The young men entered as patriotic citizens fighting for their homeland, full of dreams and youth, only to have their innocence lost. The opening chapter is key in explaining, through the voice of Baumer, a major theme in All Quiet on the Western Front: Paul and his fellow classmates were caught between rhetoric from ignorant orators about their responsibility to their country and the reality of a bloody battlefield.
Trusted individuals were encouraging these young men to volunteer for service. Parents, teachers and leaders of the communities were all instrumental in this band of friends enlisting only to be shattered permanently by the reality of war. Kantorek, their respected and trusted teacher was one in particular who was instrumental in the entire class enlisting. The first chapter emphasizes the unheroic, unglamorous, horrifying life of a soldier.
The reality versus the glamorization by authority figures is relayed completely during that time period. The reality of blood and death, represented by the death of Joseph Behm and the impending death of Kemmerich destroys any ideals that war is glamorous. The death of these two comrades being in the first chapter is significant because it illustrates the brutality and raw truth of war.
The lengthy description of using the general latrines further describes how dehumanizing their lives were. It is also an example of the true reality that they lived with each day and demonstrated how unaware Kantorek was. Everything conveys that it is a new sort of war novel; one that reflects exactly what being at war was like. The tone of this novel is one of struggling with the fear of death, struggling to survive, and dealing with the death of their comrades and others around them.
The routine way that Paul describes events that happen set a tone of someone that is detached and retelling a nightmare. This detachment from reality must take over in order to get through it. The fact that half of his company was killed is related in a way that is very casual. Almost, a look on the bright side, we get more food.
They do their best to avoid gunfire and bombs. Nothing makes the true experience of war look fair in this novel. Even the friendship between Paul and his fellow soldiers goes through reality. Moreover, Remarque also examines the gap in age and power enlarged by war; he illustrates the war as ultimate betrayal of the older generation of the younger.
Paul and the men of his age joined the war under the heavy pressure of people whom they trusted as authority figures. They believe these people to be their leaders and guide them to maturity instead of sending them to the death with empty slogans of patriotic duty Ian West wall, As the story goes on Paul begins to realize much how the older generation has betrayed them.
These lines conclude that it is time for him to decide, and for his comrades to see what is actually good and what is actually bad, as they cannot have faith in the older anymore. Paul feels bewildered and betrayed about whom to trust. Because of war and awful condition of the trenches, the class fellows, who are still alive, suffer a lot. The older generation wanted the younger generation to be in war, to make their country much better than others.
It is not the war in which soldiers fight for freedom or something good for their country. It strikes them that they fight for the self-importance of the country. Ideals of nationalism are the reason why the older generation is willing to sacrifice young men for. Seeing all the suffering at war, Paul understands that the true enemies are the people in his country who want and make them fight for such ideals.
Having understood everything, Paul and friends killed to stay alive. When there is a talk about enemies between Paul and his friends, they do not wish to speak about the soldiers on the opposite side. Instead of it, they focus their attention on their antipathy to Kantorek and Himmelstoss. Before World War I, wars generally did not involve nonstop fighting over a period of years. In the past the armies mostly consisted of hired mercenaries, or professionals who fought seasonally. However, the soldiers in this novel are volunteers.
For Paul and his classmates, the army has become an expression of patriotic duty; they do not perceive it as a career. Outside the classroom, young men of their age faced condemnation from society if they did not join the war effort as volunteers.
There were also several new advancements with weapons developed in World War I, such as, machine guns, airplanes,. All Quiet on the Western Front By:
- Essay: All Quiet on the Western Front An anti-war novel often portrays many of the bad aspects and consequences of war. Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel set in the First World War that is against war. Remarque describes the terrible reality of the war, focusing on the horrors and involved.
Join Now Log in Home Literature Essays All Quiet on the Western Front All Quiet on the Western Front Essays The Glory of War is the Realization That There is No Glory Anonymous All Quiet on the Western Front. World War I was a conflict fueled by territorial desires and nationalism.
Erich Maria Remarque's war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, deals with the many ways in which World War I affected people's lives, both the lives of soldiers on the front and the lives of people on the home front. Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is an abstruse proclamation against war, which focuses especially on the destroying effects of war on soldiers’ humanity. Romantic ideals of warfare are under attack throughout Paul’s narration.
All Quiet on the Western Front shows the change in attitudes of men before and after the war. The novel portrays the effects that war has on the individual. Each aspect of the novel is addressed in the opening chapter of the book. Many of the preceding war novels to All Quiet on the Western Front, misrepresented or overlooked the anguish of war, in favor of more resplendent ideals such as glory, honor, or nationalism. The predominant issue of All Quiet on the Western Front is /5(1).