The book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque opened my eyes to many horrifying experiences young men suffered during World War 1. The book is written from the perspective of a Soldier named Paul Baumer, a young 19-year-old boy, who joins the army with him and his school friends. It is to be said that these men joined the army from the ideals of patriotism and nationalism, but a very short time after serving at the front of the German trenches find that it is all lies.
This booked used lots of descriptive literature and imagery which kept readers, like me, very intrigued. The brutality of life on the front was major, and what I liked most about this book is that it did not glorify and make the war seem less cruel than what it was. At the beginning of the book one of Paul’s closest friends; Franz, has been injured in battle. Paul talks about his death in details that really capture the tragedies these men went through at such a young age. By the end of the chapter Franz is barely holding onto his life, and Paul says;
“He is entirely alone now with his little life of nineteen years, and cries because it leaves him.” (Pg. 31)
Saying goodbye to one of your closest friends must take a toll on your mental health tremendously, but for these men it was just a part of the job. Another part of the book that stood out for me was when Paul was talking about life at the front and how much the earth meant to soldiers like himself.
“When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security” (Pg. 55)
This quote, and part of the book shows so much emotion. Soldiers have been through so much mentally and physically; they have left their families to serve for their country and to risk their lives for the earth they live on. They are all alone. They depend on themselves at battle and their only comfort is the earth they lie against while at battle.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I have never really read or learned much literature of the war, but as I read, I could tell myself getting more intrigued. It is important information for us to learn about the past and the lives that were taken for our safety and economy today.