Erich Maria Remarque

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Erich Maria Remarque’s Works as Representations of the Nature of Love

Marina Draga

Humanities

Research Paper

Marina Draga

Dr. Hopkins

Humanities

April 17, 2009

Erich Maria Remarque’s Works as Representations of the Nature of Love

Thesis Statement: Painful encounters in distressing events like those in the battlefields are what make people realize the real value of compassion and belongingness. Topical Outline:
I. Introduction
II. Erich Maria Remarque as a Poet
A. Earlier background before he ventured into war novels B. Early critics on his works
C. Developments as a war novelist
III. The Nature of Love in Remarque’s Works
A. “All Quiet on the Western Front”
B. “Flotsam”
IV. Conclusion

Draga 1

Erich Maria Remarque’s Works as Representations of the Nature of Love

“We have to believe in the future, in a better future. The world wants peace …”

– Erich Maria Remarque, in an interview in 1946 (qtd. in Sherwood)

During tough and trying times, when people’s spirits are suppressed or crushed, the things which usually help alleviate the low emotions tend to be attention from concerned people and their understanding, friendship, compassion, and love. War, revolutions, and political conflicts are just some of the most depressing moments the world experiences every now and then. During these moments, what the world needs the most is sincere compassion and care. War can also be considered as one of the most emotionally high moments when people are filled with negative feelings such as fear, angst, and/or grief. This could be one reason why a lot of people who have lived through a war have also been inspired to express their shattered spirits and frightful experiences in battle through writing or literature. In turn, this literature inspires the readers as they read what the author has gone through. The German poet, novelist, and common foot soldier Erich Maria Remarque’s works are good examples of this field. He was German who turned his back to his home country and chose to become an American citizen due to political conflicts his country suffered during his time (Robertson). He experienced war when he was sent as a solider to the battlefront of First World War. It was clearly depicted in his works that painful encounters in distressing events like those in the battlefields are what make people realize the real value of compassion and belongingness.

Erich Maria Remarque as a War Poet

Draga 2

Remarque was not one of the lucky and blessed ones to be born in this world with a silver spoon in their mouths. He was a son of a humble bookbinder who raised him supportively despite the hurtful realities of their country’s battles with foreign nation’s ideologies. Although Remarque had to deal with the fact of their family’s financial trials, he continued to have high hopes and dreams which urged him to work at an early age as a piano lesson instructor just to earn some pennies to buy a few nice clothes (Gordeeva). He also had high dreams to study and become a professional educator. Thus, he pursued a degree in a teachers’ training college and taught for sometime before he dutifully went out to battle in service of the German army. His entrance to the aggressive and hostile realities of the battlefield opened his eyes to the pain and loneliness of wars. All the overwhelming grief and pain the war brought to his consciousness urged him to express his misery and depression through writing, and this was how his journey to the world of literature started.

In his early ventures as a war novelist, many critics disregarded his works because he preferred not to use a creative writing style; rather, he just went straight to the description and representation of the physical troubles and dooms of World War I (Gunton). The reason for this was said to be rooted to Remarque’s preference in expressing his...
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