All Quiet on the Western Front

Topics: Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Road Back Pages: 2 (638 words) Published: September 18, 2013
War is a terrible reality where people commit heinous atrocities that always end in suffering, but unfortunately war is also powerful enough to convince many that “it is sweet... to die for your country”(Owen). Spoken by famous British poet Wilfred Owen, a WWI soldier who sarcastically expressed the constant false interpretations of war, this quote illustrates the simple brainwashing statements that are frequently told to generations of young men in hopes of convincing them to travel down the unfortunate path of war with false assumptions. With similar views, Erich Maria Remarque published the novel All Quiet on the Western Front after WWI through the perspective of Paul Baümer, a German soldier who experiences the true reality of war. Although war is often glorified and patriotic soldiers are fueled by their strong sense nationalism, in reality true horrors and pains of war become overwhelming, ultimately forcing many to find comfort amongst fellow comrades in order to survive. War is portrayed as heroic and the notion of fighting for one’s country is admirable and encouraged; however, war is not as glorious as it is portrayed. Soldiers who go to war not only risk their lives but also experience unmeasurable brutality. For example, Baümer goes to war at the ripe age of 19 and experiences events so horrifying that he is constantly reminded of the “grey, implacable muzzle...rifle which moves noiselessly before me whichever way I...turn my head” (Remarque 210). Baümer is continuously bombarded with these feelings both on and off the war front, and is traumatized even when safely hidden away in his shell hole; this reveals that even the slightest possibility of a bomb can create terrifying hallucinations. Soldiers are trained to be fierce, tough, and emotionless, however inside they are just as fragile and breakable as “little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and sometimes almost go...
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