In his novel "All Quiet On The Western Front"- first published in German as Im Westen nichts Neues in January 1929 - German Author Erich Maria Remarque purposefully destroys the nationalistic ideas readers at the time would have had about the war. He claims in his epigraph - "This book ... Read More
All Quiet on the Western Front is a anti-war novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, who was a soldier himself drafted in WWI and fought on the Western Front. All Quiet on the Western Front brought up a storm of political controversy and was banned in Germany by the government. ... Read More
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 ... Read More
All Quiet on the Western Front Lit AnalysisIn this excerpt of All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, the narrator seems to be going through a rough time. It is as if the narrator has lost his mind, or he is already mad, with the way he ... Read More
All Quiet on the Western FrontIn my essay I am discussing the psychological defense mechanisms the soldiers cultivated in order to survive. The narrator and protagonist, Paul Baumer, is pressured into enlisting by Mr. Kantorek. This book depicts what it was like to live in the First World War. Many ... Read More
War is honorable. Enlisting to serve ones country on the battlefront is noble. Soldiers, those who put their lives on the line, are real men. At least thats whats been drilled into Paul Baumer, the 19-year-old narrator of All Quiet on the Western Front, a soldier himself. Through his period ... Read More
All Quiet on the Western Front World War I proved to be the first of its magnitude. Never before had a war lasted so long or with such a devastating death toll. It ushered in the new century with a senseless amount of bloodshed and violence. In Erich Maria Remarques ... Read More
All Quiet on the Western Front All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is a war novel narrated by Paul Bumer, a German soldier who enlists in World War I. The novel encompasses Pauls daily struggle to survive on the front while the world seemingly collapses around ... Read More
Stranded Theyre stranded, exhausted, empty, and just want to go home. Welcome to the world war lives of soldiers Paul Baumer and Louie Zamperini. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Baumer is a German soldier fighting for his life in the trenches ... Read More
Power is a prominent struggle within the war and humanity. To understand the power one being has is often different in various places. Soldiers see this comparison in the war and out of it. Enrich Maria Remarque points out these power struggles in the book All Quiet On the Western ... Read More
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory howeverlong and hard the road may be for without victory there is no survival"(Winston Churchill). In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer and hisfellow classmates are talked into volunteering for World War I by theirteacher, Kantorek. The ... Read More
Destruction of a GenerationGrowing up in the United States before the First World War left teenaged boys mesmerized by the idea of being an honored hero, who would be praised for their bravery if they fought in the war. The U.S government made it known to every young man in ... Read More
The Path of a Lost SoldierOn the battlefield, innocence is lost and men are transformed yet all soldiers go through a three-step transformation that turns them into better soldiers, but worse men as well. In the novel All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, and in many ... Read More
A symbol is an object, action, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In literary works at a symbol can express an idea, clarify meaning, or enlarge literal meaning. Select a novel or play and, focusing on one symbol, write an essay analyzing ... Read More
Kantorek would say we stood on the threshold of life and so it would seem. We had as yet taken no root. The war swept us away. For the others, the older men, It is but an interruption, they are able to think beyond it. We, however, have been gripped ... Read More
During the period of 1914-18, every nation in the world only had one goal to win the Great War. The path towards this goal, however, was anything but subtle. Ranging from getting gassed to getting infected by mice, the battlefield was a treacherous place. However, in the novel All Quiet ... Read More
Book Pairs Book Assessment (All Quiet on the Western Front answers first)(GU) Memory What were the most memorable moments in the books for you?Why? Our daunting reality of worthlessness carved a gruesome picture inour mind. We could never aspire to become what life was meant for. We wereforgotten, alone, left ... Read More
World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global war that occurred from 1914 to 1918. This war was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The main form combat in WWI was trench warfare, a type of combat in which opposing troops fight ... Read More
Dehumanization and Destruction of Individuality A Comparative AnalysisDehumanization is the destruction of human individuality. Both Erich Maria Remarques All Quiet on the Western Front and Dalton Trumbos Johnny Got His Gun illustrate this harsh reality of soldiers dehumanization in World War I. Both novels reveal that no matter which nationality ... Read More
The enduring themes of brutality and horror are prevalent throughout All Quiet on the Western Front and are displayed through the experiences of the protagonist, Paul Baumer, as he fights to survive the horrors and devastation of World War One. The following examples will depict the horrendous conditions and situations ... Read More
Ever since pre-Ancient times, war has been present in human history. Whether it be the wars of the early dawn of the human era to the current War on Terror, the notion of war is ever ingrained in humans. Much like the sense of competition, war is used as a ... Read More
Wirklichkeit (Reality)Erich Maria Remarque relives his experience as a veteran in All Quiet on the Western Front, which recounts the experience of a young German soldier fighting in World War I. Having known nothing but death and fighting, the protagonist Paul Bumer and his fellow soldiers struggle to find a ... Read More
Take cover, fire in the hole! All Quiet on the Western Front and The Absolutist are two novels that represent the first and second world wars. Anti-war novels tend to change in mood from clear to ambiguous as the reader is completing the reading process. Readers clearly observe this change ... Read More
It is the thought of many that Remarques prose exists with the sole purpose of placing an immovable boulder in the path of anyone wanting to portray what was arguably the filthiest and most utterly pointless war, as anything other than filthy and pointless (Meyer, 2013). It is perhaps in ... Read More
Nine million dead and almost twenty million wounded from a total of twenty different countries, World War I was one of the most gruesome battles known to mankind. The torture and atrocity experienced by the soldiers that fought in it was unbearable. The inhumanity of the war is shown in ... Read More
Erich Maria Remarque who authored All Quiet on the Western Front, a depressing war time novel, about a German soldier named Paul. This WWI novel mirrors the movie, Men of Purpose in depressing, yet true means. Remarques first person narrative of Paul- a young soldier, reflects the young men who ... Read More
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York Ballantine Books, 1982War is not all GloriousAll Quiet on the Western Front is not a typical war book. It is fascinating and goes into a great detail about the horrors of war instead of the glory and honor of ... Read More
SRP5 what is war? Who does it effect? Who does it benefit or harm? Is it really necessary? These are not questions most people ask themselves, but these questions and others like them are the main focus of the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. ... Read More
Anthony YeePeriod 4Every man is told the same story when recruited for war. Theyre all told that theyd bring back glory and victory for their country theyd walk back as heroes and be celebrated by all. But what every man doesnt know what happened to the man that didnt return. ... Read More
Rejection of Forced PrideWhat is a war hero? Is it a label that war veterans truly view themselves as? Perhaps it is instead a concept created by the public looking in from the outside, by those who havent faced the horrible realities of war, who cannot possibly begin to understand ... Read More
The major themes within All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written by Erich Maria Remarque in 1929. The novel was one of the first that to be banned in Nazi Germany. It outlines the extreme stress and physical ill that German soldiers experienced in the first world war, detailing it with powerful prose. Despite the book becoming banned in its home country, it sold a staggering 2.5 million copies when it was reprinted for the public. It serves today as one of the most realistic and horrific accounts of Nazi soldiers and their perils in the war. The main topics or themes in Remarque’s novel do it justice, painting the plot and a picture of life in the war and helping to tell others of not only the harrowing times soldiers went through but also the aftermath as they came out crippled and worn out, feeling betrayed by the ideology and their fellow people.
Remarque creates the character of Paul Baumer to help guide the reader through one of the major themes of generation. Baumer tells the audience of the difference between his generation and the generations of either his parents or much older soldiers. Both of those generations had time to live before the war whereas Baumer’s generation, unfortunately, didn’t have this chance. Baumer talks about his experiences with death, his generation’s knowledge only being limited to death. Baumer also explains how his generation’s lives were cut short by the advance of the war and how they had to “shoot it to pieces”.
Baumer and his friends often think about what life might be like in the future but they often look at this in a pessimistic way, with little for their generation to hope for. Paul and his friends have all sustained countless injuries, one friend Albert, for instance, had his leg amputated and another soldier speaks dismally about there being no chance of recovery from the stress of shell shock and bombs blowing up all around them. This generation feels lost and people realise that things will never be the same again. At one point in the story, Paul is confronted by the realisation of his generation in a hospital when he sees everyone like him dying and experiencing the same things as him.
Remarque’s novel highlights the theme of betrayal in countless cases. Paul’s lost generation feels betrayed by the fact that they have spent the best parts of their lives fighting for what they thought was right, trying to stay alive in the trenches and avoiding being killed by the enemy instead of making the most of these times. Paul feels betrayed by the older generation and their patriotic values. He feels as though fighting for patriotism and obeying orders from the older generation has let him down, for instance, when he is penalised after not saluting a general. All the military protocols and obeying orders had done nothing for Paul and his generation.
Paul feels as though his generation has been betrayed by their parents, always calling those that didn’t want to go and fight and take orders cowards, instead of acting as loving parents that would advise them not to go and fight to almost certain death. He feels a lack of trust in his parents and doesn’t share their values. In the same way, Paul feels betrayed by his teachers who must have known full well of the perils that would come to Paul and others, yet they edged them on to join up and fight for their country. All of Paul’s feelings of betrayal are highlighted in the part of the novel where he gazes around a hospital looking at the many casualties and victims who have been betrayed by people they have known to fight in this dismal war.
The portrayal of inhuman behaviour in war is what Remarque has captured best in his novel. Throughout the novel, the theme of inhumanity highlights the disturbing detail of death and horror all around, becoming a normal part of everyday life for his generation. Paul graphically describes countless atrocities, the consequences of heavy fighting and how soldiers have become accustomed to death, brutality, and violence like it’s commonplace. He also describes the amount of dead people that are witnessed with language that makes the reader sick to the stomach, such as when they pass through the “forest of the dead”. Accounts of putrefaction and nauseating smells and gruesome details about people’s limbs that are severed, even naked soldiers hanging dead from the trees – it all helps paint a picture of inhumanity in the novel.
Remarque describes the ways that soldiers fight, poking out eyes with bayonets and stuffing mouths with sawdust until the victims reach suffocation. Retaliation is fierce and swift, but there is nothing civil about it – it is almost animalistic and fiercely callous. The inhumanity of putting new, young recruits out into the field becomes all too apparent to the reader as they read about their sobbing, trembling, and madness in front-line scenarios as they fight.
Because of the tragic conditions that all men were facing, a great sense of camaraderie is a powerful theme in this novel. This is perhaps the only positive theme of the novel. Everyone is unfortunately in it together and so the soldiers help each other out and feel part of a big group or kinship. A good example of this is when a terrified new recruit who’s gun-shy creeps over to Paul and lays his head in his chest – Paul mutters that he needs to get used to what’s out there in calm words.
Throughout the story, Paul hears the voices of his friends in his head who spur him on to keep going. This shows the heightened sense of camaraderie that serves its purpose as a coping mechanism for dealing with everything. The men support each other when they can, even if they don’t talk to each other as highlighted by Kat in the scene where he’s roasting a goose on a fire while everyone is silent – it doesn’t matter that people aren’t talking, he knows everyone is in it together for each other.
This novel puts the theme of nationalism at the forefront, showing that people had a strong ethic that everyone adopted to fight for their country. People pledged allegiance to their country and stood up to its defence by engaging in brutal conflict and doing whatever it took to defend it. However, as Remarque highlights, the idea of nationalism was in the end shown to be a hypocrisy used by higher-ups to control those below and get them doing whatever they saw fit. Schools of young boys were signed up to die for what they thought was a strong cause but in the end, fighting for their country’s glory was more like fighting for their own survival.
The themes in All Quiet on the Western Front all serve to paint a picture of the horrific problems that the younger generation faced. This novel employs such powerful use of themes to help the reader understand just how duped these fresh-faced schoolboys and others became to go off and fight for the good of their nation in a “glorious war” which ultimately saw them experiencing horrible and disillusioned life within the trenches. After reading this novel, one can hope that history won’t repeat itself at some point in the future.