The comparison between "All quiet on the Western front" by Erich Maria Remarque and "Slaughterhouse 5" by Kurt Vonnegut

Essay by Dreamer01High School, 12th grade March 2007

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

When writing literary works most, authors will agree that it is difficult to write a story without any inspiration. The writers will often have some motive, either from past experiences or something that can inspire an idea for a novel. Although the novel can be fictitious it can still change how society feels about a certain issue. The two novels All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut romanticizes what war is like, emphasizing ideas such as glory, horror, honor, patriotic duty, and adventure. The similarities include both authors have their impression that the absurdity of war is morally wrong, how soldiers act as toys in the sandbox being played with higher authorities. Both novels feature the society of young men to be controlled and sent to their demise with little hope. The differences between the two novels is that both novels feature a different approach on how the novel flows.

Vonnegut moves the story in humorous manner whereas Remarque tells it in a serious manner.

The obvious comparison when exploring the two novels is the aspect that they are antiwar novels. In Slaughterhouse 5, Vonnegut is trying to express his point of view, or sway the readers to understand the negative properties of war since the firebombing of the German town Dresden during World War II. The protagonist Billy Pilgrim is the antiwar hero because he does not fit the description of the usual war hero. "He didn't look like a soldier at all. He looked like a filthy flamingo" (Vonnegut, 33) Billy's character is a customary figure of fun in the American Army. Billy is no exception. He is powerless to harm the enemy or to help his friends. He wears no medals, his physical appearance and build is...