All Quiet on the Western Front vs. Postmodernism
There are many novels that recollect various periods throughout the decades. The novel All Quiet on the Western Front is one of these. The Author Erich Maria Remarque uses a fictional character named Paul Baumer to install feeling, thoughts, and actions that the German soldiers went through during World War I specifically battling on the Western front. This novel gives a historical outlook on how the war affected these soldiers during and after the Great War.
Before getting into the book Remarque gives a few words to set his expectations for what one gets out of the book. “This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”1 This small quote is not unlike some parts of metafiction literature, although the author is not speaking directly to the reader through first person, Remarque is talking about his fictional book. He is giving a kind of personal note on what to expect, this does “bypass traditional narrative styles”2 however, Remarque does this in a very formal manor and only occurs this one time in the beginning of the book. Where a postmodern writer could throw his or her thoughts about any a part of a story anywhere they please and be informal about it; often times using “techniques that parody the writer’s craft, mingle past, present, and future events, leave situations unresolved, and freely mix the ordinary and the bizarre.”2 Metafiction is often referred to as “fiction about fiction.”2 One way to tell that a piece of literature is a modern piece of literature is by looking for the rejection of traditional authority and heroism. This happens early on in the book when Paul Baumer remembers his schoolteacher Kantorek, whom being too old to fight in the war himself...
Cited: 1. Remarque, Erich Maria, and A. W. Wheen. All quiet on the western front;. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1929. Print.
2. Fiero, Gloria K.. The humanistic tradition. 6h ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print.
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