Essay PreviewMore ↓
Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front , is a novel set in World War I, and centers around the changes wrought by the war on one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque's protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a hardened and somewhat broken-in veteran. More importantly, during the course of this metamorphosis, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons—parents, elders, school, religion that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days. This rejection comes about as a result of Baumer's realization that the pre-enlistment society simply does not understand the reality of the Great War. His new society, then, becomes the Company, their fellow trench soldiers, because that is a group which does understand the truth as Baumer had experienced it.
In All Quiet on the Western front the novel is told from the first person point of view, the reader can see how the words Baumer speaks are with his true feelings. In his preface to the novel, Remarque maintains that "a generation of men ... were destroyed by the war" (Remarque, All Quiet Preface). Baumer's closest comrades fall one after the other. The conditions in the German army are to harsh, they have no food, ammunition, moral is low they could not keep fighting. An important episode in the novel is when Baumer is issued a period of leave when he visits his home town. This leave is disastrous for Baumer because he realizes that he can not communicate with the people on the home front because of his military experiences and their limited, or nonexistent, understanding of the war.
When he first enters his house, for example, Baumer is overwhelmed at being home. His joy and relief are such that he cannot speak; he can only weep (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 140). When he and his mother greet each other, he realizes immediately that he has nothing to say to her: "We say very little and I am thankful that she asks nothing" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 141). But finally she does speak to him and asks, "'Was it very bad out there, Paul?'" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 143). Here, when he answers, he lies, profusely to protect her from hearing of the chaotic conditions from which he has just returned. He thinks to himself, "Mother, what should I answer to that! You would not understand, you could never realize it.
How to Cite this Page
"Free Essays - All Quiet on the Western Front." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Sep 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front , is a novel set in World War I, and centers around the changes wrought by the war on one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque's protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a hardened and somewhat broken-in veteran. More importantly, during the course of this metamorphosis, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons—parents, elders, school, religion that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
1135 words (3.2 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front The setting of this novel takes place in Germany during World War I. the war is being fought at the fronts- which is almost every side of Germany where other countries lie. For the most part, Paul Baumer stays on the western front, (north west of Belgium), during the three years when the novel takes place. The setting is very important because it shows the darkest part of the war, when most of Germanys fighting takes place. Paul Baumer, a young soldier who enjoys writing poems and plays, becomes a man during his three years of service.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
960 words (2.7 pages)
- about men, but of German soldiers and their hardships during World War I and how their attitudes changed throughout the war. “We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war”(p.88). This novel portrays the overwhelming effects and power war has to deteriorate the human spirit, scar physically, and scar mentally. You start out leaving you’re home and family proud and ready to fight for you country, to toward the end of the war, you become tired and scarred both physically and mentally beyond description.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
837 words (2.4 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the greatest war novels of all time. It is a story, not of Germans, but of men, who even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war. The entire purpose of this novel is to illustrate the vivid horror and raw nature of war and to change the popular belief that war is an idealistic and romantic character. The story centers on Paul Baümer, who enlists in the German army with glowing enthusiasm.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
1030 words (2.9 pages)
- All’s Quiet on the Western Front Lewis Milestone’s “All’s Quiet on the Western Front”, based on Erich Remarque’s novel, is an incredibly disturbing and effective anti-war film. The grainy black and white film is still not outdated and carries a breathtaking initial impact. The prologue that introduces the film gives its anti-war intentions immediately and beautifully. “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]
438 words (1.3 pages)
- Paul Bäumer Paul told the story of the war as it happened to him. The reader is taken from the front line, to a catholic hospital, to his home while he is away on leave. His story tells of the sacrifice the soldiers gave defending their country. It also tells of the difficulties of losing friends, killing another man, and going day after day without much, if any, sleep. He died in October of 1918, just before the war ended. His death was described as this, "...his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come." Stanislaus Katczinsky Katczinsky, or "Kat" as he is referred to, is the leader of this group of men.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
1061 words (3 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front At the beginning of this chapter, Paul reflects back on how the war abruptly uprooted his life and the lives of his comrades. He ponders how the war has destroyed the lives of the men of his generation because they no longer have anything to return to. He acknowledges the fact that the war swept him away and now he doesn’t know what he can make of his life. He and the other men have become, in his words, wastelands. Even with all of the mental anguish they endure, the men are not often sad.... [tags: Free Essays]
400 words (1.1 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)
- The Metamorphosis of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel set in World War I, centers around the changes wrought by the war on one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque's protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a hardened and somewhat caustic veteran. More importantly, during the course of this metamorphosis, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons-parents, elders, school, religion-that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days.... [tags: All Quiet on the Western Front Essays]
3550 words (10.1 pages)
- Essay: All Quiet on the Western Front An anti-war novel often portrays many of the bad aspects and consequences of war. Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel set in the First World War that is against war. Remarque describes the terrible reality of the war, focusing on the horrors and involved. The novel portrays an anti-war perspective as it brings up issues about the brutality of war, the narrator’s change of attitude towards war, the futility of war and the deaths of the narrator’s friends.... [tags: essays research papers]
1184 words (3.4 pages)
Also during his leave, Baumer visits the mother of a fallen comrade, Kemmerich. As he did with his own mother, he lies, this time in an attempt to shield her from the details of her son's lingering death. Also, in this conversation, we see Baumer rejecting yet another one of the traditional society's foundations: religion. He assures Kemmerich's mother that her son "'died immediately. He felt absolutely nothing at all. His face was quite calm'" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 160). Frau Kemmerich doesn't believe him, or, at least, chooses not to. She asks him to swear "by everything that is sacred to" him (that is, to God, as far as she is concerned) that what he says is true (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 160). He does so easily because he realizes that nothing is sacred to him. By defying this oath, Baumer shows both his unwillingness to communicate honestly with a member of the home front and his rejection of the God of that society.
During his leave, perhaps Baumer's most striking realization of the of his former society occurs when he is alone in his old room in his parents' house. After being unsuccessful in feeling a part of his old society by speaking with his mother and his father and his father's friends, Baumer attempts to reaffiliate with his past by once again becoming a resident of the place. Here, among his mementos, the pictures and postcards on the wall, the familiar and comfortable brown leather sofa, Baumer waits for something that will allow him to feel a part of his pre-enlistment world. It is his old schoolbooks that symbolize that older, more contemplative, less military world and which Baumer hopes will bring him back to his younger innocent ways.
But Baumer continues to wait and the sign does not come; the connection does not occur. The room itself, and the pre-enlistment world it represents, become alien to him. "A sudden feeling of foreignness suddenly rises in me. I cannot find my way back" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 152).
Baumer is caught in a shell hole during the bombardment. Here, he is forced to kill
a Frenchman who jumps into it while attacking the German lines. Baumer is horrified at his action. He notes, "This is the first time I have killed with my hands, whom I can see close at hand, whose death is my doing" (Remarque, All Quiet IX. 193). That is, the war, and his part in it, have become much more personalized because now he can actually see the face of his enemy. In his grief, Baumer takes the dead man's pocket-book from him so that he can find out the deceased's name and family situation. Realizing that the man he killed is no monster, that, in fact, he had a family, and is evidently very much like himself, Baumer begins to make promises to the corpse. He indicates that he will write to his family and goes so far as to promise the corpse that he, Baumer, will take his place on earth: "'I have killed the printer, Gerard Duval. I must be a printer'" (Remarque, All Quiet IX. 197). More importantly, Baumer renounces his status as soldier by apologizing to the corpse for killing him.
In the end he has lost everyone that he ever felt for. And when he died in 1918, they say there was an expression of glad on his face.
Ultimately, that is all that Paul Baumer is left with: war is war. It cannot be defined; it cannot even be discussed with any accuracy. It has no sense and, in fact, it has a lack of any kind of meaning. In All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque shows the disorder created by the war. This disorder affects such elemental societal institutions as the family, the schools, and the church. Moreover, the war is so chaotic that it infects the basic abilities, not the least of which is verbal, of humanity itself. By showing how the First World War deleteriously affects the syntax of language, Remarque is able to demonstrate how the war irreparably alters the order of the world itself.