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Literary Analysis Of Erich Maria Remarque´S Novel: All Quiet On The Western Front

1561 words - 7 pages

Remarque opens this passage by introducing “the juniper and the birch trees on the moor” as Paul practices drill at the training camp (188). Detailing his daily routine at the camp, he states that "it is bearable if one expects nothing better" (187). That is to say that only someone inexperienced with these drills, and war, would expect even a small amount of leniency. Especially at the camp where the notoriously cruel Himmelstoss "gave Tjaden his education" no soldier would expect a good time (187). Paul performs his drills wherein he must "advanced at a run" and "fling down" in a seemingly intensive nature (187). In the midst of this intensity, Paul focuses his energy onto a more peaceful. He watches as his breath moves "the flowers and the heather too and fro" (188). Despite being midway through a drill, Paul finds time to admire the delicacy of the gentle flowers, moved by the tension in his breath.
Soon after, Remarque describes Paul’s admiration of the "fine sand" which seems to him, to be neatly composed of "millions of the tiniest pebbles" (188). Paul admires these pebbles and observes them to be "as clear as if they had been made in a laboratory" (188). Whereas the normal eye would see a pile of sand granules, Paul notices each pebble individually, despite the little individuality they actually possess. Paul's fascination with the sand continues and he is surprised by what comes next. As he digs his hands through the sand he reveals that it is "strangely inviting to dig one's hands into" (188). Although Paul as narrator often uses first person, he reframes at this moment and chooses a word less personal. Using the highly less personal "one" as opposed to “my” or “your”, Paul indicates that he does not identify with the statement but he also notes that he understands it. That is to say that Paul feels more connected to the sand, rather than the hands that grasp at it, unknowingly. What would otherwise have been an ordinary day training turns into an appreciation of nature.
Paul continues to commend the beauty of the nature that surrounds his camp in the following paragraph. He focuses on the "line of birch trees" in front of him and watches as their "color changes with every minute” (188). Remarque intentionally makes Paul's point of you unrealistic, in that the trees cannot possibly be changing colour at every moment. During this time, the birches certainly are reformed when they change colour. That is to say that all of them change at the same time, possessing as little individuality as the pebbles which seem to have been made “in a laboratory” (188). Once again, Paul relates with the uniformity of nature, which anyone else would see as commonplace and pass by. Therefore, there must be something blocking his perception, or at least altering it. The trees first appear to Paul as "gleaming purest white" and the leaves shining a "pastel green" colour (188). Both of these colors are easily associated with youth and purity, they are...

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