Essay on All Quiet on the Western Front. Theme of Humanity

1402 Words Oct 3rd, 2004 4 Pages
All Quiet On The Western Front

In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, a profoundly horrific image of war is formed in the eyes of the reader. In the past, War stories leaned toward themes of glory, adventure, and honor. In presenting his realistic version of a soldier 's experience, Remarque strips away the glory of war and reveals the physical and mental hardships of war. Throughout his book, a plethora of themes are emphasized and brought to light. Among those themes are deception, camaraderie, and propaganda, but the prevailing theme seems to be maintaining one 's humanity. The theme of humanity is readily prevalent throughout the novel, and can be tied in with the loss of innocence, fear, and ultimately the
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Paul proves this by saying, "[i]f your own father came over with them you would not hesitate to fling a bomb at him." (114). To kill your own father without hesitation proves the horror and devastation war can have on one 's humanity. Like a machine, Paul is without emotion. He learns that the only way to survive the atrocities of war is to push away your fears and numb the pain. The experiences Paul endures through is something no 19year old should ever have to bear. He has forgotten the most fundamental aspect of one 's humanity; to feel.

In another situation, Paul instinctively kills a French soldier, Gerard Duval. While in the shell hole, Paul is forced to listen to the soldier die a slow agonizing death. He comments to the soldier by saying, "[f]orgive me, comrade, we always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony-Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?" (223). With these heartfelt words, Paul is able to express remorse, a human emotion. He recognizes the purposelessness of the war and finds a common bond with the dead French soldier, even though he is the enemy. He realizes that perhaps in another time, they would have been friends, perhaps even best of friends.

However, amidst the shadow of death there arises a sense of brotherhood. As a result of their shared experiences,

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