War destroys people. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ written by Erich Maria Remarque portrays the true horrors of World War 1. Remarque uses imagery to portray the idea of ‘The Lost Generation’ and the horrifying experiences these young men had to go through. War completely changes these men, they get stripped away from their humanity and got made into animals. These men experienced so much death and violence that they can no longer show emotion like a normal human being. When Paul Baumer, an 18 year old soldier fighting in the trenches and also the narrator of the book, goes home on leave, the reader becomes aware of the negative effect that War has on a person.
Erich Maria Remarque wrote this book about what he experienced first hand. He was a soldier in WW1, he wrote this book about all the trauma and horror that he suffered with. People thought War was a glorious place, War was displayed as a heroic act. The way War got described to people was that you bravely march into battle and die as a hero. Remarque was focussed on emphasizing the themes of ‘Horror of War’ and ‘The Lost Generation’ because he was drafted at age 18 and fought on the Western Front of WW1. At the Front he witnessed many atrocities that he later on wrote about in his book ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. Remarque wrote his book to show the true nature of War. In the 1930’s ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ was burnt by the Nazi Regime because of its representation of German soldiers as disheartened and portrayed Germany in a bad manner.
An important incident in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is when Paul Baumer went home on leave. When Paul arrives home he feels disconnected from his life before war, he no longer fits into a normal society because no one understands how Paul is feeling. Paul knows that he doesn’t have anything in common with the people that didn’t go to War. The following quote “I can’t get on with the people” really shows how War has disconnected Paul. Paul can no longer relate and connect with his family and civilians the way that he used to. People back at home don’t understand what Paul has been through, they don’t know the true nature of War. War traumatized and changed Paul for life. Paul home on leave shows the theme of ‘The Lost Generation’. Paul is symbolic of all the young soldiers that went to War and came back completely different people.
Paul changed so much during his time at War that when he arrived home he leaned on his rifle and cried. Paul felt so overwhelmed and emotional being back home “it’s another world”. Paul cannot bring himself to talk about the War truthfully to his mother because she would not simply understand the horrors he has faced, all the death and violence Paul has witnessed out on the Front is something he would never wish upon another human being. When Paul was on his way to the commandments office, he fails to salute a major, who then tells him off for his bad manners. After that encounter Paul was angry that he should be told off for lack of protocol after having to endure the horrors on the Front. Paul decides to wear civilian clothes, his Mother does not mind but his Father wants him to wear his uniform so he can show off that he has a son in the army. Paul doesn’t want to wear his uniform because it symbolizes the death and suffering he has encountered, therefore has no interest in wearing it.
Paul is so disconnected with his old life that when he goes to look at his books all the passion that he used to feel is no longer there. Paul’s books are symbolic of his old life that is dead and gone. He can never go back to the life he was living before the War. At first Paul tries to remember who he used to be but gives up. “I have come back, but I feel I am not home here anymore. Paul experiences the 5 stages of grief home on leave denial, anger bargaining, depression and acceptance. Paul experiences denial by trying not to think about that war and tries to escape the harsh realities of War, he tries to connect back to his old life. Paul experiences anger because he feels agitated when he can no longer go back to his old life. When he looks at his books, he’s angry that he no longer feels the passion he used to. Paul doesn’t really experience bargaining, he tries to grasp the difference of War and home leading him to try and find similarities between the two. Paul mourns his old life before War, he struggles to find meaning and is depressed, he tries to make sense of War and fails. Paul accepts the fact that no one at home will fully understand the experiences Paul is going through at War. When looking at his books he acknowledges the fact that he has changed and has strung away from his pre-war passions.
War destroys people. War destroyed generations of young men. Paul was completely disconnected from his home life, he got changed into an animal. Nobody back at home understands the war’s true nature and its impact on soldiers. Paul Baumer’s return home was an important incident during the text because it displayed the theme of ‘The Lost Generation’. His return home made the reader biome truly aware of the negative effects War has on a person. Erich Maria Remarque’s novel portrays the disillusion and trauma that destroyed the soldiers in WW1. People in the world to this day are going through the same trauma and suffering Paul Baumer and his friends went through. War is not a glorious place, War destroys people.