'All Quiet on the Western Front' practice essay

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Level 1 English (90849) 2020
Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text. Explain how this change was important to the text as a whole.

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Remarque Maria

Erich Remarque’s novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ tells the story of Paul Baumer, an 18-year old German boy who along with his classmates were manipulated. Their lives first changed when they were tricked into enlisting in World War One from 1939 to 1945, by their patriotic headmaster, Kantorek. Many more changes occur as Paul and his friends enter the Front, encountering numerous obstacles. The author’s purpose of this text is to highlight how serving in the war, especially at the Front greatly affects the way human functions and how they see the world around them.

In this text, Paul and his friends realize how much life has changed for them through their experience at the Front. Just like what Paul had claimed “Our knowledge of life is limited to death”, here Erich Remarque Maria uses the figure of speech, oxymoron, to showcase the juxtaposition of life and death. This brings to light the fact that these boys were still so young when they had enlisted. They were just starting their lives as adults. However, their lives changed as their manipulative past headmaster, Kantorek manages to persuade them into thinking that war is all about glory. He symbolizes the government and its brainwashing propaganda which causes the lives of its innocent civilians.

When Paul returns home to take a leave from the Front, he realizes the effects of war and how it had changed the way he sees the world and the way he now has to act, because of the civilians’ cluelessness of the reality of war. “They are past, they belong to another world that is gone from us.”, in this quote for the text the author uses the figure of speech, metaphor to emphasize how they have distinct lives from civilian life. These young men are incompatible with living a “normal” life because of war. They are detached from civilian life. In this crucial part of the novel, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Paul realizes that his generation does not have anything to come back to, as they do not have their own families, no occupations, etc. They are the “Lost Generation”.

Albert Kropp was one of the characters besides the main protagonist, Paul, who had shared his cohort about his miserable generation. He was Paul’s best friend even before enlisting in the war. He, unfortunately, was injured and was brought into the hospital because of his amputated leg. Due to his loss, he is discouraged and attempts to commit suicide. He mentions to Paul his concerns, “Two years of sell shock and bombs… A man won’t peel that off easily as a sock”. With the use of the figure speech, simile, Erich Remarque uses the simile word ‘as’ to compare the difficulty of recovering from shell shock trauma (the inability to function normally due to experiences in war) to casually taking one’s sock off. Not only Paul but Albert as well also feel and has concluded that war has changed their lives for the worse.

The peak of the story is when Paul comes across a French soldier, Gerard Duval who inevitability is also just trying his best to survive. Following his instincts, Paul attacks Duval with a hand weapon into the French’s stomach. However, because Paul comes face to face with a fellow soldier, he realizes that Duval was also just any other man. Duval had a family, like any other person, he was still human. Paul is filled with so much guilt and offers to help Duval’s family. Baumer recognizes the great impacts, war has had on him. They have become dehumanized. The government had turned them into data, into robot-like killing machines. It became a daily routine to kill so that they could survive the day. Paul and his generation were forced into mental and physical danger, facing physical and mental stress

In ‘All Quiet n the Western Front’ we have learned that the “Lost Generation” had been forced to change their way of living and perspective of the world. Erich Remarque clearly states their point of view of the effects of the way the government had brainwashed its civilians during World War One from 1939 to 1945. War had changed a major part of their identity. They could no longer be normal, no longer dream, and no longer be themselves. Erich Remarque Maria has made a great novel to showcase that war is not all about glory, unlike what had Kantorek promised. The “Lost Generation” will forever be lost. “Let months and years come, they can take nothing anymore. I am so alone and so without hope that I can comfort them without fear.”

Kia ora - welcome to Studyit, hopefully you find it useful!

First piece of advice is - try to set up your question within your introduction. I should be able to tell that you are responding to “Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text. Explain how this change was important to the text as a whole.” - even if you had not written the question. Try to state the incident, comment (briefly) on how it changed course of events, and make a comment about importance to text as a whole - (might help achieve authors purpose). Key words help the marker see where you are going.

As I read through this essay - it is clear you know the text well, you have some really nice specific and well analysed egs.
It is unclear though which incident it is that you are discussing or how you are responding to the question. I suggest going back through and recrafting this so that it more directly responds to your question. The first thing to look at might be your topic sentences - these might use key words like “One key incident is…” or “This incident affects the course of events because/by…”