All Quiet on the Western Front Essay
Much like the present, there is a sort of intangible space between the older and younger generations. In All Quiet on the Western Front, youths like Paul Baümer must deal with the disillusion they feel towards what they were taught to believe in by those of the older generation. Once Paul and his fellow classmates are shipped off to war, he and the others learn that some of the things they were taught could not be farther from the truth. The author, Eric Remarque, depicts this notion of a lost generation. He brings this idea to attention throughout the book in conversations between soldiers and through the thoughts of the main character, Paul Baumer. Remarque emphasizes separation between the older and younger generations caused mainly by the false romanticism the older generation attributed to war. Any thoughts the younger generation might have of glory or honor in war were immediately relinquished following first-hand experience. This sort of passed down propaganda aforementioned was and is an important societal issue. As seen in AQWF, this issue can ruin and even flat-out end lives. As shown in the book the decision of many young soldiers to enlist was directly influenced by parents or teachers: “Kantorek had been our schoolmaster... He gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went under his shepherding to the District Commandant and volunteered. I can see him now, as he used to glare at us through his spectacles and say in a moving voice: ‘Won't you join up, Comrades?’." Although Kantorec may have been speaking out of ignorance, the harm had been done nonetheless. Through his naiveté he still believed his lies to be true. In the book this is shown to be true of many of the older generation. It is seen when Paul comes back to his hometown after one year of enlistment and encounters a head-master: "He dismisses the idea loftily and informs me I know nothing about it [the war]. ‘The details, yes,’ says he, ‘but...
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