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All Quiet On the Western Front


            All Quiet On the Western Front: A Critical Essay Of Interpretation.
             Erich Maria Remarque writes of many moral and ethical dilemmas, and political situations with which he conveys his opinion of war. Remarque was a pacifist, one who opposes the use of force under any circumstance. He clearly used his novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, as a means to illustrate his anti- nationalist views. Remarque harshly critiques nationalism through his main character Paul Baumer and the other soldiers, who recognize that their real enemies are not across the trenches, but in high offices in their own country. The image of a glorified war was the ideal method to draft soldiers into battle, yet the true essence of war was personified as a malevolent contrast to the nature and purity of life, as war itself became the villain. Paul is bitter about the nationalism that has forced him and countless others to enter the war, but he manages to use it for humane purposes. Remarque injects the morality of war, as he unites Paul with the Russian prisoners through a universal language and music, knowing that arbitrary political powers have made them enemies. Paul also empathizes deeply with the Frenchman he kills, seeing past the man's nationality and into his life as Paul discovers his name, occupation, and family situation. Remarque characterizes Paul Baumer as an outlet for his own political standpoint of opposition to nationalism based on authority, as he provides a whirlpool of his indirect ethical views of honor and camaraderie, how the "lost generation- is a moral belief that is benevolent substitute for authoritative superciliousness, and the effects war can cause on a soldier's humanity.
             In the strange manner that life has of providing light out of dark situations, Remarque brings out the camaraderie that often develops in death-defying situations. The emotional scene with Kemmerich in the hospital expands on the theme of camaraderie.


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