Comparison and Contrast of "The Man with the Broken Fingers" and All Quiet on the Western Front

Topics: World War II, Erich Maria Remarque, World War I Pages: 3 (1245 words) Published: December 2, 2009
Both the poem, The Man with the Broken Fingers and the novel All Quiet on the Western Front have unique similarities and differences. They both deal with war. The Man with the Broken Finger is a poem by Carl Sandburg and was written about World War II. All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written by Erich Remarque and it deals with World War I. Erich Remarque was born in Germany and his novel All Quiet on the Western Front its characters are members of the German military. Carl Sandburg is from Illinois and his poem deals with an American war hero. These two literary works both have their similarities and differences, especially in the areas of point of view and theme.

The Man with the Broken Fingers is written third person. Carl Sandburg uses the third point of view for many reasons. First, Sandburg uses the third person point of view to keep the character in the poem nameless. He simply refers to him as the Man with the Broken Fingers. (ll. 1) He also keeps the nameless to keep him applicable to the reader. When the character in a novel or poem is nameless our mind automatically fills in a spot and replaces this nameless character with a person that we know in our lives that shares common characteristics. This is a simple trick used in some writing to establish temporary report with the reader. Sandburg also uses the third person point of view because it is difficult to place the reader on a battlefield. It is much easier to tell a story of the war. After the poetic shift, the third person point of view becomes a crucial part of the poem. It is hear where Sandburg begins to sever and dehumanize the nameless man. If Sandburg were to sever the ties and kill himself off there would be no one to tell his story. There is also less personal connection with the reader with a third person character. Then Sandburg uses this character to embody a specific ideal of courage to inspire new recruits. This same story of sacrifice would have been rejected had it been...

Cited: utner, Nathaniel. War: A Book of Poems. Brooklyn: Cool Grove Publishing, Inc., 2004. Print.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. London, UK: Createspace, 2009. Print.
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