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All Quiet On The Western Front

1214 words - 5 pages

The book All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, is about a group of 19 year old young men who are changed by the ways of war. There is paul: the main character; Tjaden: a tall, skinny locksmith, also the biggest eater; Albert Kropp: a lance-corporal and the clearest thinker; Muller: studious, intelligent, and likes school; Leer: has a preference for the girls from the prostitution houses and has a beard; Haie Westhus: a peat-digger, and big in size; Deterring: a peasant, he always thinks of his farm and his wife; Stanislaus Katczinsky: He is 40 years old, cunning and the leader of the group. Each of the boys experience a variety of struggle because of the war. Remarque uses the views of the characters to argue his opinion patriotism, honor, war and bravery.
All Quiet on the Western Front argues many thoughts on war, patriotism being one of them. From reading All Quiet on the Western Front, you can see that Remarque is not fond of war. He uses the experiences of his characters to let every reader know the consequences of patriotism. Patriotism is not necessarily a bad thing but it is thrown on young men as the sine qua non of life. Kantorek, the schoolteacher of the boys, persuaded Paul and his friends to join the war. In the book, Paul has bitter feelings toward Kantorek because he feels tricked and deceived into the war. In the book it says,
“The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to trusted than theirs. They surpassed us only in phrases and cleverness. The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke into pieces.” (p.12-13)

What Paul is saying is that the elders that taught them can't be trusted because they just tell them what they think looks or sounds good. Also the things that were taught to him (Patriotism) were not as great as they made it out to be. To prove his point, Remarque used Kropp to question patriotism.
“It's queer, when one thinks about it," goes on Kropp, "we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?" (p. 203)

The reason why Remarque used Kropp to say this is to show that even the clearest thinkers can't process patriotism. Remarque is basically arguing that patriotism gets us nowhere, because in the end the innocent kill the innocent and all that comes out of it is death.
Besides Remarque arguing about patriotism, he also gives his input about war itself. You can infer that Remarque thinks war is a horrible thing, from what the characters say and go through in the book. First he has a group of men that are 19 years old, so they are really young. He does that so people can see that war took lives of not only men but boys. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque also changes the personality...

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