All Quiet On The Western Front

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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I chose to do "All quiet on the Western Front" as my specialist study because I know it quite well from history and have been studying trench warfare for a while now, it has also aided me in my work.

In "All Quiet on the Western Front", the author, Erich Maria Remarque, conveys the theme of the futility of war through his effective use of characterisation, structure, setting and in particular, the plot of the novel. The use of graphic descriptions helps to create considerable tension and excitement, allowing the novel to portray an effective and realistic image of the First World War from the German perspective. The powerful imagery contained in the novel create feelings of compassion.

The novel is set during the First World war, and for the most part is set in the trenches on the Western front. This is, therefore, an important contribution to the theme as it allows for extensive descriptive language and helps create a much clearer image of what is happening at certain points.

The harsh conditions endured during the First World War are realistically portrayed throughout the novel with the repeated image of dead bodies strewn all over "no mans land". However, in most cases, no matter how shocking the descriptions of the mass carnage, the main characters seem undisturbed by what happens.

"It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down" The only characters who appear to be affected are the recruits who have endured the long years of war. They are portrayed as poor young men, when in reality they are only marginally younger than the others, which shows how the effect of war had aged those soldiers. They no longer felt as...