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All Quiet On The Western Front - Term Papers

All Quiet On The Western Front


Erich Maria Remarque’s , a novel
set in World War I, centers around the changes wrought by the war on
one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque’s
protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a
hardened and somewhat caustic veteran. More importantly, during the
course of this metamorphosis, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those
societal icons—parents, elders, school, religion—that had been the
foundation of his pre-enlistment days. This rejection comes about as a
result of Baumer’s realization that the pre-enlistment society simply
does not understand the reality of the Great War. His new society,
...

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language that is used by members of that society. As
he becomes alienated from his former, traditional, society, Baumer
simultaneously is able to communicate effectively only with his
military comrades. Since the novel is told from the first person point
of view, the reader can see how the words Baumer speaks are at
variance with his true feelings. In his preface to the novel, Remarque
maintains that "a generation of men ... were destroyed by the war"
(Remarque, All Quiet Preface). Indeed, in All Quiet on the Western
Front, the meaning of language itself is, to a great extent,
destroyed.

Early in the novel, Baumer notes how his elders had been facile
with words prior to his enlistment. Specifically, teachers and parents
had used words, passionately at times, to persuade him and other young
men to enlist in the war effort. After relating the tale of a teacher
who exhorted his students to enlist, Baumer states that "teachers
always ...

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uses words in a similarly false fashion.

A number of instances of Baumer’s own misuse of language occur
during an important episode in the novel—a period of leave when he
visits his home town. This leave is disastrous for Baumer because he
realizes that he can not communicate with the people on the home front
because of his military experiences and their limited, or nonexistent,
understanding of the war.

When he first enters his house, for example, Baumer is
overwhelmed at being home. His joy and relief are such that he cannot
speak; he can only weep (Remarque, All Quiet VII. 140). When he and
his mother greet each other, he realizes ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/9/2004 09:51:22 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1609
Pages: 6

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