The Transition from School Boys to Men - "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

Essay by noobonastickA+, September 2007

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All Quiet on the Western Front is a book that shows the transition of schoolboys to men through fighting a war on the Western Front. They originally are naïve and ignorant to the horrors of war thinking that it may be fun and exciting experience. As the war goes on, they learn that war is terrible and come to terms with the fact after the war that they have no future and no hope.

Kantorek, who was Paul’s schoolmaster, persuaded the whole class to enlist to fight in the war to defend Germany, and without hesitation most students enlisted because they thought it would be an adventure. Kantorek also emphasised the point that “Duty to one’s country is the greatest thing.”Paul describes the difference between his generation and that of his parents or even the older soldiers. They had a life before the war, a life where they felt comfortable and secure.

But Paul’s generation never had a chance at that life. . “All the older men are linked up with their previous life, they have a background so strong that war can not obliterate it. We young men of twenty, however, have only our parents, and some, perhaps, a girl – that is not much, for at our age the influence of parents is at is weakest and girls have not yet got a hold over us. Beyond this our life did not extend. And nothing of this remains.”The boys comprehend that war is terrible and that nobody should experience it. They realise that in war there are no winners but everyone loses except for the people that are high up, people that they will probably never meet. "Trenches, hospitals, the common grave--there are no other possibilities." As each young man is killed the men realise that...