This type of heroism also frequently meant severed limbs and other horrifying injuries that "normal" people shy away from. His function in the novel is one of recruitment, but also as demonstration of the concept dichotomy of the war. Kantorek believes in his vision of the war. However, it is only a vision in the minds of the rich and powerful, who have no idea what the reality of the war entails. Those who are at the battlefront, like Paul, experience a resultant separation from their former, innocent selves.
Paul and his friends were at the brink of their lives as adults, but both their childhood innocence and their adult potential were forcibly removed by the violence of the war. When Paul for example returns home on leave, there is nothing left for him; he has lost all his enthusiasm for books and for writing. Earlier in the novel, when he remembers his work ethic on a piece of literature he was constructing, he feels as if he is thinking about a stranger.
Each character in Paul's vicinity brings with him or her some element of the war's effect upon the psyche of young men. As such, each is necessary in order to provide the reader with the full spectrum of the horror at the time. The author spares nothing in his depiction of these horrors.
Joseph Behm for example represents the senseless death of the young. All the more ironic is the fact that Behm did not want to enlist in the first place. Lieutenant Bertinck serves as a counterpart to Behm. Bertinck survives two years without a single wound, but dies a hero's death close to the end...
A further irony in these two characters is the fact that there is not much difference between them besides the luck of survival. In war, the only requirement of a hero is simply to survive.
Detering, another of Paul's friends, represents the anti-hero of war who cracks under the pressure. He is a quiet man, but the reader knows that he is a farmer, and that the farm is being managed by Detering's wife while he is at war. Detering projects his worry and fear regarding to war into his farm to such an extent that he deserts the army to ensure that his wife is handling her farm duties well.
Corporal Himmelstoss in turn represents everything that Paul has learned to distrust in authority. Having been misled by a trusted teacher, Paul's view of the older generation as liars and victimizers of the weak is reinforced by Himmelstoss. He uses his power to perpetuate his brutality, a trait that is exacerbated by the fact that he does not like Paul and his friends. He considers them to be difficult trouble makers. Himmelstoss also however represents the way in which the war can completely change even the most brutal heart. When he is sent to the front, the corporal finally learns to work on his connections with others.
Franz Kemmerich, Albert Kropp, Leer, and Muller are all classmates that join Paul in the war. With the exception of Kropp, who is sent home after an amputation, they all die, leaving Paul with less and less to live for himself. In this both Kropp and Kemmerich are representative of the ugly truth of war, which the civilian population would not like to admit. They both have limbs amputated; Kemmerich dies soon after his amputation, but Kropp has to live out the rest of his life with his maimed body.
Stanislaus Katczinsky (Kat) is one of Paul's closest friends. At 40, he serves as a counterpart to Kantorek and Himmelstoss. Kat is the exception to the rule of mistrust that Paul has learned to apply to the older generation. Kat uses his years not as a crutch for brutality, but rather to display wisdom and cunning. When Kat dies, Paul is left truly alone with the destructive effects of the war all too obvious in both his psyche and his body.
With its variety of characters, the novel displays a shocking picture of the true realities experienced by young soldiers during…
It alls seems useless to them now. Education, wealth, or any other civilian factor has no significance at the front. They have no reference point to imagine a future outside the military or how to assimilate back into society. The younger soldiers have different experiences from the older ones. The older men usually had prewar families and jobs. They thought of the war as an interruption in the normal cycle
Somewhere about half of the 70 million men and women serving in the war are killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. The brutality and horrors of the war are only one of the major themes in the book. It also addresses the alienation of the soldiers. Although remaining alive to the end of the war, many men return either physically or mentally maimed or both. Spiritually, they are empty shells who
There is no time for unnecessary or frivolous actions, no play time, or joke time, there is only survival time. But it is not only physically that a soldier must be prepared and act solely for survival, but also mentally as well. A soldier cannot daydream, long for home, reflect on the past, or even lose his concentration for even a split second. When a soldier loses his focus on
Corporal Himmelstoss is also an interesting figure in describing the relationship between authority and subordinates, and the author goes to greater length to create this character rather than the case of the schoolmaster, who has a brief appearance in the beginning of the book. As a noncommissioned training officer, Himmelstoss is the best example of an individual who grows from a subordinate position before the war (he had been a
Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. Specifically, it will contain a historical analysis of the book, and look at the question: "how and why does World War I have an impact on this novel as it does? "All Quiet on the Western Front" is a war novel that brings the true horrors of war home to the reader in an effort to show the futility of
Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front This novel takes place during World War I, and focuses on the changes inflicted by the war on one young German soldier. This character, Paul Baumer, transforms from something of an innocent youthful figure to more of a hardened and traumatized veteran. As the story progresses, Baumer becomes more isolated and loses ties with his parents, elders, school, and his religion. The