Hospital-as-a-Symbol-of-War-in-All-Quiet-on-the-Western-Front%0d%0a - Hospital as a Symbol of War in All Quiet on the Western Front The Battle Between

Hospital-as-a-Symbol-of-War-in-All-Quiet-on-the-Western-Front%0d%0a

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Hospital as a Symbol of War in All Quiet on the Western Front The Battle Between Hope and Hopelessness While most war novels before All Quiet on the Western Front tended to idealize war, making it seem like an honorable and glorified adventure, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, discredits these conceptions by bringing the reader through a first person account of what war really is like. The novel is set during World War I, amid the horrific military innovations such as chemical gas, tanks, and machine guns that made killing much easier and remote. Remarque shows how all of these horrors not only have an effect on a soldier’s physical well being, but also take a large toll on a soldier’s psychological state too. Remarque writes that “A hospital alone shows what war is” in order to show how the hospital in chapter ten serves as a microcosm of war (263). Along with the apparent suffering that “shows” what war is really like, there are much more subtle yet distinct symbols in the hospital. These symbols illustrate the dreadful feeling of hopelessness that the soldiers so often feel when fighting on the battlefront as well as the brief, yet beautiful feeling of optimism that the soldiers so rarely feel when fighting such an emotionally devastating war. There is the self-explanatory, “dying room,” which symbolizes death and hopelessness. Then there is the cheerful Sister Libertine that symbolizes the joys of life and optimism. Instead of these

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