Free “All Quiet On The Western Front” Is A Well-Known Novel By Erich Maria Remarque. Book Review Sample
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Erich Maria Remarque was born in Germany in 1898.In 1916, he joined Germany army to fight in First World War. War ended after ten years and he published “Im Westen Nichts Neues”, which was translated into English by Arthur Wesley Wheen after a year with the title “All Quiet on the Western Front”, novel which describes the experiences of young German soldier about the war. Most of the novels of Enrich Maria deal with social and political convulsion during First and Second World Wars in Europe. Many of his books are also adopted to film. However, All Quiet on the Western Front is the most famous of all and remains his masterpiece because no other novel written by him was as popular as this one.
This novel was first published in November and December 1928 in the German newspaper named, “Vossische Zeitung” and later in January 1929 book was published. This book was accommodated as the Oscar-winning film of the same name in 1930, which was directed by Lewis Milestone. The most noteworthy aspect and the reason behind the success of this novel is that it deals with the experiences and situations of German soldiers, unlike most of the other books dealing with the World Wars.
This book tells the story of a German soldier, Paul Baumer, who joined army right after the start of First World War. Paul arrives at the Western Front where he met and older soldier who becomes guider of Paul. While fighting he faced many dangerous conditions.
This book is not focusing on story of bravery by the hero, instead it gives a view of the conditions during the war in which soldiers fight and find themselves. The continuous threat of bombardments and fires, less chances for the young soldiers to survive, effort to find food and deaths of soldiers in the war is described in detail in this book. One of the major theme of this book is to describe the difficulty of soldiers to save life of citizen after having experienced extreme fighting situations. The internal destruction of the soldiers can be realized in the very start of this book when the Paul said that, “although all the boys are young, their youth has left them”.
The predominant theme of All Quiet on the Western Front is the awful and horrible viciousness of war and every scene of the novel is inform this. In this book actual condition of war is explained, replacing concept of heroism and romantic picture of glory. Remarque’s novel portrays the terror and viciousness of war by focusing on the psychological and physical damage that happened during the war. At the end of this novel, almost all the major characters are dead, which made this novel real and depicts devastating effect of war on the young generation who were forced to fight this war.
The main focus of this novel is on the soldiers who are fighting on the front, so one of the major focuses of this novel is to explain the catastrophic effect of war on the young soldiers who are fighting it. During war, soldiers are subject to constant physical danger, they can be blown in to pieces at any moment due to bombardment. This extreme physical threat is also cause of eternal attack on the nerves, which force soldiers to deal with this instinctive fear during every moment. Moreover, during the war the soldiers are forced to live in miserable condition, in ditches which are infested with lice and full of rats. They move on continuously without sleep and food, sufficient medical supply and clothing .They are forced to deal with the sudden deaths of their companion and close ones. The only way to survive for the soldiers in this situation is to disconnect their emotions and feelings and accepting the present conditions of their lives.
According to the writer’s view, this emotional disconnection has very destructive impact on their life. The major character of the novel, Paul, becomes unable to imagine about his future without the far and he was also unable to remember his past. He lost his ability to talk to his family. Young soldiers do not even stop to mourn their dead companions and friends. At the beginning of the novel, when Kemmerich was dead, the most difficult question among his companion was that who will get his shoes.
Remarque described in this novel that soldiers on the front fight during the First World War are not fighting for the glory of their nation but they are fighting for their own survival. Moreover, Paul and his companions were not considering the opposing army as their enemy according to them their real enemies are the men who were in power from their own nation. They believe that they sacrificed them to increase their own glory and power.
Despite the words of Remarque and the millions of readers from all across the world who have read this novel through many years, the modern age has seen great tragedy that redefine the atrocity and inhumanity of war with innovations of technology that Remarque’s generation could never have imagined.
Remarque, Erich Maria, and A. W Wheen. 1975. All Quiet On The Western Front. Boston: Little, Brown.
Sparknotes.com,. 2015. 'Sparknotes: All Quiet On The Western Front'. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/allquiet/.
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