In Erich Maria Remarque's novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer paints a vivid picture of the horrors of war. Many of these horrors are purely physical, such as the constant bombardments and gunshots whizzing overhead. But along with these physical horrors come mental and emotional ones. Chief among these is the "war mindset" that the soldier must acquire in order to survive war. The essence of this mindset is the total disregard for human life, and with it, human beliefs and customs. War requires a suspension of these standard human beliefs and customs. Paul outwardly appears to have acquired this "war mindset," but he does not internalize it and thus eventually dies.
For the most part, Paul at least outwardly appears to have adopted the war mindset. His actions are very much those of the typical soldier. For example, Paul, like all the other soldiers, will do anything he can for food. He is well accustomed to relieving himself out of doors: "Here in the open air though, the business is entirely a pleasure. I no longer understand why we should always have shied at these things before. They are, in fact, just as natural as eating and drinking" (8). Most of all, he values his survival above social customs: "We have lost all sense of other considerations, because they are artificial. Only the facts are real and important for us. And good boots are scarce" (21). For Paul, as for most soldiers, the rules of normal, polite society simply do not apply at the front. In the time between Paul's volunteering for the war and the beginning of the book, he has changed. For all the physical evidence, he is a common foot soldier.
But Paul's transformatio...
... middle of paper ...
... Paul wanted to get out of the war. Maybe Paul died on the right day; he loves quiet, and he dies on possibly the quietest day of the whole war. Maybe he just wanted to end his misery. In any case, Paul cannot accept the philosophy of war and thus gives himself up for death.
Society wants soldiers to believe that war is glorious. But it is not. Society wants soldiers to believe war is an adventure. But it is not. Society wants soldiers to believe that our enemy is the only enemy, that our cause is the only cause, that our people are the only people. But there are many enemies, many causes and many peoples. According to Paul, all these causes are equally ignoble, and none of these enemies are worthy of being slaughtered en masse. For Paul, as for many people, past, present, and future, war is simply unacceptable, and nothing can repair the damage it does.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- All Quiet on the Western Front One of the best war novels that is read by thousands of high school students each year is Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. This story depicts the life as a solider in the German Army fighting against the Central Powers. The solider, Paul Bäumer tell us of the fun he indures along with the hardships of war demonstrating an antiwar theme. The scene in this book that displays the antiwar theme the best would have to the "shell hole" scene that starts on page 207 and ends on page 229 demonstrating an ironic tone that is created wonderfully using Remarque's organizational and dictional skills.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
542 words (1.5 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front Millions dead, tens of millions injured, for what. For a petty argument between two countries. War is devastating to countries and most indefinitely individuals. Men can be left disturbed mentally, physically, and socially for the rest of their lives. Is this necessary. Well maybe you should decide after reading the next few paragraphs. You can decide if the war being fought is a war of dignity and glory as everyone would make it out to be or if it was a battle of death and gore.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
997 words (2.8 pages)
- 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.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
1386 words (4 pages)
- Whenever one reads or hears about World War I or World War II, you hear of the struggles and triumphs of the British, Americans or any of the other Allies. And they always speak of the evil and menacing German army. However, All Quiet on the Western Front gives the reader some insight and a look at a group of young German friends who are fighting in World War I. “This story is 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.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
984 words (2.8 pages)
- At the beginning of the 20th Century, the great powers of the world engaged in the largest war concerning deaths in modern times. This war, which is often called the Great War, or World War I, had serious consequences that have affected our world today a great deal. One novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, has been considered a classic and possibly "the greatest war novel of all time". The story follows the adventures of a German solider, Paul Baumer, from the time he enters the military to his unfortunate death at the end.... [tags: Quiet Western Front War Remarque]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque’s literary breakthrough, All Quiet on the Western Front, describes two stories. It meticulously chronicles the thoughts of a soldier in World War I while simultaneously detailing the horrors of all wars; each tale is not only a separate experience for the soldier, but is also a new representation of the fighting. The war is seen through the eyes of Paul Baumer whose mindset is far better developed in comparison to his comrades’. His true purpose in the novel is not to serve as a representation of the common soldier, but to take on a godly and omniscient role so that he may serve as the connection between WWI and all past and future m... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
1919 words (5.5 pages)
- In his novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque depicts a transition in the nature of reality from idealism to realism and naturalism. This transition takes place at different parts of his novel, and to different degrees. At the beginning of the novel, on page 12, we see through Paul B„umer's comments regarding Kantorek that he and his friends were taught in school of the "glory" of war. B„umer stated, ".they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing." Since B„umer and his friends respected and trusted Kantorek, they hardly gave the prospect of not going into war a second glance.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
885 words (2.5 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque "All Quiet on the Western Front" was written in a first person style. The story was told by Paul Baümer, a nineteen year old student, convinced to enlist with the German army by his schoolmaster, Kantorek. Along with many of his friends from school, he is trained under Corporal Himmelstoss, a strictly disciplined commander who dislikes Paul because of his "defiance." When sent to the front, Paul, along with his other friends, made new friendships that would last throughout time.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front]
573 words (1.6 pages)
- Just envision you were a soldier running, ducking, and dodging bullets. The heat from exploding grenades burning the back of your neck, having to hide in wet, smelly, muddy trenches in order to survive. The only way to keep in touch with your family and friends is by writing a letter, not knowing when they will receive it or if they will even write back. Imagine having to carry a large amount of weapons, for example: machine guns, pistols, grenades, flamethrowers, or rifles. Now, we are lucky that's only a vision in our minds, because in 1914, that was reality for the soldiers of World War I.... [tags: All Quiet Western Front ]
1586 words (4.5 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front - A Book Review Professor’s Comments: This is a good example of a book review typically required in history classes. It is unbiased and thoughtful. The Student explains the book and the time in which it was written in great detail, without retelling the entire story… a pitfall that many first time reviewers may experience. 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.... [tags: All Quiet Western Front]
1912 words (5.5 pages)
- Religious Symbolism in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
- Feminism in Sophocles' Antigone and Shakespeare's Othello
- Feminism in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
- Essay on The Awakening as Romantic, Realistic, and Local Color Writing
- The Awakening: Romanticism, Realism, and Local Color
- Essay on Toni Morrison's Beloved - Character Naming