The book, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque can be identified with many themes. Whether the theme is loyalty to friends, the unbelievable suffering at the hands of other human beings, or the beauty of nature in contrast to the horrors of war, none of those are as fitting as the theme: betrayal by adults. The manipulation performed by a trusted schoolmaster, the awful treatment done by someone who is called a leader, and parents going along with what society thinks is right versus what their sons want, all are important factors that explain why betrayal by adults is the central idea of this story.
In Remarque’s book, the main character, Paul Baümer and his comrades all have a bitter feeling towards their once schoolmaster, Kantorek. The reason for this resentment towards the man is because he was basically the cause of everything. Everything being the reason why the young men joined the army. In the very beginning of the story, where Paul describes everyone, and when he describes Kantorek, it is certain that he dislikes the man. He also reveals that Kantorek was the one who almost manipulated the boys into joining the German forces. “Kantorek had been our schoolmaster, a stern little man in a grey tail-coat, with a face like a shrew mouse..... During drill-time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandant and volunteered. I can see him now, as he used to glare at us through his spectacles and say in a moving voice: “Won’t you join up, Comrades?” These teachers always carry their feelings ready in their waistcoat pockets, and trot them out by the hour. But we didn’t think of that then...Naturally we couldn’t blame Kantorek for this.. Where would the world be if one brought every man to book? There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that they were acting for the best-- in a way that cost them nothing. And that is why they let us down so badly.” (pages...
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