The novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque has many different themes represented through out it. The main theme that is shown throughout the book is the “Lost Generation” theme. In the foreword, Remarque states, “This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession… It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.” This book focuses on the Lost Generation of the German Army of World War I.
The “Lost Generation” may seem like a general age group, the group of men who fought in the war. In reality, it is more than just that. It is young men in their late teens, early twenties, who haven’t had a chance to start a life. It is also men who have had a chance to start a life, and have to leave it all behind. “The war swept us away… We, however, have been gripped by it and do not know what the end may be… We are not often sad.” (Remarque 20) This shows how the war interrupted and took over their lives so unexpectedly. Most of the new recruits did not even get a chance to start a life of their own, to fall in love, or get a chance to really decide if they wanted to participate in the war. Another example of Lost Generation is its most known and literal meaning, a generation of lost soldiers. A great example of this is when Paul has just witnessed his fellow comrade Franz Kemmerich die. “The whole world ought to pass by this bed… Franz Kemmerich… he doesn’t want to die. Let him not die!” (Remarque 29) He was only one of the wounded soldiers who had a limb amputated and eventually died from their injuries. Franz Kemmerich becomes one of the Lost Generation when he awoke from his surgery, before his death. He lost all hope of ever recovering and he became depressed to some extent. The men also felt lost in other ways. “To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier.” (Remarque 55) The men have lost all sense of comfort unless they are on the ground. The feel...
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