All Quiet on the Western Front

In All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque, we follow the life of a young man named Paul Baumer. Who is an enlisted soldier in the German army fighting during the time of World War I. Paul narrates not only his own life but the life of his friends as well, who had joined the army alongside him. They had all been greatly influenced to join the army by their former school teacher, Kantorek.

During drill-time Kantorek gave us long lectures until the whole of our class went, under his shepherding, to the District Commandant and volunteered. (p. 11)

The quote above reveals what Paul and his classmates experienced while in lessons with Kantorek. Lessons which often encouraged them towards joining the army. I feel that Kantorek had an endless fire burning inside him, which was used to teach the youth and support the German army in any way he could. Kantorek was the reason why Paul and many of his friends volunteered towards serving the army, but after spending several weeks away from home, Paul viewed Kantorek as an ignorant fool.

With Kantorek, I believe that he is one of the reasons why Paul and his friends had been caught in such a mess. While in the war they had endured so much pain. Sustained not only by stress but by witnessing death as well. Death was common in the War, and with it followed depression and anger by those who yet lived. It is important for us to take into mind, not only the deaths which have occurred within the book but how the soldiers must have felt after Kemmerich had died. They knew that he would be better off without feeling any more pain but still, they mourned because he was no longer with them. With this novel, I don’t believe that many of us can relate to the characters’ experiences. Since they have been through so much at such a young age. But what we can do is try and utilize these characters’ experiences to help inspire us to keep fighting. Towards building a more sustainable future for not only ourselves but for generations to come.

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