- Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text. Explain how this change was important to the text as a whole.
Event - Paul going home and realising how much he had been changed.
The Novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front ‘ written by Eric Maria Remarque is based around the themes of the horror of war and lost generation. The novel is set on the front lines of world war one 1914-1918 where a group of old teenagers are sent off to do a “glorious and noble pursuit” or something that their school teacher Kantorke said was glorious. Kantorek really had no idea what the war was really like as he had never experienced it. This horrific experience that the boys witnessed was life-changing.
The story is told through the eyes of the main character Paul Bülmer who was one out of the group of schoolboys. Paul is an 18-year-old German teenager who was persuaded that war was a magnificent experience. Previous to Paul departing for war he enjoyed things such as reading books and sketching, but as he gets deeper into the reality of war Paul slowly loses interest and humanity to the real world. The generation that Paul is brought up with is linked to the theme of lost generation as they are all sent off to war and died or tried to escape and were caught.
An incident that changes the events in the novel is Paul going home to his family. This changed Pauls thoughts on going home after the war for the reasons of he had become very dehumanised and he had very harsh animal instincts. An example of this would be the killing of Gerade Devul as Pauls first instinct was to kill him. Paul only realises this when he goes home and his room, books and clothes feel like they belong to someone else.
Pauls first impressions of war were very eye-opening to him. When the boys appeared at the training camp before embarking to war they were tortured by Corporal Himmelstoss,
(who the boys previously knew as the ccivilianpost-man). Himmelstoss was very mean to the group of boys never the less that in the long run it benefited the boys the most for the reason of they knew how to deal with the hard life of being in rough terrain.
After being at the training camp for a few months they were sent off to war, this showed the civilian boys that war was nothing like how people expected it to be, it was the complete opposite. Early into the war Paul witnessed a very slow and painful death of one of his good school friends Kemmerich who had his leg amputated and then it became infected so he slowly died. After two chapters of the novel Paul has already changeda lott he has lost all his faith in authority figures such as Kantorek, his teacher. Prior to the boys leaving Kantorek said to the young men that they are “… Young men of iron …” Paul informs “young mean? That was a long time ago. We are old now.” This shows how quickly the war changed them and how much you had to adapt to your surroundings to survive.
Some of the young boys that where brought to war to fight tried to kill themselves and escape because they couldn’t handle the anxiety on pressure of killing their own kind.
Halfway through the novel Paul was sent home on leave. This affected him majorly because he found out how much war had affected and changed him. He went home to his old room that didn’t feel like it belonged to him, he felt like a completely different person. Once being home Paul knew that he couldn’t go home for good back to what used to be reality. Throughout war the socializing between the soldiers become very poor, this also had an effect on them after war because they didn’t have any family or kids to go home to so they had to try and make a family but because they have been so dehumanized they have no social skills.
When Paul got back to war he realised that the war was his home now. He had become so dehumanised and so much like an animal because thats how he had to act at war to survive as long as you could.
In ‘All Quite on the Western Front’ by Eric Maria Remarque it decribes the horror of war and the effects that some events had on the soldiers. The novel shares the effects that the war had on soldiers through the eyes of the main charater Paul Bälmer who was remarkably effected by it.