Subject Date All Quiet on the Western Front- A Critique “All Quiet on the Western Front “is a novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German soldier who took part in World War I. So, naturally, the novel deals with the same subject…
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Admittedly, the novel help readers shake off the romantic version of war which proclaims patriotism and heroism. Instead, it introduces the realistic picture which is full of fear, agony and suffering. The first claim that the book is not a depiction of some acts of bravery is justified by Remarque. He states in the beginning of the book that the book is “least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it” (vi). The main character in the novel, Paul Baumer, was a happy lad who had no idea what miseries are involved in the lives of soldiers. This makes him join the army with his friends and schoolmates. Remarque portrays the happiness and hope they had through claims like “today is wonderfully good” (7) and “wonderfully carefree hours” (9) in the beginning. However, as they come to face the hard realities, their optimism disappears gradually. This is so because the atrocities they face on the warfront is rather gruesome, “men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off…we see men without mouths, without jaws” (134). ...
Even his father asks “stupid and distressing” questions about his experiences in war. In addition, there is his schoolmaster who goes on advising Paul about the strategies to be adopted to reach Paris because in his opinion, Paul knew very little about the war but knew only about his “own little sector” (147). The alienation is so strong that he feels he “ought never to have come on leave” (83). The third important aspect is the contradiction between how desperately soldiers want to save their lives and how worthless their lives are for the superior officers and the society. Fear of death makes the soldiers say, “Never has life in its niggardliness seemed to us so desirable as now” (285). Feelings like extreme homesickness, fear and depression mar the lives of soldiers due to the extreme suffering they are subjected to in the warfront. However, for leaders and civilians, nation and its victory are important things and the lives of soldiers are of no value. Ironically, the novel reveals that though the soldiers are lured into war by the ideology of nationalism, they are no more fighting for their nation on the war front. Instead, they are fighting for their lives. In fact, the novel reveals that the soldiers are sent to the warfront without adequate preparation and are made to live in totally dehumanizing situations. In other words, their lives are sacrificed for success and glory of the nation. The last point to be mentioned is the worthlessness of an individual’s life in a war. Paul dies at the end of the war like many other soldiers after facing all the agony depicted in the novel. However, the situation report from the warfront says “All is Quiet on the Western Front” (155). Thus, one reaches the realization that even though a nation
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