Summary Of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front
In chapter one, Remarque leads the reader to understand Paul’s epiphany—his realization that the older generation has betrayed his generation. Paul and his school chums were convinced of the valor of willingly sacrificing their lives. But this new language of war pouring from Paul’s consciousness shows that nothing exists except this growing void of empty ideals about honor and so-called patriotism. In one instance, the protagonist says: “Words, words, words—they do not reach me” (173). This indicates that he no longer feels enthusiastic about war. Remarque poetically brings forward the emotional and physical ramifications of the pain of heart and soul upon realizing the lie of believing this. Paul admittedly …show more content…
In this moment, Remarque successfully portrays the danger of war and how a person will do whatever he can to survive when faced with imminent danger. The following quote shows how they survived from another attack.
At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, in one part of our being, a thousand years. By the animal instinct that is awakened in us we are led and protected. It is not conscious; it is far quicker, much more sure, less fallible, than consciousness . . . It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how. If it were not so, there would not be one man alive from Flanders to the Vosges. (56) Paul realizes they have all become animals. Remarque’s language changes the idealized glory of battle for soldiers, so they have become nothing more than animals – making men into beasts that only look for survival. Survival has demanded they sacrifice the analytical and thoughtful aspects of their minds. They must now rely only on sheer animal instincts drawn from the most ancient parts of the brain’s evolutionary journey. The reader sees through the eyes of Paul as he describes soldiers instinctually throwing themselves on the ground when only a moment before they were thoughtlessly walking along. Throwing themselves on the ground and it all taking place