Symbolism In Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

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War, what is it good for. What seems to be just a catchy song from the late 60’s, actually has an accurate depiction of the gruesome wars this world has gone through. In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, WWI soldiers learn the cold hard facts about how nothing good comes out of wars. Not everyone is born a fighter, some are peer pressured into volunteering not knowing the treacherous path ahead of them. Throughout the book Remarque uses symbolism to express the gruesome effects on soldiers.

Remarque uses multiple symbols to show the withering down on the emotional state of the young soldiers. When one of the men’s comrades, Kemmerich, dies, his boots are passed on to Muller who seems to excited about the boots to grieve the loss of his friend, Paul explains it as, “We have lost all sense of other considerations, because they are artificial. Only the
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When Paul returns home on leave, he finds [his mother and sister] “cooking potato cakes, the house [reeking] of it” (157). The potato cakes remind him of of his family. It also makes him feel terrible inside for leaving his mother in her time of need. After seeing the front and fighting for the first time, the men realize that "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier… she is his only friend, his brother, his mother” (55). This shows that everything the soldiers had was taken from them. The soldiers have nothing else to love but the earth itself. Coming back from the front line one day, “Detering… came back and had a couple of branches of cherry blossom”, upon being questioned about it, he said “I have a big orchard with cherry trees at home” (275, 276). The cherry trees remind the soldiers of the better times when they were at homes with their families. This symbol shows the longing of their return to their homes. The soldiers are put in a dangerous emotional state that will affect the rest of their

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