Review Of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque and published in 1928, focuses on the lives of the main character Paul Baumer and his comrades as they fight for Germany in World War I. Remarque states in the epigraph of the novel: “This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war”. This statement completely pertains to the novel. This book is, indeed, neither an accusation nor a confession, but it is a realistic story of war, unlike those that paint it as a glorious escapade. War affects all the…show more content…
The book would only be accusing anyone of anything or confessing to something if it was completely true, which it is not. It is a fictional work simply based off experiences of an actual soldier, thereby meaning that there is no solid evidence of anything specific in this novel happening to anyone that there should be any hidden messages. Remarque also states that this book is not an “adventure” in his epigraph. As he does so, he seems to be comparing the story of this book to common misconceptions of war that assume soldiers’ experiences there are “exciting” and understand their post-war feelings to be ones of triumph and relief. All Quiet on the Western Front is written by someone who has genuinely felt and been through most of the situations that are described in it. Remarque knew that the war was not anything even remotely exciting for the soldiers, and reveals the truth beneath what war is typically seen as- how it wrecks a soldier’s mental state, physical state, and future, even if he survives. This can be seen when Paul says, “We see men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off, they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell hole; a lance corporal crawls a mile and a half on his hands dragging his smashed knee after him” (134). Quite evidently, there is nothing about witnessing or undergoing such pain that is even…show more content…
I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another” (263). This utterance exhibits how the “lost generation” of soldiers, who were all encouraged to join the army as soon as they had finished high school, are influenced, for the most part, only negatively by war. It has caused them pain and forced them to witness- as well as do- things they will never be able to recover from. Even though these men have close friends with them to help them through the suffering of war, there is never any sense of security that they will be alive and well the next day. It only hurts more each time one of these friends die. This is seen sometime after Paul returns to the front, when all his friends from his class have died, and the only surviving comrade of his, Kat, dies. Paul is left believing that he has nothing more to live for. He has not only lost a father-figure, but also his last friend, which doubles the burden of Kat’s passing on Paul. A few weeks after Kat’s death, after the war is about to come to an end, Paul says, “Let the months and years come, they can take nothing away from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear” (295). It

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