Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

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In 1928, Erich Maria Remarque published a war novel All Quiet on the Western Front narrated by the main character Paul Baumer. This historical fiction focuses on the depressing and life altering events that take place within a group of young men who entered a hellish war. While most war novels focus on patriotism and the heroic anecdotes, the protagonist, Paul, explains the dark side faced as a soldier and all of the changes one endures once enlisted. Entering the war barely legal, the boys quickly matured into men when realizing that they were surrounded by carnage and gore. As depicted through Remarque’s work, it is obvious that who these individuals were when they entered the war was not at all close to who they were to become. Focusing on the themes of change and horror, Paul recounts his time on the German-French front until his last breath. “After a pause he says slowly: ‘I wanted to become a head-forester once,’” (Remarque, 31) this…show more content…
As Paul states, “The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in war.” (Remarque, 121). This horror desensitizes them and causes them to only focus on the end rather than the fact that the may have many beginnings ahead of them. The one encounter Paul has with the woman he was determined to “win” quickly fades and turns innocence to darkness through the realities that even though they felt temporary happiness, there is still death all around them. The loss of their friends, such as Franz, hits them hardest when realizing that not all deaths hurt the same, especially when there was once a personal connection. Remarque is able to show that there is still some innocence and humanity left in the boys through small instances, such as mourning the loss of a friend and feeling the frustration of putting yet another to
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