Western Front Essay, Research Paper
Some authors use themes to show the reader some perspective. Erich Maria Remarque s book All Quiet on the Western Front uses many themes but there are four main ones. Those four themes are the Lost Generation, futility of war, sound imagery, and the institutionalization or depersonalization of war. Some of these themes can be integrated together to make an alarming yet wonderful effect to draw the reader into the story of All Quiet on the Western Front .
One of the most prominent themes book is also the most saddening. That theme is the institutionalization or depersonalization of war. Remarque begins the story with Germany s soldiers fighting an
institutionalized war. Soldiers were trained to destroy and kill the enemy. By institutionalizing the war, it was made easier to kill someone just like you for no reason. But by depersonalizing the soldiers with their enemy, it left devastating effects on the mind and heart. Soldiers emotions were deadened and they became irrational. Throughout the story, Paul Baumer, the narrator does not talk about killing someone but as the story progresses, this changes. An example of Paul acting irrational because of the effect war had on him was when he was in the trenches and all of a sudden, a French soldier comes into the trench and Paul immediately stabs him without thinking about, for Paul is scared and emotionally scarred. After stabbing him, Paul leaves him alone to let him bleed to death. In that part of the story, Paul regains a little bit of his emotions because after he stabbed the man, he starts to feel very guilty about it. He tries to talk to the dead man and help the man s wounds. When Paul looks at the mans wallet, he finds some information about the soldier and realizes that the soldier was very much like himself, the only difference was
that they were fighting on different sides. Paul then starts to feel he killed himself and wishes no more of a part in the war.
The institutionalization of the war led to people thinking how futile this war really is. Because the war was so depersonalized for the soldiers of Germany, they start to feel this isn t their war to fight. Their loyalties are lost. What could have been solved between world leaders in a peace meeting had been made into an all out war, making millions of people lose their lives. Paul s comrades wonder what exactly are they fighting for. Their elders are telling them that they are fighting for their Fatherland but they still do not understand. Paul and his comrades come into a conclusion that the war was just a matter of one countryland offending another countryland. But yet they wonder, how can a mountain in France offend a mountain in Germany?…
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