Importance of Life Revealed in Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque's classic war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, deals with the many ways in which World War I affected people's lives, both the lives of soldiers on the front lines and the lives of people on the homefront. One of the most profound effects the war had was the way it made the soldiers see human life. Constant killing and death became a part of a soldier's daily life, and soldiers fighting on all sides of the war became accustomed to it. The atrocities and frequent deaths that the soldiers dealt with desensitized them to the reality of the vast quantities of people dying daily. The title character of the novel, Paul Bäumer, and his friends experience the devaluation of human life firsthand, and from these experiences they become stronger and learn to live as if every day were their last.
The killing and death of WW I depicted in the novel desensitizes Bäumer to the reality that death is now a regular and driving force in his life, and that each human life is no longer sacred and precious. Bäumer feels great emotion and sadness when one of his childhood friends, Kemmerich, dies early in the war. Bäumer expresses his emotional despair after Kemmerich's death, stating, "I become faint, all at once I cannot do any more. I won't revile any more, it is senseless, I could drop down and never rise up again" (Remarque 32). Because this is one of the first deaths that Bäumer witnesses personally and because Bäumer and Kemmerich were childhood friends, the emotional impact is even greater. However, not all the deaths of his comrades effect him in such a powerful manner. The fighting gets to a point at which Bäumer...
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... him. Death, which he once agonized over, is now a daily occurrence and seems commonplace to him. Life, which he once took for granted, is now cherished beyond belief, and holding on to it becomes his greatest preoccupation. These effects are not limited only to Paul Bäumer, but extend to all the millions of people that are involved, directly or indirectly, in the war. WW I has far-reaching impact. It not only touches those in combat on the front lines, but also those who support the soldiers and help to make munitions and supplies on the homefront. Bäumer, and the millions of other people involved in WW I, learn the difficult lesson that the most trying experiences in life, or in this case death, are what make us the strongest and what drive us to survive.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York: Balantine Books, 1928.
“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another (263).” Powerful changes result from horrifying experiences. Paul Baumer, the protagonists of Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front utters these words signifying the loss of his humanity and the reduction to a numbed creature, devoid of emotion. Paul’s character originates in the novel as a young adult, out for an adventure, and eager to serve his country. He never realizes the terrible pressures that war imposes on soldiers, and at the conclusion of the book the empty shell resembling Paul stands testament to this. Not only does Paul lose himself throughout the course of the war, but he loses each of his 20 classmates who volunteered with him, further emphasizing the terrible consequences of warfare. The heavy psychological demands of life in the trenches and the harsh reality of war strip Paul of his humanity and leave him with a body devoid of all sentiment and feeling.
Imagine being in an ongoing battle where friends and others are dying. All that is heard are bullets being shot, it smells like gas is near, and hearts race as the times goes by. This is similar to what war is like. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the narrator, Paul Baumer, and his friends encounter the ideals of suffering, death, pain, and despair. There is a huge change in these men; at the beginning of the novel they are enthusiastic about going into the war. After they see what war is really like, they do not feel the same way about it. During the war the men experience many feelings especially the loss of loved ones. These feelings are shown through their first experience at training camp, during the actual battles, and in the hospital.
In Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer, a German soldier, along with his comrades, suffer through traumatic events and devastating losses as they struggle to survive the violent maelstrom of the Great War. As they fight, the grave circumstances and decimated landscapes they witness has a haunting effect on them. In order to cope with this drastic setting, they resort to dehumanization. By seeing their enemies as less than human, the war conditions them to kill, relying solely on instinct alone. They distance themselves from their comrades by dehumanizing them, making it easier to cope with their deaths. To maintain their sanity and face the horrors of the war, Paul and his company must suppress their humanity.
Everyone knows what war is. It's a nation taking all of its men, resources, weapons and most of its money and bearing all malignantly towards another nation. War is about death, destruction, disease, loss, pain, suffering and hate. I often think to myself why grown and intelligent individuals cannot resolve matters any better than to take up arms and crawl around, wrestle and fight like animals. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque puts all of these aspects of war into a vivid story which tells the horrors of World War 1 through a soldier's eyes. The idea that he conveys most throughout this book is the idea of destruction, the destruction of bodies, minds and innocence.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque displays unsettling images and symbols of war as it follows Paul Baumer, a young soldier, during World War I. The constant bombardments and escaped shells of war cause the soldier to sink into a barbaric mindset of war. By using imagery and symbols to show how soldiers sink into the mindset of war the author creates a vivid picture of the many horrors of war and its mentality.
World War I had a great effect on the lives of Paul Baumer and the young men of his generation. These boys’ lives were dramatically changed by the war, and “even though they may have escaped its shells, [they] were destroyed by the war” (preface). In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer and the rest of his generation feel separated from the other men, lose their innocence, and experience comradeship as a result of the war.
All Quiet on the Western Front is the story of Paul Baumer’s service as a soldier in the German army during World War I. Paul and his classmates enlist together, share experiences together, grow together, share disillusionment over the loss of their youth, and the friends even experience the horrors of death-- together. Though the book is a novel, it gives the reader insights into the realities of war. In this genre, the author is free to develop the characters in a way that brings the reader into the life of Paul Baumer and his comrades. The novel frees the author from recounting only cold, sterile facts. This approach allows the reader to experience what might have been only irrelevant facts if presented in a textbook.
In “Vigil”, a man is lying by another dying man’s side and describing the appalling sights he senses. While he is pinned down “facing the full moon / his bloated hands / permeating / my silence /”, the narrator feels has has never “been / so / attached to life” (Ungaretti 7-10, 12-14). This is extremely disturbing as when one feels closer to life ‘s system as a whole, it means they are ready to take drastic measures to either forget, or undo the experience. Nevertheless, the situation is no less frightful in All Quiet on the Western Front. The imagery Erich Maria Remarque provides is extremely haunting, as it is an accurate representation of the horrors seen at war. When Paul Baumer sees people lying dead, he says “Their sharp, downy, dead faces have the awful expressionlessness of dead children” (Remarque 130). Baumer can envision the expression of dead children without seeing them, and relate them to what he is currently experiencing, which is a true indication of a sense uncontrollable by human
“I search around…here hang bits of uniform, and somewhere else is plastered a bloody mess that was once a human limb. Over there lies a body …both arms are missing…I discover one of them twenty yards off.” (Remarque, 208) What impression, exactly, did Baumer and his young friends gather and how did these horrors become so natural? For one thing, it was literally all they knew. They had not tasted the real world; they were thrown into the war mentally by the nationalist cries of Kantorek, and no later were thrust into it physically by Himmelstoss. “I am young,” Paul laments, “I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow…” (Remarque, 263) Paul’s companions are silent about the mental strains of the war; yet we see their despair played out in the moments of shared friendship and support that are the last tangible source of hope for the soldiers. When Remarque wrote the novel, he intended “Paul…to be more than just an individual soldier, but...representative of each and every individual soldier, whose experiences would be similar”.
Often, when people speak of war, they evoke images of pain, terror and deadening. Emotions are twisted, numbed and sometimes completely obliterated. In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baümer plays the essential role as narrator of the story, and ultimately turns out to be the pivotal figure in Remarque’s accurate debunking of the absolute horrors of the First World War and its brutal effects on the soldiers involved. One can speak of dehumanization, shell shock and animalization, but to what extent were soldiers, and in particular Paul Baümer, either desensitized or over-sensitized by war?
In Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front, Paul Baumer encounters many inner struggles. Through examining the changes occurring within himself, he finds he can no longer relate to his own past. His present thoughts and feelings are quite reclusive in nature and as he looks ahead, he finds himself fearing how the repercussions of the war will affect him in th...
The novel “All Quiet on the Western Front’ is about Paul Baumer, who joins World War I. He experiences things that are unimaginable to the common man. The psychological effect Paul experiences throughout his time in the war is the feeling of melancholy. Situations such as Paul’s leave, his first kill, and his death all back up the idea of depression.
Throughout their lives, people must deal with the horrific and violent side of humanity. The side of humanity is shown through the act of war. This is shown in Erich Remarque’s novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front”. War is by far the most horrible thing that the human race has to go through. The participants in the war suffer irreversible damage by the atrocities they witness and the things they go through.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet we can see that hate and love are very significant themes in the play and often occur alongside each other. Although love is vital, it wouldn’t be so major if it weren’t for the elements of hate, which intensify the love by contrasting against it.
Ultimately`, William Shakespeare shows in many different ways throughout the play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, that love is the more powerful force than hate. The readers see how the characters continuously forgive one another, even when the conditions are tough. The friendships between specific characters display a loving bond that cannot be broken with hate. Shakespeare demonstrates that Romeo and Juliet’s love can overpower the hate of many events in the play. He shows that their love can even overpower the death of one of their own family members. Romeo and Juliet’s love brings friendship between their feuding families. This story is a true example of how love can conquer all.