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All Quiet on the Western Front

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College Writing

January 13, 3006


My grandpa, who served in World War II and has been a military man his entire life, said "War is something that can destroy your life and tear apart your family." In Erich Maria Remarque's novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer experiences the dreaded feeling of his family changing. This novel excellently shows how war can tear a person's life apart, changing his whole world around. During the entire novel Braumer rapidly experiences changes from his home family to his solider family. Baumer's experiences in war cause him to develop and change throughout the novel, his stance on many issues change as a result. He has gone from his sheltered childhood and placed in a devastating war which causes him to see through the illusion of a society created by his superiors. He rapidly experiences changes from his home family to his solider family and ultimately the definition of family changes to him.

A major transition occurs in the novel that sparks Paul's future is when Paul Baumer talks with Kantorek about how he and his fellow classmates were told about the pride and glory of fighting for your own country and protecting it. Baumer and his fellow classmates never looked back and took time to think of the decision of going into war. My grandpa also said "War has a hidden face that most people do not see until it is too late." "It's like being blindsided by a car; you don't realize it until you look back on it." My grandpa has seen the power of war and how it tears families apart. Baumer and his new family, Miller and Kropp realize that everything previously thought to them in school apply no use in war. The only thing they need to know is how to fight in trenches. Paul Baumers life has changed, no longer is he with his parents and his sister but with troops, a new family has gathered around Baumer.

After being unsuccessful in feeling a part of his old society by speaking with his mother and his father and his father's friends, Baumer attempts to re-affiliate with his past by once again by entering his old room. Here, among his mementos, the pictures and postcards on the wall, the familiar and comfortable brown leather sofa, Baumer waits for something that will allow him to feel a part of his pre-enlistment world. It is his old schoolbooks that symbolize that older, more contemplative, less military world and which Baumer hopes will bring him back to his younger innocent ways. While he sits and waits, trying to reminice before the time he was a solider he says "I want that quiet rapture again. I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books. The breath of desire that then arose from the colored backs of the books, shall fill me again, melt the heavy, dead lump of lead that lies somewhere in me and waken again the impatience of the future, the quick joy in the world of thought, it shall bring back again the lost eagerness of my youth. I sit and wait" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 171). But Baumer continues to wait and the sign does not come; the quiet rapture does not occur. The room itself, and the pre-war world it represents, become an uncomfortable feeling to him. "A sudden feeling of foreignness suddenly rises in me. "I cannot find my way back" (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 171). Baumer understands that he has changed and can no longer re-affiliate himself with his old pre-war self. "I find I do not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world"(168). Paul's further involvement in war separates him from the life which he cherished so greatly. "Still I do not give up hope. I don not indeed go to my room any more, but comfort myself wit the



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