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All Quiet on the Western Front

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Introduction

All Quiet on the Western Front The 19th century view of war expressed that it was the most honorable and glorious event that a man could participate in. This romantic viewpoint was quick to change after World War I. In addition, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front further illustrated the ghastly nature of war. His descriptive writing portrays the graphic details of reality, leaving the readers of the 20th century in shock. Since Remarque was the first author of his time to reveal these lifelike affairs, his novel helped change their perspective of war, forcing them to not want any part of it. In his novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque utilizes the main character Paul to symbolize the people of the 20th century. Along with his peers, Paul is encouraged by adults to fight in the war, especially by his teacher, Kantorek. Paul knows nothing about war before he enlists and is quickly disgusted to realize his mistake. ...read more.

Middle

The young soldiers in the novel discuss how the war has taken away their youth. Remarque notes, "We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces...We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in war" (88). The soldiers do not believe that war was right, but they believe in war only because that is the only thing that is real to them. The soldiers lost their youth and future. The war was a wake up call to them since they came with preconceived notions that war was splendid. However, these ideas that they were preached are wrong, and now the only thing in reality is war. Just as the soldiers are surprised, Remarque's novel was a wake up call to the readers of the 20th century in the same way. With Remarque's help, the people of the 20th century gradually became more adjusted to the realities of war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the United States has a voluntary armed forces, they do not want to go to war - they want peace. Similarly, there is a large group of people who protest because they are totally against war, an activity that never occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our modern technology has played a large part in changing our viewpoint of war. Movies have started to display the gruesomeness of war as well as video games allowing users to partake in war-like violence. Our current war is even being shown live on the news channels, demonstrating the violence. Therefore, the people of the 21st century have become desensitized to the realities of war. Thus, the readers of the 21st century have already been introduced to the issues that Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front communicates. Along with technology, the fact that the United States is so honest and open with war has allowed children to become familiarized with this subject at an early age. Consequently, the effect on Remarque's readers in the 21st century is quite different from the effect on the 20th century readers. ...read more.

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