A Book Review of All Quiet on the Western Front
While All Quiet on the Western Front may help us understand the effects of the Great War on Germany, it is as an account of trench warfare and a simple story of human endurance. It is understandably one of the most famous of war novel.
“All quiet on the western front” talks about the vehemence of war, friendship, bewilderment and mishap.
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It gives a description of German soldiers’ experiences. It is a clear, simple narration. Quite terrible are those dreamlike pictures in its ditches.
The same for the severe feeling of being alone for the friend on leave only to return to the forefront .Remarque is the intensely interesting story of war experience of Paul Baumer who is a member of German army in world war one.
He is positioned on the western front having a role of fighting against the French and English soldiers. He however hated the war believing that it was needless and that the war has decimated the generation he belongs .This fight of the adolescent Germans was seen by Paul as useless which they have been forced to do.
This was a time that Germany was trying to gain influence in the world .Paul and 7 others eventually die in the book as depicted in the last chapter. Paul gives a picture of dying men around him in many of the battles. The pattern of Remarque’s presentation in the book is awesome. All pages with the exception of the short paragraph in the last chapter are described in first person.
The portrayal of the characters makes the reader feels as if at the scene of the battle. Two passages I really found interesting in the book the first being where Paul expresses his longing to survive: “I think no more of the dead man : “I think no more of the dead man. He is of no consequence to me now. With one bound the lust to live flares up again and everything that has filled my thoughts goes down before it” (138-139).
Here the objectives of all the armies is illustrated and it is that they all want to live and arrive home safely and they are desperate to achieve this by all means whether good or bad. The book also teaches that to escape the fear of war the best thing is to face it. In another passage, Paul talks about how his teacher previously advised about the battle to the German youths: “Kantorek would say that we stood on the threshold of life. And so it would seem. We had as yet taken no root.
The war swept us away” (16).In this place, the book depicts how young men, unprepared for war but preparing for their future are forced to give their dreams and aspirations in other to face a gruesome and deadly battle. What a mature strong men may not survive is being faced by this young people i.e. famine, poverty, thirst, terrors and demise of friends or even they themselves. Will they survive?
Even after the war, if they survive they are old and what can they do with their lives again? No jobs, no families, and no homes again. Unfortunately various life events appear purposeless after fighting in the trenches.
“All quiet on the western front” relates the events of one man who suddenly found himself in the war he knew little or nothing about. Paul Braumer was laboring in trenches while for the purpose of the uplifting of the Germany he volunteered himself for war having been persuaded by his teacher.
He and his friends served as members of the infantry. Paul wondered not only the possibility of escaping without himself being killed as he watched his friends dying one after the other but also the likelihood of surviving a world without war. He observed the trenches of western government were soaked in human blood from the death and massacre of the people.
Remarque in his book allows for a period of relief amidst hell of battle. His approach is simplistic, clear and direct without losing the essential purpose and value. There are also periods of lyrics and thoughtful ruminations. Patriotism and countryman spirit are confronted by entity of the pompous schoolmaster who persuaded the writer and his fellows to join together.
Disconnection from the civilian way of life is seen following the narrator’s leave having previously left the school for trenches with no assurance of establishing ties. It allows for a pensive thought on the generalized effects of war most marked by hindsight. Horrors are slimly depicted. With progression of the novel in terms of its character transformation, character reinforcement, the breaking and twisting in the battle front, we are being gradually challenged by the Aristocrats and the disastrous genre of the book.
The Genre of the book is tragedy. In one scene of the book, Paul and his friends were together in the open space over the boxes being used as latrines: “And it will be 2 hours before we get up again” (page 7). Paul rails: “There he lies now but why? The entire world should have passed.” The book depicts the combination of joy, happiness sorrow and the outbreak of violence.
All quiet on the western front is laudable as it will compete to emerge as one of the best if not ever best book written on war. I enjoy reading the book and the lesson I learn is that war can be terrible. I give the book distinction and I can recommend it anytime, anyday.