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All Quiet on the Western Front Themes

Essay by   •  September 17, 2010  •  Essay  •  491 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,006 Views

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1) The Destructiveness of War

A major theme, not only on lives and property, but also on the human

spirit. Men are subject to physical torment-eyes are blinded, limbs are

blown off, blood flows everywhere, and innocent men die in agony. When

soldiers take shelter in the graveyard, bombs explode all around them,

the living hide in coffins and the dead are thrown from their graves.

The destructive power is so great that even the fundamental differences

between life and death become blurred. The impact of war on the spirit

is subtle. They find themselves less able to returrn to civilian life-

friends die all around them.

2) The Lost Generation

This theme is an offshoot of the destructiveness of war. Paul's

generation grew up too fast, its perceptins of life grossly distorted by

the horror or war. The youthful idealism that might someday have

blossomed into constructive maturity has been nipped in the bud. Unlike

earlier generations, Paul can never again hope to find comfort and

inspiration in the hollow rhetoric of politicians and generals. The war

has shattered their illusions. Their innocence is gone, and only in

aimless skepticism is left to fill the void.

3) Comraderie

The theme of comraderie occurs constantly in the novel. The comraderie

that exists in Paul's company keeps them from being driven insane by the

horrors all around them. In a sense, the comraderie among Paul's

friends can be seen as a last desperate clinging to the innocence of

youth. These young men were transported almost directly to the

battlefield from the schoolyard. The adolescent pranks of Paul and his

classmates can be seen in their "adult" behavior, as in their attack on

Himmelstoss. If the social responses of Paul and

his friends seem at

time childish, it is

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