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All Quiet on the Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front

Literary Analysis

The U.S. casualties in the "Iraqi Freedom" conquest totals so far at about Sixteen Thousand military soldiers. During WWI Germany suffered over seven million. All Quiet on the Western Front is a historical novel written by Erich Maria Remarque. The novel focuses on a young German soldier and the predicaments he encounters in during his life on the front. The novel displays a powerful image to all of its readers and tends to have a long lasting effect on the way that they interpret war. All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel that encourages nations to consider the horrible hostilities that war brings on humans before entering into global conflicts. From his graphic imagery and his detailed description of character relationships, Remarque depicts the brutality of the war at the front.

Remarque uses a variety of techniques to display the gruesome affects that war has not only on soldiers but on the nation as a whole. One technique that Remarque uses is imagery. One example that shows the imagery that Remarque displays occurs in chapter six when Paul Baumer talks about what the French do to the German prisoners who carry bayonets that obtain a saw on their blunt edges: "Some of our men were found whose noses were cut off and their eyes poked out with their own saw bayonets. Their mouths and noses were stuffed with sawdust so that they suffocated" (Remarque 103). Remarque shows how horrible the opposing sides treated one another's prisoners. The details used make one think of how bad the war must be and how it changes one's perception of war. Another example Remarque uses to show the brutality of war is through the imagery of sound. In chapter four Paul talks about the paranoia everyone gets when they hear the loud death cries of the wounded horses at the front: "We can bear almost anything. But now the sweat breaks out on us. We must get up and run no matter where, but where these cries can no linger be heard" (Remarque 63-64). The soldiers at war can handle hearing the bombs and shells going off never ending at the front in a small tight trench, but they cannot bear the cries of the horses and become paranoid. Paul thinks about running out of the trench away from safety and almost risks his life just to escape the deafening horses, cries. Remarque shows the brutal events and tragedies that occur in all wars through the imagery of senses and is graphic only to portray the true events that occurred.

Remarque tends to show the main character of the novel, Paul Baumer, changes his vision on life and his perspective of it through many examples. Through some dramatic experiences Paul's view on the war alters considerably. Paul transforms into a man in the novel and at one point in the novel he ends up risking his life for his best friend Katensky: "I sweat and my face is swollen with the strain of carrying. All the same I urge him to let us go on, for the place is dangerous" (Remarque 287). Katensky receives the wound to his knee and Paul tries his best to save him. Paul first met Katensky during the war and the experiences they went through in war bonded their friendship greatly for one another. Paul does everything he can to save Kat and finds the strength and courage to carry him a long ways out of the thick battleground to the nearest dressing station. Unfortunately to Paul's dismay, Katensky suffers a fatal wound to



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