Critical Review of All Quiet on the Western Front

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“This book…will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war” (Remarque Preface). All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque, tells a story of a young soldier, as he and his friends fight for the German army during World War I. The novel is narrated from the point of view of Paul Bäumer. He is nineteen years old and, like many of his classmates, he joins the German army. The story follows as they fight through the horrid experiences of trench warfare. Unlike many other war novels, All Quiet on the Western Front does not attempt to romanticize war. All Quiet on the Western Front does a superb job of describing war as brutal and destructive, rather than romanticizing it because it gives the reader a clear understanding of the emotional and mental state of the soldiers; and describes how the different setting where war is always present; and each character contributes to the horrid truths of the war.

As the narrator and the protagonist of the story, Paul Bäumer speaks of many experiences of the war. One of those experiences is surviving the war mentally and emotionally. The novel gives great detail when is referring to Paul’s thoughts and feelings. “Our thoughts are clay, they are moulded with the changes of the days; - when we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead” (Remarque 271). The reader is moved to pity for these young men as they have lost all hope of every having a normal life. They no longer know what life is like outside of war. They have barely lived, yet life holds no promises for them. “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow” (Remarque 263). The soldiers speak as if they have never experienced happiness or life. Their old life is a distant memory. All is war.

Another way the author shows the brutality and destruction of war is though...
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