrawal symptoms are evident that Frederic was yearning a return to normality in what is otherwise a much uncivilised war.
Paul’s visit to his home whilst on leave highlights the toll of the war on the individual. Feeling disconnected from the start, he discovers that that he does “not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world.” (Remarque 1929, p. 79) With his dad constantly quizzing him on the war, and his old schoolmaster insisting that they know nothing of the bigger picture of the war, Paul concludes that “I imagined leave would be different from this. Indeed, it was different a year ago. It is I of course that have changed in the interval.” (ibid). It is clear that the definition of ‘normality’ has been altered for Paul; it is no longer the safe environment of the home, but the violence of the frontline.
It is clear that Paul had mistook his return home for one very much like it was prior to the war. Barker argues that “[Paul] Baumer’s generation tries to find a way back to normality, even though the impossibility of the task is just as clear from the outset.” (1979, p. 57). Though this is very true, perhaps the “impossibility of the task” is not as clear to the young men as argued. Most likely, if Paul knew that his return home would cause him distress, he would not have returned. At the end of the trip, Paul can see that “It will be like this too, if I am lucky, when the war is over and I come back here for good. I will sit here just like this and look at my room and wait.” (Remarque 1929, p. 80). He is clearly aware of the effects the war has had on him, and is perhaps at this point more conscious of the fact that a return to normality is unlikely.
Despite this, Paul does bring a taste of home to the frontline. He gives Kat and Kropp some potato-cakes and jam that his mother made. It is interesting to see Kat’s reaction as he takes a bite. He immediately knows that these were made by Paul’s mother, and says that he “can tell by the taste.” (Remarque 1929, p. 96). For the soldiers, a bite of homemade food is a return to normality, and more interestingly exposes the food conditions of the war. We can assume that Kat is accustomed to food of a poorer taste, and can therefore contrast quality tastes.
Catherine in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, is also a character that is arguably in search for normality. Though her role in the Great War is secondary, she has been deeply affected by its outcome. After the death of her fiancé at the Battle of the Somme, she moved to Italy to find solidarity. Yet here she reprised her role as a nurse and found little solidarity in serving for the war. She tells Frederic that she was going to cut her hair off when she heard about her fiancé’s death, and this because she “wanted to do something for him.” (Hemingway 2014, p. 16). During her relationship with Frederic, she arguably fights for normality, which she hopes will be fulfilled by escaping the war. After the pair meet in Stresa and flee to Switzerland, they live together and “exist exclusively in and for their love.” (Donaldson 1990, p. 97).
Frederic and Catherine’s ‘search for normality’ is fulfilled in Switzerland, yet an evaluation of their lives in the snowy mountains may show that normality was never fully rewarded. Hovey argues that “They have not only pulled out of the Great War; they are also cut off from their own families and all friends” (ibid). Though their life has become far more civilised, it is hardly a return to normality. It is perhaps very much a form of escapism, which runs parallel to the actions of the fictitious Victor Frankenstein; he too escapes to the Alps in search for normal life after infusing life on his creation, but only finds isolation. On Frederic and Catherine, Hovey is also of the view that “They have no idea, purpose, plan; they never consider returning to the world to live in it in any role. They are not trying to learn or understand or grow.” (ibid). While this is completely true, Hovey’s idea can also be applied to the general society of the First World War; civilians and soldiers had little purpose but to survive the war, with a far less importance being applied to ‘understanding and growing’.
Certainly, in both novels, there is evidence of strong efforts being made in the search for normality. While Frederic’s attachment to Catherine flourishes, Kat and Paul’s interest in women still remains, in what is generally a male-dominated war. The men in Paul’s company make a trip to the river in an effort to meet French girls; this is solid element of the normal as it displays the soldiers in their most natural state. Not only are they a large part of the Great War, but they also remain true to their human side.
By the end of All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul’s search for normality and survival throughout the war comes to an end when he is found dead. The unknown narrator insists that “he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.” (Remarque 1929, p. 140). A closer reading of Paul’s calm state at his death may reveal more about the character; it can be argued that perhaps there was nothing else for Paul to live for, he had become so affected by the war that normality was far beyond his reach. It would be fitting then that Paul should die in that state, as if relieved that his torment is over. In the end he is reunited with the peace that death provides.
Catherine and the baby’s death at the end of A Farewell to Arms is also significant to the search for normality. ‘Normal’ for Frederic would have meant living peacefully with his wife and child after what he experienced during the Great War. However the fact that this peaceful ending is taken from him may be a reflection that normality at the end of the war cannot simply be achieved. Despite Frederic’s escape from the war, he could not escape to a normal lifestyle. At the novel’s abrupt ending, Frederic is alone again and has gained nothing. Through her death, he mirrors the occurring deaths of the war: “Now Catherine would die. That was what you did. You died. You did not know what it was about. You never had time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you.” (Hemingway 2014, p. 279). Even at Catherine’s death, Frederic cannot escape the war; he feels it necessary to reminisce on the reality of the system, and adds to the impression that he will never return to normality.
There appears to be a very strong theme of the ‘search for normality’ in First World War literature. Most characters placed in front of a violent setting are attempting to flee the violence. It appears that Army personnel are the ones who suffer most in what can be considered an unnatural world. Often they are seen searching for elements of a normal lifestyle through food, social welfare and even a purposeful injury and subsequent hospital care.
Even after the war, normality is not restored. Frederic leads a very much open lifestyle, while Paul is killed and his comrades will never return to the same state before the war. This was an issue often commented on by survivors of the war. Remarque himself stated that “The shadow of war hung over us, especially when we tried to shut our minds to it.” (Barker 1979, p. 33)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” Review
A group of new recruits comes to reinforce the company, and Paul’s friend Kat produces a beef and bean stew that impresses them. Kat says that if all the men in an army, including the officers, were paid the same wage and given the same food, wars would be over immediately. Kropp, another of Paul’s former classmates, says that there should be no armies; he argues that a nation’s leaders should instead fight out their disagreements with clubs. They discuss the fact that petty, insignificant people become powerful and arrogant during war, and Tjaden, a member of Paul’s company, announces that the cruel Corporal Himmelstoss has come to fight at the front.
At night, the men go on a harrowing mission to lay barbed wire at the front. Pounded by artillery, they hide in a graveyard, where the force of the shelling causes the buried corpses to emerge from their graves, as groups of living men fall dead around them. After this gruesome event, the surviving soldiers return to their camp, where they kill lice and think about what they will do at the end of the war. Some of the men have tentative plans, but all of them seem to feel that the war will never end. Paul fears that if the war did end, he wouldn’t know what to do with himself.
Himmelstoss arrives at the front; when the men see him, Tjaden insults him. The men’s lieutenant gives them light punishment but also lectures Himmelstoss about the futility of saluting at the front. Paul and Kat find a house with a goose and roast the goose for supper, enjoying a rare good meal.The company is caught in a bloody battle with a charging group of Allied infantrymen. Men are blown apart, limbs are severed from torsos, and giant rats pick at the dead and the wounded. Paul feels that he must become an animal in battle, trusting only his instincts to keep him alive. After the battle, only thirty-two of eighty men are still alive. The men are given a short reprieve at a field depot. Paul and some of his friends go for a swim, which ends in a rendezvous with a group of French girls.
Paul desperately wishes to recapture his innocence with a girl, but he feels that it is impossible to do so. Paul receives seventeen days of leave and goes home to see his family. He feels awkward and oppressed in his hometown, unable to discuss his traumatic experiences with anyone. He learns that his mother is dying of cancer and that Kantorek has been conscripted as a soldier, from which he derives a certain cold satisfaction. He visits Kemmerich’s mother and tells her, untruthfully, that her son’s death was instant and painless.
At the end of his leave, Paul spends some time at a training camp near a group of Russian prisoners-of-war. Paul feels that the Russians are people just like him, not subhuman enemies, and wonders how war can make enemies of people who have no grudge against one another.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Rachel Areche, “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque
Author Erich Maria Remarque wrote the novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” depicting a true war story. In which the main purpose of the book is to highlighting the events and how it impacts the people involved. Contrasting from other books that dealt with the war showing the victories and the bright side.
Most book out try to show how the villains lose and how the victims are then free but in war it’s everyone for the,selves until the war is then over. Unlike typical wars in this book the soldiers are not hired they themselves enlisted in the war. The protagonist, Paul states that his mates and himself do not see it as a duty more like a hobby, not forced. Not to say that war is just a hobby to them they do have to face with the reality and hardships that also come with it. Others that didn’t do the same are shamed by society for not being as brave as these boys and going on their own free will. Although they must face struggles there is still the pride of showing off how they did so good; as shown in the following citation, “ We had fancied our task would be different, only to find we were to be trained for heroism as though we were circus ponies.”
To begin, there is a difference in tone all thought the text. For example it states at first, “ He plays mostly folk songs and the others hum with him… the sound of the violin stands like a slender girl above it and is clear and alone.” (29) It’s strange how Paul’s tone could stay positive after all he is going through in the war. Another instance of tone would be when in “ All Quiet on the Western Front” states, “ The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes… seeks its own way out, heedless of the will that is written me.” (100) Paul knows what are his desires and he won’t settle for less, and speaks his tires and little to no words.
The book also includes a symbolism and imagery. In this novel it shows how a river can have a deeper meaning when Paul and his friends use it as a division between themselves and the real world that lays outside of the War. Just like a river might divided a nation or people in this book it seems like that same water leads to something much beyond it. Water also plays an important role later on in the book because Earth is made up of water and for times like War it’s really useful.
The novel starts with focused on the characters outermost experience, painting a picture to the readers of the harsh reality of war. Shortly, moving on to the Paul’s internal experience, breaking down into his emotional individual and how his mind is filled with confusion and blank space. Comparing to what he once was before the war, the only way to manage now is by pulling apart his feelings and for using on the task that lays ahead. Paul’s emotions is only one point of view thought, one must remember that their are other men who might feel the same or even more like Paul and it’s sad to say that those emotions are not talked about. This demonstrates how the problems being faced are lessening the fact of humankind.
Another example of this is when the doctor simply doesn’t want to help another soldier due to how much tragic body’s he has seen already. The pain that is shown for the doctor mentally and physically for the soldier, Kemmerich. The author is then opening the idea that war doesn’t only affect soldiers but others that have to surround themselves with this idea. The mind and thought process that is risky for the ones involved as though they aren’t in danger enough. His death is then looked upon due to the fact that with or without one men the war must go on and the soldiers are trained to not have emotions when something that this occurs. In the text it states, “ Under the skin the life no longer pulses, it has already pressed out to the boundaries of the body. Death is working through from within.it already has command… yet it is not he any longer.” (72) Paul is not unfamiliar from the death so he knows that his friend is slow but surely dying.
Sadism is a when a person or thing gets pleasure off of causing someone pain or seeing one else suffer. This comes into play when Kat’s talks about the cruel ranking of the military and its effect on the soldiers. War just isn’t harmful when it comes to shooting and getting hurt on the battlefield. But the people that surround you and the ones who are in fact indirect enemies.
In “All Quiet in the Western Front” it states, “ Returning to the barracks he had to go along a dark, uninhabited road. There we waited for him behind piles of stones… door flew open and he bawled.” (66) Showing how sometimes the pressure and stress from bully’s can drive soldiers to do crazy and things they they wouldn’t want to in the end. In general there is always someone is is higher than the other person when it comes to everything. Typically no one sees it as a big deal until it’s too late and something ends up back fighting.
One of the most memorable scenes of the novel was the men’s ride. It’s like actually watching a movie when the intense part is about to come up and you can just see it happening but the ones in the movie can’t.The way the bomb attacks are described in great detail and how it so close to home having to see this transpired. In the text it states,“We have to go on wiring fatigue. The motor lorries roll up. We climb in.” This may seem like a simple sentence but the way the author uses “have to” shows the seriousness of the situation. Even more intensity comes to part when the book states, “The engines drone, the lorries bump and rattle”.(12)The words used in the text are to add the feeling as though you can touch the book and you are intensely inside the war.
An odd conclusion is drawn by Paul referring to the soldier’s connection with the planet. To them it’s all they have, it’s like family that they don’t have with them at the moment. A comparison to animals is made and how they depend on the earth for food and other supplies. He goes in dept to say that this war isn’t fought for patriotism, even though he volunteered but to survive. Going back to how his feelings of a human change to the feelings of an animal. At the same time animal still have emotions, so yes the soldier are compared to animals but in reality it’s worse than animals because these are humans who before these weren’t shown these.
The idea of how men like Paul, younger men didn’t get much out of live . Entering war right after school and how they must not have anything besides the war to depend on, as to comparing someone who is much older and has for example a home, wife and children. The writer shows within the men that there isn’t a world outside of war, that the war might never end. As the soldier try to envisioned there life before the war they still somehow find a way to talk about war. Then thinking about the future is just giving them false hope and they can only for us on not dying and just trying to make it another day.
Paul and his mates make a point when discussing the idea that war makes men who are low life’s want power and dominate people. Bring the third impact of war on a soldier, it makes people have to watch out for themselves even if you are in a team. Creating this bully and nerd type of environment which isn’t healthy ; making it another challenge soldier need to face with during the war. For example this novel is a normal war story, just like the movie a Full Metal Jacket. Where at some point one soldier has had enough of his commanding officer pushing him around so much that he needed up killing him.
War is now explained into more detail the real meaning on what these soldiers were actually trying to do. They wanted the enemies to get weaker so that maybe the war would just end. It’s like the emotions the soldiers carry, they fight but in the end they want it to end although they must not show that. In the novel it states, “ we want to live at any price; so we can not burden ourselves with feelings which, though they might be ornamented enough in peace time, would be out of place here.” (60) The soldier had to stop all the imagination due to the fact that they needed to have their mind focus on no getting killed. Not only that but when things like war occur soldiers tend to have flashbacks and periods where everything stops. It’s surreal but in combat it’s very known for trying to cope and reflect on the scene ahead.
Instead of focusing on the fact that they kill people for a living. They just overlook it as part of the job, they don’t mean to kill the enemies because of the simple fact that they aren’t on the same side. But indeed because that’s how they find ways to let go of all the emotions and anger that built from the war. It’s like an exercise relief to the soldier to kill people, no strings attached and they use humans as a punching bag.
Soldiers try not to discuss their experience out loud it would bring many harsh reality. To people in the war talking to ones who aren’t physically there is worth nothing. Due to the fact that it’s just a you have to be there moment for you to understand the harsh reality that one must go through. Also the fact that they are built to not have emotions unlike others that aren’t and must hear stories like this. Like trying to explain a war story to so,eon who isn’t there is proven very difficult. It not adding more details basically lies it would not get the people to really understand what is it that you are going through and that’s not what soldier want. They want to be able to show the truth of what’s going on in their minds.
Paul’s emotions are shown when a Russian prisoner tries to communicate with him. Showing how even though soldier aren’t supposed to show emotions it still happens anyways. Paul understand that what he is doing is “wrong” because higher ups tell him that but to him he finds it pointless. That still doesn’t take away the fact that he has a mission and must stand for that mission even if he believes otherwise. Paul is overall seen as lovable guy that’s feelings are just too much to bare with and calms that he must keep punching through. At war things like such can put a soldier in a tuff spot like at some point those emotions blockage that were once put up.
The writer doesn’t fail to add the fact that the war has made Paul a whole different person. For example the part when he goes to the hospital showing his young life. He tries to be a child when he plays a prank on the nun which is a bit different from usually scene in the book. Paul also believes that the hospital is like a book for people that want to know about what war is and how it’s like to be in one. It seems like Paul innocence is being taken from him and now he must depend on the war to show him how he must live the rest of his life.
As Paul is talking about death one sees how religion takes apart in this story. He knows that he doesn’t have faith in the future but the one thing that he must have faith on is god. To the point where he asked for protection and hope that maybe just maybe he will probably make it through.
Sometimes people at worst possible situations try to religion in order to have some type of hope it really common in modern times as well. As well as hanging on to artifacts, in the text it states, “ on the right side of the meadow a large cannon latine has been built, a well planned and durable construction… for two hours we have been without getting up.” (47) They will always hold on to their mobile toilets because it might seem like nothing but to them it’s a representation of home.
As the book goes on it’s seems to become overload with sharp irony. It seems like the soldier are coming to their final limit. Paul in fact makes a comparison to the war as a disease. It feels as though they are in jail serving a life time sentence. They themselves are coming to a realization that they are more like objects then humans. Although they kinda see the possible ending to this all but their still is the fate that they might get killed no matter what. At some point one must see when is it time to request change.
Although this whole book the wordsmith portrays the soldiers as people who just fight. In the end it seems like it was for nothing, kinda taking back the readers that Paul and the others didn’t die when flinging but during the final moments of the war. When Paul dies he is symbolized as the lostgeneration, because he is the last one out of all the other classmates. Thus, representing the el image of a whole generation. Finishing off the book was a mysterious person unlike the rest which was typically Paul.
The writer haves off the idea as to who is the most significant person in the text which brings emotion to the reader. gives us no insight as to who this impromptu narrator is or at what point in time this reflection upon the story occurs, which helps to render the story timeless.
Not to mention the odd fact that the day in which Paul died was so relaxing and payed back. That when one can see the title meaning, the fact that the German army has calmed that day “All quiet on the western Front”.
Another thing that the last few paragraph demonstrate is the fact that the end of the War has brought much peace. In the end the reader is thrown off by this sudden death and how it could all just vanished.
Thus, the book shows a clear meaning of how the war ends and how it gets to even the best of us. Going back to how this book started and how could these young boys have to die for something that they didn’t wanted or the question that we all ask why did it have to happen to them.
Some Strange And Melancholy Way
“We know only that in some strange and melancholy way we have become a wasteland.”It is common knowledge that war is physically destructive and treacherous. It is common knowledge that soldiers all around the world perish daily. In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, a new aspect of war is introduced.
What lies after combat, death, and loss is most tragic of all; life after the war. This historic war novel takes place during The Great War, World War I. German Soldier, Paul Bäumer, narrates from his standpoint as he enters the war as an eager eighteen-year-old.
Throughout the story, he experiences a profound bond with his comrades, a bond broken only by death itself. Although Paul does not live to return home to his family, read his books again, nor pursue his dreams prior to the war, he has already been desecrated by the image of fallen friends and even enemies. Surviving the terrors of war does not set soldiers free, but makes them as unlucky as their fallen brothers. Shockingly, one of the most unsettling worries for the young soldiers was returning home after the war. Paul, along with his comrades, was rushed into combat at an early stage in his life.
When comparing his life to older soldiers, Paul expresses, “…for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us here, already had a home and a calling; now it can return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten” (294). Due to the men joining the army right after they finished high school, they did not have time, nor the opportunity to begin life outside of education, as the older generation did. Instead of starting a family, continuing school, or finding a steady job, the men are rushed off into combat.
Without a previous life before the war, the men notably have nothing to look forward to. The war becomes their life, the only life they have ever known. Therefore, when they return from the fiery of the fronts, they find themselves more alone than ever before. Another way war destroys minds is through the death of a fellow comrade. The everlasting bond between soldiers is described best by Paul when he declares, “They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades” (212).
Death can tear people apart; death can also bring people closer. In All Quiet on the Western Front, the soldiers, despite the suffering and loss, develop an unbreakable bond. Whether it is the brutal training with Corporal Himmelstoss, a ruthless man who trains the soldiers, or the terrors of machine guns, grenades, and poison gas, the men are with each other through everything. In fact, they are all each other have. This bond can be both key to survival and keeping sanity but it can also be deadly. When a fellow comrade perishes in battle, the men lose a brother, best friend, and soldier all at once. War is not solely about surviving, it is about surviving with others. A soldier’s mind, much like Paul’s when he loses Kat, his best friend, is forever damaged. No medicine nor time away from war can heal a soldier’s memory, no medicine nor time can heal a soldier’s mind. Not only are soldiers harmed by the death of comrades, but they are also slowly damaged by how normal death becomes. Death on the battlefield is inevitable, and in a sense, normal.
An orderly tending to Kemmerich’s fatal leg amputation reports, “…today alone there have been sixteen deaths- yours is the seventeenth. There will probably be twenty altogether” (32). In the midst of war, numbers replace lives. For every life lost, a number is added to a chart. Kemmerich was a comrade and friend to Paul’s squad. To the orderly, he was no more than the seventeenth death of the day. Perhaps it is easier for the men to cope with loss when death is habitual. However, it is not until after the war when each number is replaced with a life, an innocent and promising life. Dehumanization benefits the soldiers during the war when they need to barricade loss. Unfortunately, years after the war when men need it the least, dehumanization seizes one’s thoughts and holds them accountable for every life, every number, every man.
Those who consider themselves lucky for surviving war are truly fortunate. Not all soldiers have the belief to say surviving was lucky. Men find themselves lost with no life to return to post-war; war is their life and will continue to be. They find themselves struggling to cope with the loss of fallen brothers, and although they perished years ago, are still a vivid image in the veteran’s mind. Emotional disconnection paves the way for a ruinous impact on the soldier’s life. Slowly, and then all at once, without warning or guidance, every casualty visits the mind of a soldier. All Quiet on the Western Front explores bonds between comrades while giving insight into the effects on the soldier’s mental health. Remarque’s novel proves people can be destroyed by death before they are physically killed by death.
All Quiet on the Western Front Fictional Novel
All Quiet on the Western Front is a fictional novel written by Erich Maria Remarque in 1928 and it became an instant classic. He drew inspiration from his own life, being drafted into World War One and being wounded at the Battle of Flanders by British Artillery. Throughout the book Remarque uses vivid imagery and descriptive vocabulary to show the reader about the harsh grotesqueness of war and the seemingly inescapable amount of sorrow and problems created by this conflict.
Throughout All Quiet on the Western Front Remarque uses a broad array of language as the driving force of this book. It is because of the clear and depictive vocabulary that we, the reader, are able to see how being in World War One affected a entire generation. The story starts out with Paul Baumer and seven other soldiers he is serving with. At the beginning of the book they are mostly behind the front line with the exception of one time when they are sent to relieve the front.
When they return they all agree that it was quite, which is the last time most of them will be able to say anything is quiet. From this point forward the book changes as they are in the front lines more and more. The book is filled with numerous sounds of bombs being shot and blowing up, airplanes fighting in the sky and exploding, and the sounds of death.It’s unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning(Remarque 62). The use of vocabulary in All Quiet on the Western Front also helps us feel how Paul is feeling. Throughout the story his emotions and thoughts are constantly changing because of the constantly changing war. He often feels like the war has robbed his entire generation out of life. Instead of graduating and finding a useful occupation he has become a soldier who is only accustomed to death and killing which will not help him in the world outside of the war. He also feels as though his generation will not be able to cope with the atrocities of war because neither the generation before or after him will fight a war like his.
Finally, Paul often questions himself on whether the war will ever end and if he will make it out alive. From the middle of the book ,after his visit home on leave, his mood changes from being gloomy and feeling the he will not be able to escape the unending war to the end of the book when he feels like he might be able to survive the war because he feels the war is ending soon. However, he is unable to as he dies one month before the Armistice that would end the war is signed. He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to a single sentence: All quiet on the western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come(Remarque 296).
In conclusion, Remarque??s classic novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, used extremely descriptive vocabulary that helps the reader understand and feel the struggles of the First World War. While also bringing awareness to the mental problems created by it. All Quiet on the Western Front is a very descriptive book that uses Remarque?› own style to create very grotesque yet moving novel.
The Author Paints The Picture
In the book, All Quiet on the western front. The author paints the picture of a young serviceman named Paul Baumer and a few of his friends that enroll into the German army full of patriotism and pride but are unaware of the effects that World War One will have on them.
For Paul Baumer and his friends, it doesn’t take them long to realize what they’ve gotten themselves into. After a two-week stint on the battlefront, Paul and his army company only made it back to base with eighty out of the one hundred and fifty men that they started with after being attacked on the last day of their mission. It all began to go downhill for Paul and his friends from there, after losing one of their friends (Joseph Behm) early on in the war to a gunshot wound to the eye.
They begin to grow hatred for their old schoolmaster Kantorek, as they feel that he was the one who guided and pressured them into joining the army and now they’re having to go through the scary transition from school to war at nineteen years old. But they couldn’t put all the blame on Kantorek for their pledge to join the army. It was mainly due to the massive outbreak of nationalism going on at the time where young men felt pressured into joining the army or else being somewhat excluded from society if they didn’t join.
A little later on in the book, Paul begins to explain that for all the young serviceman that joined the army including himself that it feels as if their lives have been cut off from them because they were just beginning the best times of their life. And goes on to say that at least the older men who are in the army have wives, families, jobs to look forward to if they make it back home alive. At this point, the war has taken control of the young soldiers’ minds mentally, making them question what the end may be since they feel they don’t have much to live for besides going back home to their parents.
To these soldiers, this war is not for them. Meaning that they feel like there shouldn’t even be any armies in the first place. Kat, one of Paul’s friends, even said: Give’em all the same grub and all the same pay and the war would be over and done in a day (Remarque 41). And Kropp, on the other hand, believes that a declaration war should be a popular festival where the ministers and generals of the two countries fight it out with clubs dressed in their underwear.
As the men got together to discuss what life will be like after the war is over. Albert went on to say that The war has ruined us for everything (Remarque 87). For Paul and all of his friends that are around the same age, they are confused and are lost with the fact that they have no idea what’s to come for them in the future if this war is ever over.
After the long vigorous battle with the French in the trenches, Paul is starting to feel sorrow as he realizes the toll that this war has put not only on him but his friends. And that his life before the war and his desires for the future will never come true now because his life has been ruined by the trenches. While this war in the trenches was coming to an end, Paul is now all alone as he is the only one still alive out of his comrades from his platoon. From the start, these young men knew that the horrors of this war were going to take over their lives. Both mentally and physically.
In this novel, the author portrayed a group of the young serviceman that joined the German army at the age of nineteen and were thrown into a war that they didn’t want it any part of. But decided to join the army due to the pressure from the rise of nationalism in the country and from their schoolmaster. Throughout their battles in the trenches, Paul and his friends feel as if they lost everything that they once had and the world that they were once living in before they joined the army is gone as well.
Told By Erich Maria Remarque
Based on the story told by Erich Maria Remarque, the stories about the war then eventually being in the war ruined these soldier’s life before they even died. The major them that can be found in the book is brutality. Those events are praised out throughout the book.
The novel centers on a young German soldier, Paul Bume and his experiences throughout a period of World War I. One of the major themes found in the novel was the difficulty for the soldiers to revert to their civilian life after having experienced extreme combat during the war. One of the quote told by the author refers to how these man’s lives were drastically change, and even those who survived the war were still affected by it (2).
This internal comment made by Paul B?¤ume the main character of the novel, entirely explained how each of his fellow classmates, friends, and soldier left about them being in the war.Nationalism can be defined in many ways, however, in this book the author refers to nationalism as belonging or even loyalty. At the Beginning of the novel, we read that Paul Baumer and his classmates had volunteered to enlist in the war. However, what really happened was Their schoolmaster Kantorek, their parents filled their head with lies which glorified the war. During those time, not enlisting in the war would be cowardly, sort of like you were Turing your back on those who need you the most, your country.We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war. (42) all their life goal changed their aspiration and desire to become somebody, or even find somebody.
This novel sets out to enfaces war as it was experienced, replacing the romantic picture of glory placed by their parents and teacher with a decidedly unromantic vision of fear, meaninglessness, and butchery which was, in fact, the reality. Paul B?¤ume is the main character of the novel. Throughout the novel, he is forced to mature for his safety, which eventually deeply affected him as a person.The author refers to Paul and his friends as the lost generation. Young men who went straight out of school into the war. There were many incidents, killing, sickness and many lives were lost.
As a result, Paul like many others learned to detached themselves completely in order to stay san and survive. One quote that stood out to me while referring to the struggles they faced during the war was Paul statement regarding his friend Albert Kropp. He says, witnessing his friend death was devastating, but after seen death all around you get used to it (128). Because All Quiet on the Western Front is set among soldiers fighting on the front, one of its main focuses is the ruinous effect that war has on the soldiers who fought it.At some point, Paul said that because of all they seen, done they aren’t young kids anymore (42). To me this kind of fell like out of the blue the world had stop and suddenly all they knew about the world and themselves had to change, they were no longer just eighteen years old but they were soldiers. The irony is that they consider themselves adults because of their experiences rather than youths.As time go on and Paul returned home, he was incapable to image his life without the war.
Even his mom who he was close with didn’t feel as connected to him anymore he became incapable to speak with her. He also found that he didn’t belong anymore even though the town hadn’t change. He even states that he feels he doesn’t belong anywhere anymore (79). Paul continue saying that at his age twenty years old, yet he doesn’t know anything about life (125) This quote stood out to me because it summed up what the impact the war left on the soldier, although some lived they were dying inside. All they knew after the war was, violence, fear, and despair. At time Paul also felt frustrated with his father, he often asked questioned about his time during war. He’s answer would always be that you can’t talk about such things.
This quote told by Paul’s comrade to felt applied to everyone. now as time had went on he realized that Paul was just like him (106) I think at time we as individual or even the society we need in today pressure’s individual to participant in all sorts of activities they otherwise wouldn’t. this could be gangs, bullying, theft, or perhaps even murder or assault. But in the end, I think we realize that those people we pressure are just people like us and we could also be them.