All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Soldiers Home by Ernest Hemingway are both war novels with many similarities but also differences. In All Quiet on the Western Front the main character is Paul Baumer, and in Soldiers Home it is Harold Krebs. Although these two men both served for different alliances, (Harold Krebs served for the USA and Paul Baumer served for the Germans) they both experienced the same tragedies and traumatic experiences.
A similarity that both Krebs and Baumer had in common is that they were both schoolboys, meaning that they were very young when they joined the war. A big difficulty that these boys faced was the high combat in which they were fighting in, and how they delt with the trauma that was brought into their lives. Once they got back home, they both had troubles fitting in, feeling isolated from the rest of the people they were surrounded by. Paul says ” but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us.”(pg. 160) He is talking about the changes he has been through while at war and serving at the front, he feels welcomed at home but not comfortable and not like himself. Many normal life things became sorrows towards these men. They fought many difficulties with, loosing close friends and experiencing the unimaginable where they would be mentally damaged and changed. Another similarity both the boys have are their family. When Paul goes home for his leave, he seems distraught and overwhelmed once he sees his parents.
” My mother is pleased to see me wearing civilian clothes; it makes me less strange to her. But my father would rather I keep my uniform on so that he could take me to visit his acquaintances.” (pg. 164)
Paul’s mother is ill and care very little about the war, and more about his health and how he is dealing with everything, whereas his dad likes talking about the war and what it is like serving on the front. Krebs family was alike Paul’s family except his mother was the one who was intrigued and asked Krebs about the war, whereas his dad was noncommittal.
“She often came in when he was in bed and asked him to tell her about the war, but her attention always wandered. His father was non-committal.” (Page. 2)
Overall, both of these novels were very interesting to read about. These men experienced many tragedies and losses during the war which resulted in the change at home and struggles to fit into society.