All Quiet On The Western Front Sift Essay

1182 words - 5 pages

“I think it [war] is more of a kind of fever. No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing- and yet half the world is in it all the same. (206)” Erich Remarque describes how war is an odd sort of happening through Albert Kropp, one of the most intelligent young men of Paul Bäumer’s company. Remarque, himself a German World War 1 veteran, uses the characters of Paul’s company to channel his frustrations from his experiences during the war. The vivid imagery used to describe bombardments and life at the front allows the reader to visualize the reality of warfare. It’s bloody, messy, and repulsive. Extreme detail aids ...view middle of the document...

The stirring passages revoke anger at those who incite war, and pity for those who fight in war. On page 134, there is a particularly gruesome recount of men holding their intestines, men crawling on leg stumps, and men without all of their proper facial structures. This ugly report contrasts the often romanticized idea of war, in the fact that honor and courage would not help someone with their skull blown in. Later on, Paul wonders why this suffering need take place, the the Germans are obviously losing and armistice is near. After Paul goes on leave and returns, he returns to his company where he discovers a scene of mass disarray.

“Here hang bits of uniform, and somewhere else is plastered a bloody mess that was once a human limb. Over there lies a body with nothing but a piece of the underpants on one leg and the collar of the tunic around its neck. Otherwise it is naked and the clothes are hanging up in the tree. Both arms are pulled out. I discover one of them twenty yards in a shrub. (208)”

This scene exhibits the reality of the front, and upsets one’s mind to picture such carnage. Remarque writes this in order for the reader to once again clear their mind of the romanticized idea of war. Personal character does not set one soldier above the next and out of the way of a mortar shell- luck does.

In order to represent the needless suffering that occurred in World War 1, the author uses figurative language. The death of almost every major character is met with heavy irony, such as that of Müller. He was one of the smartest in his class, and had many thoughts about the war. He is shot point blank by a flare gun, which is ironically fitting for the “brightest” of the men, as well as an extremely painful way to die. Others such as Kat, Kemmerich, and Paul also have satirical deaths. Remarque also compares the earth to man’s mother in an extended metaphor. An intimate relationship is described between the soldier and earth, like that of Oedipus and Jocasta. Following a separate theme of naturalism, the earth protects her child, and loves him while he hides in her body, from the enemy. If this mutual love did not exist, soldiers would die in even larger numbers.

Through the characterization of All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque makes it very clear what his views are of war. He...

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