When Words Come Alive

Topics: All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque, The Road Back Pages: 2 (613 words) Published: June 10, 2008
When Word’s Come Alive

“He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, a man who can bend language to his will.” This is how The New York Times Book Review describes Erich Maria Remarque’s writing in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Remarque uses figurative language to enhance his ideas. The most developed device he uses is personification because it grabs the reader’s attention and helps the reader understand the mood of the novel.

One example of personification that pulls the reader into the novel is, “The wind plays with our hair; it plays with our words and thoughts” (Remarque 9). This quote enhances the reader’s imagination and allows the reader to think more and develop their own thoughts because it is less descriptive. The wind playing with the soldier’s words and thoughts describes how they are in a state of confusion and uncertainty. In this example Remarque is trying to keep the mood light because it is early in the novel and he does this by using words like playing. If he wanted to portray a harsh mood he could have used a word that would represent ruthlessness or cruelty.

Fighting the war and struggling through the lifestyle that the war brings, is the basis of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. As Remarque talks about the night and the darkness this acts as a metaphor and also represents the enemy who is fighting the Second Company. A second example of how Remarque uses personification to develop his ideas further is, “The night lives, I live. I feel a hunger, greater than comes from the belly alone” (33). This statement is from when Paul’s friend Kemmerich dies from his injuries. It is representing how Kemmerich death is not really of significance because there were fifteen others who died along with him that day. Everything goes on just the same, even though a friend of Paul’s is now gone. Remarque using the word “lives” is ironic because Kemmerich dies that night.

Another example of how personification is used to set...
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