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All Quiet on the Western Front - an Analysis on Novel

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All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel detailing the experiences of World War I from the perspective of a German soldier, Paul Bäumer. He, along with some other young men of his age, endured many incredibly dehumanizing ordeals during the war. After witnessing the deaths of all of his comrades, Paul lost his life October 1918, on a day that was so quiet that the army dispatches reported "all quiet on the western front".

This book was written by German author Erich Maria Remarque in 1929, and the novel is semi-autobiographical. Remarque had enlisted as a soldier in WWI and it was the terrible memories that haunted him after the War that prompted him to write this book that describes the terrors of the war. This makes this novel very authentic. The first-person narrative makes this novel especially compelling and it successfully reconstructs the scenes that happened almost a hundred years ago to seem real, even to readers of the present day.

This moving novel, which has depicted the lives of the German soldiers vividly, tries to present to the readers the worst horrors of this terrible disaster that had changed the lives of a tremendous amount of people at that age. The novel evokes great sympathy and demonstrates the preciousness of peace and the need to preserve it by employing a dark and gloomy tone. There is not one single trace of hope throughout the narrative of the characters. The incessant deaths and violence had long crushed any naïve dreams of adventure. The image of the novel gives one a stifling feeling. The sense of despair seems to suffocate the readers with overwhelming despondencies and realism, for death is the ultimate theme in the book. It was the mutual enemy of soldiers of all nations. It occurred so frequently that soldiers became indifferent. When one of the soldiers Kemmerich was wounded fatally and had a leg amputated, his friend Muller was thinking more about how to get hold of the pair of nice boots in the possession of this dying man. (pg 16) You could not condemn this man, for "only the facts are real and important" for them. "Just as we turn into animals when we go up to the line . . . so we turn into wags and loafers when we are resting. . . . We want to live at any price; so we cannot burden ourselves with feelings which, though they may be ornamental enough in peacetime, would be out of place here. Kemmerich is dead, Haie Westhus is dying . . . Martens has no legs anymore, Meyer is dead, Max is dead, Beyer is dead, Hammerling is dead . . . it is a damnable business, but what has it to do with us now



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