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All Quiet On The Western Front Film Essay

The horror of war was an important recurring theme in Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘All quiet on the Western Front’. This theme shows us how the war really was without romanticizing the story or adding themes such as heroism or patriotism. This helped me to better understand the realities of the war and the genuine experience for the people involved. This novel is told through the eyes of Paul Baumer, a 19-year-old “German” boy who enlisted in the army at the age of 18 along with many of his school friends, as the story progresses we see all the horrific things that these young boys have to go through as a result of the war.
In “All Quiet On The Western Front” Erich Maria Remarque uses the theme of the horrors of war to show us how the war was seen through the eyes of those involved. Remarque showcases this the most prominently in chapter 9 when Paul is forced to see up close what happens to someone during death “the other man makes a gurgling noise. To me it sounds as if he’s roaring, every breath is like a scream, like thunder - but it is only the blood in my own veins that is pounding so hard.” During this scene, Remarque frequently uses sensory imagery to make the scene feel more real to the reader. Remarque explains the soldier’s death by using a great deal of adjectives, this causes the sentence to paint a much more vivid image in the reader’s head and pushes us to imagine what it would be like if we were in this situation. This in turn helps us to understand the theme of ‘The horrors of war
During chapter 7 Remarque writes about how soldiers cannot convey the same emotions as they used to, before the war. “Just as we turn into animals when we go up to the line . . . so we turn into wags and loafers when we are resting. . . . We want to live at any price; so we cannot burden ourselves with feelings which, though they may be ornamental enough in peacetime, would be out of place here. Kemmerich is dead, Haie Westhus is dying… Martens has no legs anymore, Meyer is dead, Max is dead, Beyer is dead, Hammerling is dead . . . it is a damnable business, but what has it to do with us now—we live. Remarque uses listing to emphasise how soldiers often had an immeasurable list of friends and comrades who were injured or killed. During this scene, Remarque is trying to show us how soldiers disconnect themselves from their feelings so they can survive during the war. Paul explains how feelings such as empathy or fear are only a luxury that they cannot afford. This helps to emphasise how the war affected the soldiers.
“For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity . . . to the future . . . in our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with greater insight and more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs. . . . The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces.”Remarque also uses the theme of the lost generation to help us to better understand the theme of the horrors of war. This quote showed us how false ideals such as honour and patriotism coerced the young boys into becoming soldiers and how the people who were telling them these ideals didn’t understand the truth about the war or chose to not see it and how Paul and his comrades felt betrayed by the people they once looked up to. This helps to link the idea of how the war affected the soldiers.

Erich Maria Remarque wrote ‘All quiet on the western front’ to convey the message of The Horrors of War and how the soldiers involved were affected by it, without adding false ideals such as heroism or patriotism.

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