All Quiet on the Western Front Summary 24

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Destructiveness of War
In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque, many different techniques are demonstrated to portray the destructiveness of war. The most effective way however, is the use of his diverse imagery. It provides clear images that relate to the main theme as well as include complex symbolism. It gives a good perspective on the war and how it effects people. One is never the same after experiencing this. Remarque’s use of different types of imagery clearly illustrate the theme of the absolute destructiveness of war.

Remarque’s most repeated strategy is the use of animal imagery. As Paul fights for food he exclaims, “What a kick a goose has! … a bulldog…the only thing to do is to get hold of my small revolver.” (92). The goose represents the soldier’s ignorance while the bull portrays the actual reality. They have been changed so greatly by the war that they try to ignore reality and destroy it forever with the only way they know how to now. A revolver, the tool that destroys their opposing soldiers and Paul and his comrades mentally. The little humanity they have left has begun to perspire. As Paul ponders he describes, “The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully.” (101). The soldiers are helpless like an animal in a cage. They await with uncertainty and rely on instinct to guide them. They see the opposing side as superior. They are nothing but an animal waiting to be hunt down. As Paul states, “…furious blast is like a blow from the paw of a raging beast of prey.” (106). The soldiers are the prey of the shell lands. They are the target and have no other option other than to escape. The prey is never stronger than its attacker, and neither are the soldiers. Remarque’s use of animal imagery is clearly evident.

Another type of imagery Remarque uses to illustrate the destructiveness of war is death. Paul describes, “Death is hunting us down ' now for the first time…we can see his face” (113). Death is...
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