All Quiet on The Western Front is written by Erich Remarque, a German veteran who was injured in World War 1. Remarque is able to shape the novel using personal experiences to give the book a more powerful message. The main character in the book is Paul Bäumer, and he is a German soldier who fights in the trenches during World War 1. Bäumer is a young man when he is enlisted into the service, and goes through many challenging events throughout the novel. In the book All Quiet on The Western Front, Remarque provides many details and events that displays the real horror that comes with war. In this book review many events will be examined, and details will be explained to help understand why All Quiet on The Western Front was written.
Bäumer is a character who tells the story predominantly in first person. Even though the story is fictional, the points made in the book are true. For example, when Bäumer is in the hospital he sees many injured and suffering people, and he makes a statement saying, “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing…. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” The statement Bäumer makes in the book is powerful, and many people who fought in the war felt this way. The book also uses correct Countries who were involved in World War 1, and how Germany lost the war in 1918.
The book’s thesis is to portray what war is about, and how war is fueled by propaganda and patriotism. Many people think about honor and glory when it comes to serving for their country. The novel mentions how war is full of suffering, and how soldiers are told by their Country leaders to kill the enemy. Bäumer gives an example in the novel when he says, “But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me…. Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?” In the quote Bäumer is realizing that he is fighting people just like himself, and he never would have killed the enemy soldier if he knew he was fighting for the same reason.
Remarque’s style of writing does a good job of executing the horrors and truth of war in the book. The story gives examples of how the soldiers on both sides fight under the command of their leaders. The soldier’s leaders use propaganda to encourage them that they’re the good guys in the fight. As a result of war, many soldiers are hospitalized and killed. Bäumer has to go to the hospital many times during the war, and he sees many soldiers lose limbs and die. Bäumer uses great detail to describe what he sees in the hospitals, and how horrid injuries were in the war. Hospitals also taught Bäumer how war is unspeakable.
The book is well organized all the way through. The novel starts off with main character Bäumer on break from the frontlines, and World War 1 has already begun. The story is told through the war until the main character is conquered in the end. Through the book Bäumer shares events he went through that lead up to his death. Such as, when Bäumer and Kat planned to kill a friendly wounded solider, “I nod. “Yes, Kat, we ought to put him out of his misery.” Bäumer and Kat wanted to end the soldier’s life because they knew he would die miserably. However, other friendlies came up and they decided not to end his life. After this event, more tragedies happen that builds up the anticipation that something is going to eventually happen to Bäumer.
Remarque published the novel in 1928 making it an older book compared to most. Due to Remarque being in World War 1 he is able to write the book without using a history book. The author is able to use his own ideas about the war to write the book effectively. War is said to be gruesome from Remarque and the slaying of innocent people. Remarque writes much about death in the book and the horror within war.
Kemmerich’s boots play a role of symbolism in the novel. For example, In the first chapter Kemmerich is in the hospital and he had to get one of his legs amputated. Müller wants the boots from Kemmerich because he no longer needs them. Müller also complains how the boots he already has hurt his feet in the following quote, “Muller returns to the subject of the boots. “They would fit me perfectly. In these boots I get blister after blister.” Müller eventually gets the boots from Kemmerich but he later on dies in war. Paul gets the boots from Müller after he dies, and at the end of the novel Paul dies wearing the boots. The boots symbolize death throughout the book, and how a good pair of boots are valued in war. The boots have lasted through at least three people making them longer lasting then the soldiers who wore them.
All Quiet on The Western Front displays the horror that goes into war, and how with honor and glory comes many casualties. Many soldiers will suffer and die in order to fight for the reasons they are told to. Such as, World leaders using propaganda to encourage people to join the war and kill the enemy. Remarque wraps the book around the theme of death, and how boots in war can be longer lasting the soldiers wearing them.