All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front is a book written by Erich Maria
Remarkque. It was a book written to reflect the human cost of war. It shows us
how war has a hidden face that most people do not see until it is too late. In
the novel, he describes a group of young men who at first think war is
glorious. But as the war drags on, the group discovers how war is not all it is
set out to be. As the war went on, they saw their friends either die or be
permanently wounded. Then the end comes when there was only one person left.
All Quiet on the Western Front takes place in Germany where a group of
young boys are first encouraged to join the military. Thinking that it would be
a great adventure, they enlisted, not knowing the fate that lies before them.
At first, the group is sent to training. They aren't in a serious mood,
thinking that war conditions aren't as bad as they really are. When the boys
are sent to the front, it is only then when they start to realize how war is not
great. This is when the boys are cramped into the trenches. Some of the
soldiers were shell-shocked because of the constant bombardment. When one of
the boys was wounded, he was taken to a hospital where there were many wounded
soldiers. Some soldiers had to have parts of their bodies amputated in order to
survive. When Kemmerich was in the hospital, Müller ask for his pair of boots.
The boots was a visible reminder to the boys of the cost of war. Paul then has
to face his own conscience when he kills one of the Frenchmen. He doesn't see
the face of an enemy but just a face of another human being. He tries to
comfort himself by promising to help the fallen soldier's family. After Paul is
relieved from the front line, he decides to go on leave and return home. But
when he tries to tell everyone of the horrible conditions of the trenches,
everybody either laughs him off or calls him a coward. Paul returns before his
leave actually ended, wishing that he had never come home. In the end, when
Paul loses Kat, Paul realizes that the war has destroy his way of life. He has
lost all his friends and has nothing to return to.
There were many symbols and images in All Quiet on the Western Front.
Examples of this include the pair of boots and the constant urge for
companionship. The pair of boots and the fact that it was passed around so often
tells us that death was a very common occurrence during the war and that the
soldiers wanted to use everything then could find in order to aid their chances
of survival. The urge for companionship is shown when the group crosses the
river to see the French girls and when the group sees the picture of the girl
while having a drink. As the boys start being killed in the war, the group
wished that everything could that they could be back home doing things they
enjoy. The pictures serve as a reminder that war disrupts everything, from
people's lives and their dreams and ambitions.
The major theme of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front is that war
must be avoided at all cost because of the severe consequences that will arise.
War causes people to lose friends, makes people worried and creates a feeling of
uncertainty among innocent people. War also creates hatred among people. For
example, two friends of different nationalities may become bitter enemies only
because their respective countries are at war.
I think the novel All Quiet on the Western Front is a well told story,
mixing both fiction and non-fiction into a powerful novel which forces people to
think deeply about war and all of its possible repercussions. The book makes me
think of all the lost talent that was lost during the war. Even though levels
of technology increases exponentially, we have to wonder what the people who
died in the war could have done to help the human cause. The novel also tells us
that friendship always prevails even though tough times. I would recommend this
book to anyone who thinks that war can be short and glorious. Through this book,
any reader can see that war brings unnecessary death to innocent people
(soldiers and civilians). After reading the book, the reader will probably have
a different outlook on war and all the low points that it brings.
From this book, I have learned that anything that can cause harm to a
person should be avoided at all cost and only be used when every single option
has been considered. This can even be applied to everyday life. When a person
has a dispute with someone else, it is best to try to talk it over first or else
the consequences for both may be disastrous.
Through this book, we, as human beings, should find attempt to find
solutions through discussion and compromise instead of warfare. Countries in
war may feel that they are gaining a lot through wars but what they fail to see
is the losses they have suffered. In many cases, the gain is negligible when it
is compared to the losses.