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Unformatted text preview: Amelia Frey Hist. 222 11/30/07 Erich Maria Remarques 1929 novel All Quiet on the Western Front serves as a filter to the world he wanted so badly to forget, to the time in his life when he lost all innocence, when his childhood was stolen from him as a young soldier during World War I. As a member of the lost generation, Remarque captured his anti-war sentiments and the heartbreaking loss of innocence in his classic novel, which he reiterates when admitting that through the story of Paul Bumer and his fellow soldiers, he will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war. 1 Through many examples, he criticizes the emerging modern world and the traditions, technology, and common sentiments that define the era, showing that modern warfare has created inhumane and brutal animals out of an inherently diplomatic populace. Remarques first criticism comes from the scene depicted in chapter six of the novel, when Paul reflects on the transformation of his company: 1 1 Erich Maria Remarque. All Quiet on the Western Front (New York: Random House, 1929), preface. We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. I t is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us downnow, for the first time in three days we can see his face, now for the first time in three days we can oppose him; we feel a mad anger. No longer do we lie helpless, waiting on the scaffold, we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves, to save ourselves and to be revenged. 2 Through this glorious reflection, Remarque points out the inhumanity of war. The personification of Death offers a glimpse into the minds of the characters who are t rying to hold on to the last bits of hope they have in the face of imminent destruction and catastrophe. The soldiers defense of their actions comes through their denying the physical humanity of the enemyif they are not fighting other young soldiers, with crushed hopes and dreams of the future, their actions as small players in a larger game become somewhat justified. While reminiscing about his childhood, Paul refers to it as a vast inapprehensible melancholy. . . . The childhood, Paul refers to it as a vast inapprehensible melancholy....
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- Fall '07
- All Quiet on the Western Front, Kantorek