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"All Quiet on the Western Front" Juxtaposition Essay

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All Quiet on the Western Front Juxtaposition Essay In any war, there are two separate and shockingly different perspectives: that of the warrior, and that of the average citizen. To those not actually fighting, casualties might seem simply a number while to the soldiers, they are a constant reminder of the price their friends, brothers and more often than not themselves are willing to pay for the protection of their country. In Erich Remarque's revolutionary novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque shows the world what is really like to fight a war. By juxtaposing seemingly polar opposites, Remarque shows the reality of war. Remarque weaves a substantial amount of war imagery into All Quiet on the Western Front, using this technique to further exhibit the appalling realities of war. Though all the general public might see is that a soldier has been injured, Remarque vividly describes how that injury came to be, saying, "His hip is covered with blood...If he has been hit in the stomach, he oughtn't to drink anything. There's no vomiting, that's a good sign. We lay the hip bare. It is one mass of mincemeat and bone splinters. The joint has been hit. This lad won't walk anymore" (68). Using graphic and striking adjectives, Remarque brings the reader into what a common soldier's train of thought in times of great stress. Due to the fact that Remarque's main character Paul is in the middle of a battle, his thoughts are few, though precise. Writing sections of a novel in that fashion is critical to how engrossed the reader becomes. Along with the frightening reality of war, Remarque uses the front line and Paul's home "front" to convey the similarities and struggles both share. This contrast is most clearly presented when Paul travels home, though his thoughts are still with the Front and those that are subject to defend it. Even when he is mere feet away from his mother, Paul cannot help but feel that there is a "...sense of strangeness [that] will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there is my case of butterflies, and there is the mahogany piano - but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us" (142). The war and what it has put him through distances Paul from the ones he once called his family. Seeing as his family has only been there for him emotionally, he feels that his comrades on the Front are his real family seeing that his fellow soldiers have laid down their life for each other and the ones who remain share the same feelings Paul is immersed with. At his home, his family cannot begin to imagine what he has been through. While his sister wakes up to a warm bed, Paul is burdened with, "The explosion of mines mingles with the gun-fire. That is the most dementing convulsion of all. The whole region where they go up becomes a grave" (97). While believing that sending Paul home from the front is benefiting his moral, what his superiors do not know is that he is being tormented with the fact that he can no longer relate to his loved ones. Waking up to explosions has become something Paul has gotten used to, and coming home to people who believe life on the front is not as miserable as it would seem is destroying Paul from the inside. Paul is constantly reminded of just how terrible his situation is when coming home, he is asked, "What is the spirit like out there? Excellent, eh? Excellent?" (147). When Paul is reminded of just how different the perspectives of the war is, the gap between the two grows with every naïve comment of the war.…...

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