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All Quiet on the Western Front Essay

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Introduction

All Quiet on the Western Front "Never believe any war will be smooth and easy," (Winston Churchill) shows that there are a wide variety of experiences of war. These experiences can be seen in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque in the conditions of the front, killing and death and the home front. Conditions on the front were extremely harsh on the soldiers. The soldiers are on total alert for any incoming of shells and bullets. They are harassed by gas clouds and offensive attacks. Remarque shows the many emotions of soldiers to reflect the conditions of the front. The first example is by personifying the sounds of battle. "Invisible menace, howling, whistling and hissing" gives the shells a negative quality. By using the actions of new recruits further shows the fear of the soldiers. There is the incident of the blonde recruit "huddles under my arm." This shows the degrading of a human from the experiences of war. ...read more.

Middle

He also uses nature's adaptation to the death as a sign of the large numbers of death: "two butterflies...settle on the teeth of a skull." Remarque talks about killing as a way of survival. Here, Paul does not believe he is fighting humans but Death itself: "the hands and helmets that are after us belong to Death himself." Once again the long flowing sentence shows the heat of battle. Words such as 'wave' show the ferocity and intensity of the battle. Remarque takes this further by juxtaposing it to society. He talks about himself as "murderers, I suppose devils" showing how much he is changed from society, emphasising how the experiences of war have changed him. Remarque also uses the scene of Paul in a shell hole with the enemy he killed to bring realisation that Death is not just a concept - it is human. Paul realises that he is the thing he has feared for so long - to the enemy he is Death. The word "gurgling" brings emotion into Paul. ...read more.

Conclusion

Remarque mentions how each day is a lifetime of experience, and it can be seen from Paul's large knowledge of the consequences of war ("I shoved the helmet over his backside...a wound there can be bloody painful") that he would be unable to fit back into society ("we are refugees") who do not understand him. He no longer wears his uniform as he cannot bear the people that ask him what war is like because he cannot explain to them what he has experienced. Paul also says "we are old now" showing that they have been changed from the experiences of war that they feel older than they really are. It can be seen by the home front how soldiers have been affected by the experiences of war. In concluding, it can be seen through the home front, killing and death and the conditions of the front how Remarque shows the experiences of war in All Quiet on the Western Front. We can therefore fee the wide variety of experiences that Winston Churchill hints to when he says "Never believe any war will be smooth and easy." Dean Exikanas ...read more.

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