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All Quiet on the Western Front' is a Powerful Anti-War Novel. Identify Some of the Features Which Give it Impact

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Introduction

All Quiet on the Western Front' is a Powerful Anti-War Novel. Identify Some of the Features Which Give it Impact 'This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will simply try to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by war.' This is the preface from the novel 'All Quiet on the Western Front', written by Erich Maria Remarque. This summarises the novel and gives the reader an idea of what the writer is attempting to do. Anyone who went into the war came out mentally or physically scarred for life. This essay is attempting to identify some of the features which give the novel such a powerful impact. There are a number of different areas which will be explored throughout this essay. These include the horrors, comforts and the writer style. This novel is about German men who fought in the war. A group of five friends, Baumer, Kropp, Muller, Leer and Kemmerich left school and joined the army. They travelled to the front line where they met more comrades, such as Tjaden, Westhus, Detering and Katczinsky. The novel is a story of their lives during the war. They experience many disasters and tragedies along the way, and many of them die along the way. ...read more.

Middle

There was a great risk of getting killed. The older recruits would never see their family again if they were killed. The younger recruits never experienced what adult life was like so they would miss out if they died. The new recruits were very scared as they had never experienced anything so terrifying. One of them was so scared he filled his pants: "Many's the man before you has had his pants full after the first bombardment. Go behind that bush there and throw your underpants away. Get along...." War is a terrifying experience for anyone involved and the soldiers here were no different. One of the soldiers' main fears was the hospitals. The conditions were cramped and awful. Amputation took place when a soldier had only a small injury because it was easier and quicker for the doctors to do that: 'Every soldier some time during his hundreds of inspections falls into the clutches of one of these countless hero-grabbers who pride themselves on changing as many C3's and B3's as possible into A1's.' Kropp is particularly terrified of amputation and threatens to kill himself if he has a leg amputated: '"I've made up my mind," he says after a while, "if they take off my leg, I'll put an end to it. I won't go through life as a cripple."' Kropp threatens extreme measures here, showing how bad he thinks it would feel to have only one leg. He feels very strongly if he would rather be dead than just one leg missing. ...read more.

Conclusion

The descriptions are often impersonal and detached, painting a vivid picture in the reader's mind, usually when the scenes are horrific: 'We lay the hip bare. It is one mass of mincemeat and bone splinters.' This description is easy to imagine and adds impact because of the extent of the horrific injuries. The reader is deeply saddened by all the deaths and injuries, and the writer's style adds poignancy. The writer's style heightens the reader's aesthetic sense. Beauty is perceived, yet this style also has the totally opposite effected and gives the reader a heightened awareness of ugliness. The style throws things into complete contrast: 'It glides past the western windows with its villages, their thatched roofs like caps, pulled over the white-washed, half-timbered houses, its cornfields, gleaming like mother-of-pearl in the slanting light, its orchards, its barns and old lime trees.' This is an example of descriptive language used to portray beauty. 'Here hang bits of uniform, and somewhere else is plastered a bloody mess that was once a human limb. Over there lies a body with nothing but a piece of the underpants on one leg and the collar of the tunic around its neck. Otherwise it is naked and the clothes are hanging up in the tree.' The description here paints an horrific picture of battered and broken dead bodies. There are many other parts of the novel with description like this which all help to give impact. The writer's style gives the novel a huge amount of impact, along with the fact that war will always be terrible and horrific and no matter how well the scenes are portrayed, the war will always seem horrific ...read more.

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