All Quiet On The Western Front, By Erich Maria Remarque

Pages: 9 (2009 words) Published: February 14, 2018


In his speech made to the House of Commons in 1940, Winston Churchill once said “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Many historians as well as leaders argue that although the road to victory is strenuous and arduous, it often proves worthy in the end for victory has a direct correlation to survival. This proves true in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. Paul, the protagonist goes to fight for Germany at an early age of 19. There he sees the realities of war, completely opposite to the vision he held that persuaded him to enlist, and loses most of his comrades including his own life towards the end...

This suffocating feeling of detachment and powerlessness rendered a label of “a lost generation.” Society progressed as the soldiers were fighting, so when they returned, they often felt vulnerable and obsolete due to their inability to subsume this new culture. Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front, shows a heartbreaking inability to assimilate to his surroundings. After a grueling experience on the warfront, he decides to go home to visit his family and relive what he once left before going to war. Once thought of as a good idea, he later realizes that this decision was horrible as soon as he hears his little sister’s voice. He says, “I breathe deeply and say over to myself, (...) ‘You are at home, you are at home.’ But a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there is my case of butterflies, and there the mahogany piano--but I am not myself and there. There is distance, a veil between us.” Through his inner turmoil, he repeats the phrase “You are at home” to constantly remind himself that he is away from danger and safely home. Paul says that “he cannot feel at home amongst these ‘things,’” although ambiguous as it is, things signifies his inner thoughts and deliberations. He reminds himself of things that once made him happy such as his mother and his case of butterflies, but he’s paralyzed by an illusive veil that blocks his happiness and reality. Paul makes it clear that he will never be able to fully adapt to society, even in a place where he’s supposed to fit in the most. These views of disillusionment are similarly seen in Picasso’s artworks. Picasso joined the cubism movement after WWI. Although not directly involved in the war, Picasso did not escape the influence war had on his country nor the encounters he had with his friends who did enlist. One famous artwork called...
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