By the time of his death inperhaps fifty million copies of the novel had been sold and it had been translated into fifty-five languages. Literal-minded criticism, however, misses the point.
The murderous government is represented by its lowest social orders: Among the living soldiers, however, Remarque portrays intense bonds of loyalty and friendship that spring up as a result of the shared experience of war.
The narrator and principal character, Paul Baumer, is a young German soldier who serves on the Western Front. The very day this thought struck me, I put pen to paper, without much in the way of prior thought.
This one huge and overwhelming event in his life — World War I — would haunt him forever and influence practically everything he would write. They are forced, moreover, to deal with the frequent, sudden deaths of their close friends and comrades, often in close proximity and in extremely violent fashion.
They frequently go without food and sleep, adequate clothing, or sufficient medical care. It is an unconventional work in several ways. Remarque portrays the overall effect of these conditions as a crippling overload of panic and despair.
Modern readers return again and again to his words because their powerful message delineates a dehumanization vastly surpassed by modern technological warfare.
The shock of basic training is worsened by a sadistic drill sergeant, and the shocks grow more frequent and profound with his transfer to the front, to the ghastliness of trench warfare, and the influence of veterans for whom the sole value was survival.
I could observe a similar phenomenon in many of my friends and acquaintances.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a truthful novel but not a documentary or a memoir. The world would read his words and understand the questions of his generation, and the critics would treat his book kindly.
Again and again, Remarque would return to scenes of the war and to postwar Germany for subjects of his novels. Kantorek, the teacher, and Himmelstoss, the postman.
Remarque, like many of his lost generation, suffered postwar trauma and disillusionment. Additionally, Paul and his friends do not consider the opposing armies to be their real enemies; in their view, their real enemies are the men in power in their own nation, who they believe have sacrificed them to the war simply to increase their own power and glory.
The novel consists of twelve brief chapters, which in the original version amount to only pages. The relative worthlessness on the battlefield of the patriots Kantorek and Himmelstoss accentuates the inappropriateness of outmoded ideals in modern warfare.
Whether the survivors were German or American, British, Russian, or French, their post-traumatic stress could be seen across cultures and languages. The ethic of nationalism was not new, but it had reached new heights of intensity in the nineteenth century, and this fervor generally carried over into the start of World War I.
During the time he had been in combat, his mother had died and now he had time to mourn and regret. In each chapter, Baumer leads the reader along his descent into hell. The Horror of War The overriding theme of All Quiet on the Western Front is the terrible brutality of war, which informs every scene in the novel.
Remarque also employs contrasting, self-explanatory symbols: This intense physical threat also serves as an unceasing attack on the nerves, forcing soldiers to cope with primal, instinctive fear during every waking moment. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
Baumer and his comrades are all doomed. Additionally, the soldiers are forced to live in appalling conditions—in filthy, waterlogged ditches full of rats and decaying corpses and infested with lice.
Like the art that Remarque admired and later collected, All Quiet on the Western Front is impressionistic. It is episodic, almost documentary or diary-like in nature, and it lacks a consistent plot.
Whereas war novels before All Quiet on the Western Front tended to romanticize what war was like, emphasizing ideas such as glory, honor, patriotic duty, and adventure, All Quiet on the Western Front sets out to portray war as it was actually experienced, replacing the romantic picture of glory and heroism with a decidedly unromantic vision of fear, meaninglessness, and butchery.
The Effect of War on the Soldier 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 fight it. He also loses his ability to speak to his family.
Remarque illustrates that soldiers on the front fight not for the glory of their nation but rather for their own survival; they kill to keep from being killed.An interview from the state archives in Osnabruck gives the reader some understanding of Remarque's reasons for writing All Quiet on the Western Front.
The author states: The author states: "It was through deliberate acts of self-analysis that I found my way back to my war experiences. Everything you need to know about the writing style of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, written by experts with you in mind.
A summary of Themes in Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of All Quiet on the Western Front and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests. Remarque's obvious aim in writing this book was to point out that war is "hell." He was writing about a new type of war with new and deadly technologies, the most horrible war ever seen on earth.
The men suffered greatly and became, for the first time in history a war which was destructive at every level. But All Quiet on the Western Front has made pretty much everyone, whether you read it as a housewife in or a soldier inthink about a very particular problem: that it's hard to come home from war.
We know that that sounds like a gimme: naturally, war is going to change you. Few people outside of veterans, however, think of the.
To add to the great answers above, there is another poem that refers to Remarque's message in All Quiet on the Western Front. The poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen challenges popular war-time propaganda and questions whether or not it is an honor to die for one's country.Download