"All Quiet On The Western Front".

1038 words - 4 pages

All Quiet On The Western FrontPrologue'It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped it shells were destroyed by war.'Is this the sole experience of the reader of the book? Is there more to this book than merely a tragic story.All Quiet on the Western Front is the story of a man's growth from childhood to manhood accelerated by the war. It portrays the innocence of a generation taken from their safe classroom cocoon, and made some of them against their will, to be thrust into a brutal world of death and destruction which few would come through unscathed. Typified in the following paragraph " But in the end he let himself be persuaded, because he would have made things impossible for himself for not going. Maybe others felt the same way he did; but it wasn't easy to stay out of it because at the time even our parents used the word 'coward' at the top of a hat". Like it was told many had no choice, they were pressured into doing it. To be perfectly honest nobody knew what it was going to be like, 'a trip to France' propaganda was a deadly right. As you can see it is more than a tragic story, it's also a story of youths having to take responsibility for their own transition into adult life, when they realized those they held in authority were not going or not able to help them make the painful journey. This allowed them to achieve great personal growth once they came to terms with the fact that they were on their own and ultimately their life and their comrades' life relied on them being able to make independent decisions. This is shown from the following exert from page 9: "In our minds the idea of authority - which is what they represented - implied deeper insights and a more humane wisdom. But the first dead we saw shattered this conviction. Also from page 10: "But now we were able to distinguish things clearly, all at once our eyes had been opened. And we saw that there was nothing left of their world. Suddenly we found ourselves horribly alone-and we had to come to terms with it alone as well".What also comes through in the book is a being's determination to survive and adapt to a hostile environment. This comes through in the following example pg 38: 'The moment we hear the whistle of the first shells, or when the air is torn by artillery fire, a tense expectancy suddenly gets into our veins, our hands and our eyes, a readiness, a heightened wakefulness, a strange suppleness of the senses. All at once the body is completely ready."A reason why men kept themselves alive was because of the aspect of great comradeship due to the situation they where in. They had to rely on their comrades as well as their own skills not only to survive but also to keep themselves sane. Achieving some kind of rapport amongst...

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