All Quiet On The Western Front By Eric Maria Remarque

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All Quiet on the Western Front George Carlin once said, “[h]ow is it possible to have a civil war?” At one time, George provided a source of comedic relief; yet, he also held an important role in society as a social critic. He later spoke on the matter that war could never be a nice and gracious manor. In another way, people must retain a strong demeanor and not display concern about the harmful effects it exerts on everything, well displayed by Eric Maria Remarque. Therefore, in his novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Eric Maria Remarque utilizes the symbols of water, the earth, and animals to convey the theme the destructiveness of war. Initially, Remarque’s use of water aids to convey war’s destructive nature. For example, when Paul…show more content…
The earth is the constant object that gives them certainty in their lives. In addition, the desolation of war has forced the men into turning to the earth as though it is their mother for a source of comfort. When it offers the soldiers shelter it protects both their physical state of being and mental state, since it performs as their save haven. Paul notices a change in the landscape, “brown earth, the torn, blasted earth, with a greasy shine under the sun’s rays…[We] stagger forward, and into our pierced and shattered souls bores the torturing image of the brown earth with the greasy sun and convulsed dead soldiers…” (115). Paralleling too many of the soldiers body’s condition the earth has been blasted and torn up, destroyed by war. Paul sees the “greasy shine” which is in fact the blood of the soldiers, no time to clean up so the blood just collects and takes over the earth. Mentally, the men go through so much, since they see all the dead bodies strewn about, which is destructive to their health and detrimental to them. Towards the end of the novel a young soldier described war as, “It was winter when [he] came up, and when the shells exploded the frozen clods of earth were just as dangerous as the fragments. Now the trees are green again” (271). The war demolishes everything in its path including the men. The indication that the war is almost over appears when the soldiers…show more content…
The little beasts are hard and the everlasting cracking with one’s fingernails very soon becomes wearisome. So Tjaden has rigged up the lid of a boot-polish tin with a piece of wire over the lighted stump of a candle. The lice are simply thrown into this little pan. Crack! and they’re done for” (75). Destruction is conveyed by the men not being at the front but still killing, although it is only lice they still are performing the act of murder just on lice. The comparison between the war and the lice is that much like killing all the lice is difficult and time consuming. War takes lots of time and is hard work resulting in numerous casualties. Another paralleling factor occurs when new recruits are sent up they have little training before they are put on the front, which goes along similar to how the “lice are simply thrown into [the] little pan”. Later on when Paul is in the trenches specifically, ‘No Man’s Land’ wandering around he

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