Describe at least one physical setting in the text.
Explain how physical setting helped you to understand an aspect of society.
War destroys the human soul.In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, he truly demonstrates this by showing the true horrors of war.He does this by describing the setting of the front line,the military hospital and a shell crater.He puts images of these settings into the readers head,showing how horrific war can be.They are described in gruelling detail, showing how war can affect someone physically and mentally.
Erich Maria Remarque,wrote many anti war novels.He used his own personal experiences from serving in the first world war.Remarque does this to show what war is truly like and how it can affect people in many different ways.In the 1930’s Nazi German’s burned this book because it showed what war was really like and if people read it,it would prevent them from signing up for the second world war.Remarque quotes at the start of the novel ‘This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as a confession,but simply as an attempt to give and account of a generation that was destroyed by the war-even those who survived the shelling’.This statement tells the reader that the novel is not about war and how people view it’s about the how it is truly like.The novel follows a 19 year old German soldier, Paul Baumer.He is narrator the of this novel,it follows his journey from leaving school to joining the war with his fellow classmates.
‘The terror of the front sinks deep down when we turn our backs upon it…. But we do not forget it’.This shows how afraid the soldiers are about the front line (the battlefield),the terror in them sinks back down when they leave the front,but they do not forget about what they saw and heard there.While Paul and his fellow soldiers go to a previous battlefield they see gruesome things.’In the branches dead men are hanging.A naked soldier is squatting in the fork of a tree,he still has his helmet on,otherwise he is entirely unclad.There is only half of him sitting up there,the top half,the legs are missing’.This extract from the novel shows the appalling things that truly happen at war.The technique that Remarque uses is imagery,he creates images in the reader’s head using descriptive language to show this.This shows a certain aspect of society, the Lost Generation.The Lost Generation is a generation of young men that went and fought in the first world war,and if they were lucky enough to survive were lost.They didn’t fit into society anymore,there family didn’t know what they had gone through emotionally and physically and what horrific things they have seen.So the soldiers felt like no one could understand them.This helps the reader understand more about the Lost Generation.This links to how war can destroy the human soul.
‘Only a military hospital can really show you what war is’.Is a quote from when Paul and his friend Albert Kropp are in a military hospital for their injuries they sustained while running away from shelling.Paul states this showing that a military hospital can truly show how dreadful war can be.Paul also sees the men physical and emotional stability.Kropp has his own mental crisis when he is arrives back from having his leg amputated.Paul quotes ‘He is in a bad way.’ , ‘Now he hardly ever speaks.’, it gets worse when he says ‘he will shoot himself the minute he can lay his hands on a revolver.’ . Kropp would rather kill himself than live with an amputated leg.This shows how war can easily change someone’s mindset on their will to live.Another example of this is when another soldier,a young musician,arrives.The nurses aren’t allowed to give him knives for eating,but one time a nurse left him for a moment and he grabbed it and rammed it into his chest.This shows imagery and can paint a picture in the reader’s mind of what the hospital looks and even feels like.Later on Paul is given crutches as he is well enough to move around and isn’t confined to a bed.He decides to walk around the hospital and while doing so he looks around at all the wounded soldiers and quotes ‘It is only a military hospital that you realise all the different places where a man can be hit’.This creates imagery in the reader’s head of the sights Paul is seeing.This shows an aspect of society has how people will typically believe that a military hospital is like any regular hospital and that they get treated very well,but it’s not like that at all.The way Remarque describes the military hospital shows how gruelling it really is,showing the reader how war can destroy the human soul.
Death.It’s a main factor in war.People die,it’s inevitable.But Paul killing his first face to face shocks him mentally and physically.While on the front line Paul is forced into a shell crater,to take cover from shelling.While Paul is in the shell crater, a french man stumbles into the crater with Paul.And Paul’s fight or flight mode kicks in and he brutally stabs the man until he goes limp.This creates suspense because the reader isn’t sure whether he will kill the man because of his past actions, until he does kill the man.After Paul lets go of the man,he starts to wash his blood soaked hands and the dagger he stabbed the man with.He stares across at the man and starts to help him by grabbing his gauze to stop the bleeding.The guilt of killing another human eats away at Paul,he describes it as ‘an invisible dagger stabbing into him’.Paul’s attempts to save the man fail as he bleeds to death.Paul then goes through the mans belongs and finds out his name is Gerald Duval and that he has a wife and kids and realises that he is a person too and that everyone fighting in the war is the same.Paul quotes ‘Comrade,I did not want to kill you…’.This is him telling Duval that he didn’t mean to kill him it was just his animal instincts.Paul realise that they are the same and that they have been told that the ‘enemy’ are different and are bad,but they aren’t.This shows how society and the news has made it so the ‘enemy’ is so different from themselves.
In conclusion,Remarque’s novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’,truly shows the physical settings of war from the front line,military hospital and a shelling creator.Horrific war,has been seen recently with Ukraine being bombed by Russia.The middle east and parts of Africa are experiencing this as well.Seeing their loved ones be bombed and have to go off and train incase a war does break out.The gruelling and ghastly images that are put into the readers head is Remarque’s purpose to tell and in this case show people that war shouldn’t be glorified.And that war destroys the human soul.