All Quiet On The Western Fron Essay — страница 5

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in a cage, waiting to be killed; the new recruits are hysterical. All the soldiers know that it is only chance that will cause them to live or die. As both sides advance and then retreat, they leave behind a scene of death and destruction. There is blood everywhere, and several soldiers, who are still alive, have had their skulls blown apart; others have had both feet severed. Corpse rats run amidst the battlefield debris. Ironically, a stack of new coffins is placed against a nearby school, visually depicting the life vs. death theme. The schoolhouse causes Baumer to think about his former life. The soldiers fight fiercely, motivated by self-preservation. Baumer comments that he would even kill his own father, flinging a bomb into him, if he were with the Allies. The fighting

continues in the trenches throughout the summer. When it is time for Baumer’s company to retreat, there are only thirty-two men, out of one hundred and fifty, who return to the rear line. The remaining soldiers are relieved that they have lived through the offensive. Notes The battle depicted in this chapter is very typical of the trench warfare that took place on the Western Front throughout World War I. The fight would begin with artillery bombardment. Then the infantry attack would begin. One side would move forward, only to be repulsed by the enemy. Later a counter-attack would ensue and be repulsed. Month after month and year after year, this type of give and take continued between the Central Powers and the Allies. Little territory was lost or gained; in fact, the Western

Front stayed fairly stable through much of the war. The vivid description of the death and destruction given in the chapter is typical of the mayhem caused by infantry fighting. The author has deliberately emphasized the brutality of war by giving horrible and grim details, like the soldiers who have had their skulls blown apart. He forces the reader to see and feel the pain of the infantrymen. But Remarque constantly contrasts the death and destruction with pictures of life. Near the trenches, there are colorful butterflies flying about; and the stack of new coffins is placed against a schoolhouse, where young children once went to learn about life. In the chapter, particular attention is paid to the new young recruits who have never before experienced a battle. As they wait in

the trenches for the fight to begin, they are hysterical to the point of madness. Once the battle begins, they fight like gawky young children who are ill-trained; as a result, they are killed like flies. Baumer identifies with these youth in their ill-fitting uniforms; he feels as lost as they do. In fact Remarque makes a reference to the fact that Baumer’s generation will become the lost generation, never fully ecovering from the emptiness and devastation of the war. Chapter 7 Because Baumer’s unit has suffered such great losses, the remaining soldiers are taken to a field depot for a period of rest. For a short while, the terrors of the war are forgotten, but Baumer knows that the memories of the battlefield mayhem will come back to haunt him. Baumer and his friends see a

poster of a pretty girl, which reminds them there is more to life than war. They decide they need to entertain themselves. When they go out for a swim, they make friends with three French girls, who are the enemy. They plan a rendezvous with the girls, and Tjaden promises to provide some food. The gathering is a lot of fun and a wonderful respite from the horrors of fighting; it also makes Baumer realize that the Allieds are not just faceless people. The enemy women are just ordinary humans, like he and his friends. His friendship with them continues until he is granted a leave. When Baumer is given seventeen days off, he chooses to go home. Travelling by train, he sees lovely meadows, scenic farms, and happy children along the way; it is a stark contrast to the pictures of war

given in the last chapter. When he arrives at his own house, Baumer’s sister sobs with joy on seeing him, and his parents are proud to have him back. Baumer, however, is a changed man because of his war experience; he cannot relate to his family. His earlier pastimes no longer hold his interest, and he is bitter about the light-hearted attitude of his small hometown about the war. During his stay at home, Baumer visits Kemmerich’s mother; with gentleness and sensitivity, he lies and tells her that her son’s death was instantaneous. Baumer also learns that Kantorek, his former teacher, is fighting in the war as an ordinary soldier; ironically, he was assigned to the company of one of his former students, Commander Mittelstaedt. The commander takes pleasure in tormenting and