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All Quiet On The Western Front

1870 words - 8 pages

"All Quiet On The Western Front" An examination of the horror and futility of war in ?All Quiet On The Western Front" as shown through three main areas; setting, character, and style."All Quiet On The Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque is a powerful portrayal of life in the German trenches during World War one. The story tells us of a group of classmates who decide to join the army at the age of nineteen, and follows their exploits during their time in the war. The story has a very strong sense of comradeship and emphasizes the futility of war which telling a tale full of death and horror, but is lightened by amusing anecdotes which lightened life in the trenches.The majority of the ...view middle of the document...

Through the detail of the uniform, this description also provides a strong contrast between what could be considered to be extremely weak actions, and the order and discipline enforced by the army, yet this man is merely another fatality added to the previous millions. The atmosphere of futility is enhanced quite significantly through the word choice used here, we are clearly shown how this living, breathing, thinking man has been reduced to mere dead flesh. This provides a strong sense of reality attached to death and highlights the true loss suffered. Through this description we can almost personally experience this sight, which adds significantly to the atmosphere of waste, as we were introduced to this person, yet his life has ended so very suddenly afterwards.Another example of the extent of fatalities suffered, is further in the text, when we are told of the officer's cook who has prepared food for one hundred and fifty men, yet when the soldiers return, he refuses to serve them until the rest appear, as only eighty men are present, the other sixty men have either been seriously injured, or have died. This news has quite a strong effect on the cook; he is staggered, and disconcerted. We gain the feeling that the cook, as he deals with the number of rations, has a greater sense of the tragedy, whereas the soldiers find that the amount dead is merely a number. The author has used this event very effectively. In conveying the losses suffered the author highlights the way in which the soldiers have been toughened by their experiences at war which seen to be too terrible to contemplate, yet this reveals a stronger will to survive in such a futile war.The author effectively also uses the characters within the story to reveal this sense of futility to the reader. The most prominent example is the reaction of one of the friends, Tjaden, who as it seems, is completely aware of their current situation, yet behaves in quite an apathetic, and carefree manner This is very obvious when he is told by the cook that the entire group must be present before anyone can be served: "You must all be here first", Tjaden grinned, "we are all here" It seems that despite, their losses, Tjadens? attitude is one of joy, this could be perhaps out of gratitude of still being alive, or simply that the enormous losses results in a greater ration for him, we find it quite strange that he should grin at this time, and be so casual about their situation, this is enhanced further, when he explains where the rest of the men are: "Either in the dressing station or pushing up daisies" The author has used this event very effectively in showing the necessary attitudes required in order for survival during trench warfare. This example clearly shows the change undertaken by humans in this situation, Tjadens' behaviour is far more extreme in comparison to the other soldiers' opinions, as he shows an acceptance to the inevitability of losses of life at war in comparison to the others...


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