World Literature: All Quiet on the Western Front and of Mice and Men

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*(First) (M.) (Last)
IB/AP Candidate
HL English: World Literature Assignment
7 November 2014

The Irony of Of Mice and Men and All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front takes place on a war ground where the French and Germans battle, yet John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men takes place on a ranch where two men travel together looking for work. The plots of both stories may sound different, but they relate in ways of irony, innocence, and thoughtfulness. John Steinbeck and Erich Maria Remarque use irony, imagery, and figurative language to show the considerable bonding between the main characters as they accompany each other every step of the way through their troublesome journeys.

Main characters faced violent tragedies from both stories. Ironically, Paul and Lennie from both stories met death by the pulling of a trigger from someone who was not an enemy. “His hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again.” (Steinbeck 106) After all that George and Lennie have been through, George had the nerve to put a bullet straight through Lennie’s head. “He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face and expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.” (Remarque 296) Even though Paul was killed by a comrade, he was glad that it was all over with. He died an honorable death, knowing he served for his country and tried to support for the other.

Both novels involved mice and rats, the rats being from All Quiet on the Western Front. The mice in Of Mice and Men died innocently due to the fact that Lennie kept petting them too hard as he received them from his Aunt Clara, but the rats from All Quiet on the Western Front died intentionally, yet innocently; the men of the raid shelter thought the rats to be a “burden,” so they...
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