All Quiet on the Western Front - 1

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All Quiet on the Western Front

In the novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque, the main character Paul Bäumer’s development shows the horrors of the First World War and the effect it had on the young men who fought in it. Paul Bäumer is the main character whom is nineteen years old, Bäumer volunteered for the army along side four of his classmates. Some parts in the novel is written in past tense when Paul Bäumer is collecting his thoughts. Most of the novel is written in Present tense. During the novel we see Paul Bäumer changing as a person, he has just left school and is a young boy with no experiences. By the end of this novel end even half way through he had become a well experienced man.

Paul Bäumer is the main character and also the narrator. At just nineteen years of age, Bäumer volunteers for the German Army. Before war is a young creative and passionate person who had lots of love for his family. As the war went on Bäumer changed as a person. Bäumer and four of his classmates joined because they felt it was their patriotic duty. After a while of being in the trenches Bäumer starts to get visions of being in Kantoreks class as he gave his great ‘iron youth speech.’ He soon realises Kantorich persuaded the class to join.

“During the drill time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went under his shepherding to the District Commandant and volunteered.”

Bäumer felt he was doing right by his country but he soon feels he can’t tell anyone about his experience in the army and where his families are concerned he feels like an outsider. People like Kantorek are hypocrites, urging young pupils to join up whilst not volunteering himself.

Kemmerich dies. This is the first death we experience as readers in the novel which is very upsetting.

“I became faint, all at once I can not do anymore… He is dead. The face is still wet from the tears. The eyes are half open and yellow like old horn buttons.”...
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