All Quiet On The Western Front

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Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel that takes you through the life of a soldier in World War I. Remarque is accurately able to portray the episodes soldiers go through. All Quiet on the Western Front shows the change in attitudes of the men before and during the war. This novel is able to show the great change war has evolved to be. From lining your men up and charging in the eighteenth century, to digging and “living” in the trenches with rapid-fire machine guns, bombs, and flame-throwers being exposed in your trench a short five meters away. Remarque makes one actually feel the fun and then the tragedy of warfare. At the beginning of the novel Remarque gives you nationalist feelings through pride of Paul and the rest of the boys. However at the end of the war Remarque shows how pointless war really is. This is felt when everyone starts to die as the war progresses.
Remarque accurately portrays all aspects of the war. However Remarque is best able to portray the effects the war has on the soldiers and the rest of the people and the scene of the battlefield compared to home.
The war scarred the soldiers permanently, if not physically then mentally. After the war the soldiers usually never recovered from the war. Two of the most common side affects of the war were shell shock and stir crazy. When suffering from shell shock a soldier’s brain doesn’t function properly and the man is a “vegetable”. This means the man is alive but he can’t do anything because he is in a state of shock because of the war. Stir crazy is a mental illness caused by the firing of so many bullets that when no bullets are heard by the victim he goes insane. Everyone was scared to go to war when it started. Young recruits were first sent because the veterans knew they were going to come back dead. "When we run out again, although I am very excited, I suddenly think: “where’s Himmelstoss?” Quickly I jump back into the dug-out and find him with a small scratch lying in a corner pretending to be wounded.” (P 131) Even the big men like Himmelstoss are scared to go fight. They too go through the mental illnesses like stir crazy and shell shock. “He is in a panic; he is new to it too.

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