This paper defends the claim or argument on “All Quite on the Western front” as the “greatest war story ever written. The book is about Paul Baumer who the protagonist and the narrator in the book and his classmate. They are convinced to join the German army in the World War 1 (WW1) at the age of nineteen only to live in the most atrocious or treacherous conditions in the trenches year after year, struggling day and day to gain insignificant bits of land in the battle front.
The book shows through vivid description the dark and gritty reality of war together with the effect that it has on Paul who is narrating the story and his young friends. Baumer clearly depicts the brutality and discipline of their very power-hungry corporal by the name Himmelstoss who always enjoys punishing them for minor mistakes and infractions. When they are home on leave Paul describes the careless and emotionless attitude and mistreatment of the civilians at home and thus the longing to return to the front, his home. Paul Baumer and his comrades in the prose of the book try to figure out possible justifications for the war despite none.
The book is the greatest war story ever written since it gives us a different perspective or view of the World war1than the books of history do. Through the novel, we get to hear and understand the thoughts of one German soldier in the WWI fighting against their enemies, in the war namely the United States together with its allied forces. Some well laid down and quotations by the narrator that help bring out the theme well is one “Man cannot help sympathize with his or her “nemesis,” and, therefore, cannot help the curiosity into definition of an enemy. The narrator brings out the issue or reason of why do countries go to war or what is usually referred to as questioning the war. Today wars still exist and are fought in very different ways and manners but the thought of the narrator namely Paul exploring the same, similar issues of identity, mortality, patriotism and dreams still lingers in the minds.
At the start of summer, the narrator was in the company of 150 men and at the end of autumn they were 32 only. Towards the end of the novel, Paul`s best friends such as Kaczynski died apart from only two. One of them fled back to Germany where he is finally court-martialled. The death of his very best friend Kaczynski makes Paul to realize that he even no longer cares whether he is killed or not. The reader is as the book ends left to draw the conclusion that Paul Baumer dies at the age of around 20 in October 1918.
Another reason the novel is the greatest story on the war is the vividness for reality, reality and convincingness with which the body brings out the facts of the war. The reader can see, mingle and also suffer since the book is written in a very clear and very lively style. Paul Barner fiction has the authenticity of an eyewitness and a person who was at the middle of what he is talking about in the book and thus he can tightly engage and move the readers. Indeed many other foreign readers from other countries who fought or were in the same battle of WW1 confirmed that Paul`s experiences were primarily or essentially the same as of those soldiers from the other nations. One such vivid description appears. For instance, “I am energetic, twenty years old.
However, I have limited knowledge about life other than death, despair, fatuous superficiality and fear spread over a sorrowful abyss. In addition, I observe how people perceive each other suspiciously, and silently, foolishly, unknowingly, innocently, and obediently maimed each other. I observe the world’s keenest brains invent annihilating words and weapons as well as refine them for prolonged endurance. In addition, my male peers of my age, over there and here, throughout the world perceive and observe these things.
Moreover, my generation in its entirety experiences these things just as I do. What could the forefathers do if supposing the offspring suddenly stood up and gathered before them and preferring their account? What would they expect of them if the time ever came when the offensive is over? Killing has been man’s business. Indeed, killing was the first calling in life. Therefore, death limits the shallowness of human knowledge of life. What will happen afterwards? What shall come out of us?”
Themes in the novel are also brought out in a surely awesome manner to depict the exact way in which the situation was. These themes include the brutality war, a young soldier`s alienation, unity amongst soldiers, nationalism and animalism. Use of the very appropriate words to bring out every theme and to give every sentence meaning is just wonderful. The writer brings out the emotions of war and the deep inner feelings in regard to war. The characters are also wisely chosen to bring out the main theme of the novel and also questioning the very reason for getting into the war. The other characters apart from Paul play a supportive role to him bringing out the sub-themes such as Paul and the family, Paul and dreams, Paul and the family and Paul and the war.
As a wrap up, it is very true that the greatest story on the war is “All quiet on the western front.” Given the calibre of the way the narrator, who was part of the war, brings out the experiences. In other words, it is his very own story in the battle front. The emotions or feelings of war are clearly brought out.
Remarque, Erich Maria, and A. W. Wheen. All quiet on the western front;. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1929. Print.