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Analysis of Themes in All Quiet on the Western Front

Analysis of Themes in All Quiet on the Western Front


A Disease or famine can be an awful thing. It can spread throughout towns and cities quickly, leaving thousands dead and the city in catastrophe. This spread of death and decay can be compared to situation Paul and the other soldiers face in All Quiet On The Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque. In this book the author shows strong feelings of despair towards war. This is done using the theme of decay, showing how Paul and the men become corrupted forever by the war. It also uses the theme of Death is Useless, by presenting the suffering of the wounded and killed men as meaningless and useless. Lastly, this book displays the theme of Bestiality, by showing how the situation of war brings out the worst and most blood-thirsty side of the soldiers.

Decay is probably the biggest theme in the book and is the way the author most displays despair of war. The author shows how the war and the death and destruction around is deteriorating the condition of the soldiers, and how the soldiers become numb to the horrors or war. One example of this is “He does not stir, his lips quiver, his mustache twitches.” (p.131). This shows how the men have decayed past the point of no return. They are totally desensitized to the war, so they simply do not react to it at all. All they hear is “monotonous cry” (p.74) of the wounded. Another example of decay is how Paul reacts to his leave with his mother. “What is leave? A pause that only makes everything after it so much worse.” (p. ). Paul is still in a state of Decay even though he should be happy, on leave with his mother. The war has affected him such that he cannot put it out of his mind, even for a few days. “Monotonously the lorries sway, monotonously come the calls, monotonously falls the rain.” (p.74). This is another example of how Paul feels total apathy for everything around him, because if he did not he would go mad. “They can no longer distinguish whence in this now quiet silvery landscape it comes.” (p. ). The soldiers are decayed to the point where they do not hear the pain and suffering of wounded men, only an anonymous screaming...

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