Key among the themes in the book is the horror of war. Maria presents war as a harrowing experience that causes both physical and psychological injury to the soldiers. Paul Bäumer experiences such horrors of war. They live in the constant fear of death. The deplorable living conditions in the trenches expose most of them to various diseases. Lack of training for the young soldiers picked from school intensifies the risk of death while the lack of food further worsens their experiences. The author builds an inherent conflict between patriotic idealism and the carnage and gore in the battlefield. Paul Bäumer’s teacher Kantorek encourages them to keep fighting for their country giving all the benefits of the war for the Germans. However, the carnage and gore of the battlefield paint a different picture of the war thus proving that the worthlessness of the risk.The plot is captivating and reveals a side of wars and conflicts often ignored by most authors. The author employs various literary devices including the first person narration technique, soliloquy, and dialogues among many others to portray the adverse effects of the war. Young Bäumer leaves home and returns while he is on leave. He explains that while the place has not changed he does not seem to belong. The experiences of the war have changed his comprehension of the society. He engages both his father and teacher in dialogues but reports that the two cannot understand him.In retrospect, All Quiet on the Western Front shows that besides the pomp and color that characterize such themes as heroism, bravery, patriotic duty, honor and adventure that characterize war stories, the soldiers in the. All Quiet on the Western Front.
ReferencesMaria, E. R., 1929, All Quiet on the Western Front, Munich: Propyläen Verlag.
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