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All Quiet: Deterioration of the Human Spirit

Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is not about men, but of German soldiers and their hardships during World War I and how their attitudes changed throughout the war. “We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war”(p.88). This novel portrays the overwhelming effects and power war has to deteriorate the human spirit, scar physically, and scar mentally. You start out leaving you’re home and family proud and ready to fight for you country, to toward the end of the war, you become tired and scarred both physically and mentally beyond description. At the beginning of the novel nationalist feelings are present through pride of Paul and the rest of the boys. However at the end of the war many come to the realization of how pointless and horrific war really is.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel that greatly helps in the understanding the effects war. The novel best shows the attitudes of the soldiers before the war and during the war. Before the war there are high morals and growing nationalist feelings. During the war however, the soldiers discover the trauma of war. They discover that it is a waste of time and their hopes and dreams of their life fly further and further away. The remains of Paul Baumer’s company had moved behind the German front lines for a short rest at the beginning of the novel. After Behm became Paul’s first dead schoolmate, Paul viewed the older generation bitterly, particularly Kantorek, the teacher who convinced Paul and his classmates to join the military. “ While they taught that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already that death-throes are stronger.... And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.”(P. 13) Paul felt completely betrayed. “ We will make ourselves comfortable and sleep, and eat as much as we can stuff into our bellies, and drink and smoke so that hours are not wasted. Life is short.” (P 139) Views of death and becoming more comfortable with their destiny in the war became more apparent throughout the novel. Paul loses faith in the war in each and every passing day.

Throughout the novel it was evident that the war scarred the soldiers permanently mentally....

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Category:   All Quiet on the Western Front

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