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Novel Essay 2021 (with question)

Describe an important setting in the text.
Explain how this setting helped you to understand one or more key ideas.

In the novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Baumer, 18, graduates high school and is influenced to join the army by his Professor, Kantorek. Paul an his friends are young and naive and are tricked into believing the propaganda that is fed into their heads by Kantorek. Being on the front line, many different settings and places can give us ideas and key points in the text.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a story about a group of naive young men who have just graduated high school, and join the army after falling for captions of patriotism and honour. The novel is narrated by Paul, who by the end he is 20 years old, and dies peacefully as to show the insignificance of death in the war. The novel deeply shares the horror and brutaltiy of the war consistanlty throughout.

One of the main settings in the text was Pauls family home. Paul is injured while on the front line, and is sent home for 17 days leave. When Paul arrives home he feels isolated and out of place. Nothing around him feels how it did before he left. His clothes, books and room feel as though they belong to someone else. He feels lost. Paul is disasociated and confused. Nothing is normal for him anymore. “The moment I entered my home, it didn’t quite feel like ‘home’ anymore” this tells us directly how Paul is feeling about being home and feeling uneasy. He can’t answer the questions that his mother is asking, because he could never begin to explain the horror on the front line. This setting was able to help the reader understand the feeling that was prominent in the Novel. The reader will notice how the younger men had no life to return to when the war was over, they had no job or family to go home to. While the other men, had farms or wives and children to go back to once the war was over.

Another setting in this novel that was key to helping the reader to understand an idea in the text was the graveyard. The cemetery was being bombed and dead bodies that were burried for only a few days were being exhumed and thrown everywhere. The wooden coffins were being splintered and exploding, risking Paul and his friends lives. This experience is horrific, but can tell us that in the war, even the dead aren’t left to peace. Paul is thrown off, hiding inside of partly blown up coffins. This can give the reader of uneasiness and worry. It helps the reader to understand how brutal and horrific the experiences are on the front line. “Wooden splinters from buried coffins were coming toward us at a rapid and deadly pace” this sentence paints a picture of the danger and risk that the men were put through in this setting.

One other setting that was able to display a key idea in the novel, was the time in the hospital, when Paul is visiting his close friend and classmate after he looses his leg. The cold and dark hospital gives the reader the obvious idea about how bland and unstimualting the place is, not making those that are injured hopeful for their healing and recovery. Watching Kemmerich suffer after his leg amputation, was painful for Paul as it showed him how pointless the war was. The hospital setting is brought up in other times throughout the novel, when other classmates and fellow soldiers of Paul are at risk, and everytime it brings the same feeling for the reader. A lonely place that doesn’t quite encourge people to have a will to keep living.

Many of the settings in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ gives the reader help with understanding key ideas from learning about a setting in the text. As the reader, this helps us with being able to understand at a better level the pain, horror, and brutality that each individual soldier experienced during the war.

Kia ora

Its good that you have signposted by using key words in your intro. I suggest trying to be a bit more specific here. WHAT is the setting/place and what is the key idea? Be careful with question as well which says “an important setting” meaning one - you have spoken about multiple through here - you will need to pick one and really develop it to be convincing or perceptive. If it says “one or more” or “setting/s” then you can talk about multiple

I also suggest incorporating more language that demonstrates you understand the author is crafint this for a purpose - this can involve just including the name more - EG " Remarque uses the setting of____ to…" “Here the author highlights that danger and risk that…” -

I would unpack your thematic discussion a bit more if you can eg “paints a picture of the danger and risk that the men were put through in this setting.”- what can we learn from this idea? How does this risk impact them overall? Try to dig a little deeper.

A good understanding of the text - keep at it :slight_smile: