All Quiet on the Western Front Essay


     Erich Maria Remarque is more known for writing Three Comrades and Arch of Triumph but he has another masterpiece we are to talk about in this article. It is entitled All Quiet on the Western Front. You already know as long as you are to write an essay upon this writing piece. Previously, we have spoken a lot about talented people and this is another person worth of your attention, worth of an essay to be written upon him.

     The novel All Quiet on the Western Front saw the light of a day in 1929. Many publishers were rather skeptical of its success; it was too explicit and uncharacteristic for existed ideology of glorification in the society back then. Erich Maria Remarque, who went serving voluntarily in the year 1916, spoke as a pitiless witness of what he saw on the European battlefields in his novel rather than its author. Honestly, simply, without spare emotions but cruelty untinctured with remorse, the author described all the horrors of the war, which ruined his generation irreversibly. 

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     Going back to the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front is not a novel about heroes but of victims whom Remarque considers both the fallen in battle and those who managed to survive. The main characters are yesterday`s schoolchildren who just like the author went serving voluntarily and their older fellow soldiers try to survive rather than live and fight. They realized soon enough that the war is not a chance to serve their native land nobly but a typical massacre where no room for heroism and humane is.

     Everything what the heroes were taught in school turned out to be unnecessary in the battlefield. Life laws replaced physical laws, which are to smoke under the rain and into the wind and what method to kill is better. The First World War did not split peoples only but also tore the inner connection between the two generations. While parents were writing articles and speaking of heroism, their children were going through hospitals with dying. While parents put serving to the country before all else, their children already knew that there is nothing stronger than fear of death.

     Heroes went through their first changes on the stage of barrack regimentation. Preparations for war made them shallow-hearted, distrustful, cruel, revengeful, and rough. The war showed them that those were the qualities required most of all in order to survive. The only good thing the war gave was a feeling of comradeship. It is just there were left 12 of former classmates instead of 20: 7 were already dead, 4 – injured, 1 – made it into a home for the insane, none was left alive by the time the novel ends. In order for a reader to be able to get what is going on, the author input its main character`s philosophical considerations, which are get-able for a soldier only.

     The war for the heroes goes in three artistic spaces: on the front line, in the lines and in the rear. It was the scariest to be in the places of shells to burst and attacks are replaced with counterattacks, where rocket-delivered illumination flare with a rain of white, green and red stars; and injured horses shout so terrifying as if the whole world dies together with them. Under circumstance of this evil whirlpool, dragging a person paralyzing any opposition, the land becomes the only friend, brother and mother for a soldier, because it is possible to hide in its wrinkles, dimples and channels obeying the only possible in the battlefield instinct, which is animal instinct. Whereat life depends on the case and death could take anywhere, everything is possible – to hide in the coffins opened by bombs, to kill yours in order to relieve them of sufferings, to feel pity for the bread eaten by rates, to listen to a dying person shouting of pain for several days, whom is impossible to find in the battlefield.

     Rear-based unit is a frontier space between military and peaceful life. There is a room for simple human joy to read a newspaper, to play cards, to have a conversation with friends, these all though goes under the sign of roughness implemented into the blood of every soldier. Shared toilet, food thievery, waiting for comfortable pair of shoes, passing through hero to hero as one is shut or dies are natural things for those who are used to struggle for existence.

     When the main character gets a vacation, diving into the waves of quiet life, he understands that he will never be able to go back again. 18-year old boys who just got acquainted to life and learnt to love it, had to shoot it and to hit their own hearts. For people of older generation who has connections with the past, the war is a painful but still temporary break in life, for young people it is a rapid stream, which took them out of their parents` love and blatteries with bookshelves and carried God knows where.

     Pointlessness of war in which one person is supposed to kill another just because he was told them to be enemies made yesterday`s schoolchildren faithless, they lose faith in human drive and progress. They believe in the war, which is why there is no room for them in peaceful life. They believe in death only, which is the end of everything, which makes it to where there is no room for them in life as such. “The lost generation” has nothing to talk about with their parents who know the war according to rumors and newspapers only; “the lost generation” is to never share its sad experience with those who come after. It is possible to find out what the war is in the tank-cuts only, to tell all the truth about it is possible only through a literary read.               

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