Final All Quiet Analysis

All Quiet on the Western Front
Either lucky or lost

 

Death is overarching and unavoidable. In All Quiet on the Western Front, it is death that circles the Second Company; that borders them. The soldiers feel that “life is simply one continual watch against the menace of death,” and death will come to them. All will die, sooner or later, all they can do is wait to see who will be taken sooner. 

    After Paul brings Kat to the dressing station and discover that he’s dead, he is stunned since he had a conversation with him minutes ago:

Do I walk? Have I feet still? I raise my eyes, I let them move round, and turn myself with them, one circle, one circle, and I stand in the midst. All is as usual. Only the Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky has died. [Chapter 11, Page 138]

After Kat dies, Paul is shocked and claims that his untimely death was “ ‘Not possible. Only ten minutes ago I was talking to him. He has fainted.’ ” He doesn’t believe that the last of his true comrades is gone. Then, he knows “nothing more.” Loss is luck on the other side.

Luck is behind all chances. In All Quiet on the Western Frontluck is what keeps the soldiers alive; what keeps them fighting; what decides their fate; what decides their death. Chance could decide the war. All know it, and “every soldier believes in chance.” Their luck is crucial; without it, they’d already be dead.

    After a German shell lands in his own trench, Paul reflects on how he is still alive while others have already fallen:

It is just as much a matter of chance that I am still alive as that I might have been hit. In a bombproof dug-out I may be smashed to atoms and in the open may survive ten hours’ bombardment unscathed. No soldier outlives a thousand chances. But every soldier believes in his luck. [Chapter 6, Page 49]

Paul may still be standing, but he knows if luck wasn’t with him he’d be lost with the others who have fallen. He knows that above all “Chance hovers,” and all will be judged by it; all will lose to it; whether sooner or later. Life runs out once luck runs out.


Letter from Paul Baümer

Dear Max,

    Hello! I hope your life has been kind to you, for mine has not been the greatest. Earlier today, at about noon, I went out on a patrol to spy on an enemy base. I was close to death multiple times. Shells landed near me, troops walked nearby me, and one man entered the shell hole I was in. In a moment of desperation, seeing him as an “abstraction,” I sprung at him. I cut his throat, and watched him die. The truth about slitting is that the dying man won’t go dead for a long time, compared to a bullet from a pistol or rifle. I watched that man die for three hours, and within those I started to see him for who he was, instead of an enemy and an abstraction.

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All Quiet on the Western Front Chapter Eight Literary Analysis

All Quiet on the Western Front

The estrangement of the enemy

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A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.
Winston Churchill

War and fighting causes the enemy to become alienated. In Chapter Eight of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul goes to the Russian prison on guard duty, watching the estranged young soldiers. As he watches the Russians and makes note of how “they seem nervous and fearful,” he realizes that they are young men just like him. While guarding at the Russian prison, Paul starts thinking about the troops as they silently stand at the wire fence:

A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies... At some table a document is signed by some persons whom none of us knows, and then for years together that very crime on which formerly the world’s condemnation and severest penalty fall, becomes our highest aim.

After the realization of this harsh truth, Paul decides against thinking about it for the time being: “I am frightened: I dare think this way no more. This way lies the abyss. It is not now the time but I will not lose these thoughts, I will keep them, shut them away until the war is ended.” Paul sees the young soldiers and susses out the fact that they are just like him; young boys; scrappy boys; soldier boys, who are only fighting because someone commands them to. They are hungry, they are tired and they are scared. Paul is hungry, Paul is tired and Paul is scared.

Later, once it’s evening and the “stars are cold,” Paul knows some of the prisoners who speak a small amount of German. One of them used to be a musician, so he brings out a violin and starts to play it for everyone:

He plays mostly folk songs and the others hum with him. They are like a country of dark hills that sing far down under the ground. The sound of the violin stands like a slender girl above it and is clear and alone. The voices cease and the violin continues alone. In the night it is so thin it sounds frozen… —out here it makes a man grow sad.

The music of the violin and cold air makes Paul fully realize that he and the Russians are one in the same. When he goes home for Sunday, his mother makes him potato-cakes and jam, and as he’s going back he “takes two cakes to the Russians,” because he has developed a care for the prisoners. War leads to alienation, but at the end of it all, men are the same to any other man, nobody is less.


All Quiet on the Western Front Literary Analysis

All Quiet on the Western Front

Chapter Six & Seven; The physicality against the mentality

C690D073-C874-44B9-90A8-29F5A81DB1C1“Just because you come back to the safety of home doesn’t mean you know how to stop fighting your war.”
-Melissa Hawks

 

Fighting and war have effects on both the mind and the man. In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, The two struggles of war are openly expressed within the protagonist. Chapter Six explores the physical conflict through an onslaught led by the French. However, Chapter Seven shows the reader the cognitive conflict through a mental breakdown after going on leave. In Chapter Six, Paul and his friends are under attack by the French and have to fight back against their advance to protect themselves:

We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. …now, for the first time in three days we can see his face, now for the first time in three days we can oppose him; we feel a mad anger. No longer do we lie helpless, waiting on the scaffold, we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves, to save ourselves and to be revenged. [Chapter Six]

After the French attack has been repelled in Chapter Six, Paul gets a break and gets sent on leave for seventeen days, so he goes home to see his family; however, In Chapter Seven, he finally makes it to his house, and then freezes on the staircase after hearing his sister’s call:

I lean against the wall and grip my helmet and rifle. I hold them as tight as I can, but I cannot take another step, the staircase fades before my eyes, …my sister’s call has made me powerless, I can do nothing, I struggle to make myself laugh, to speak, but no word comes, and so I stand on the steps, miserable, helpless, paralyzed, and against my will the tears run down my cheeks. [Chapter Seven]

Even though the brutality and physicality of warfare is barbaric and harsh, the worst part of the fighting is the mental side-effects. People may know of the brutality of war, but not as many know about the mental side of it.


Not Enough Time

Not Enough Time
Why People Need More Free Time

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”Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
~Susan Cain

People don’t live for a long time. Everybody knows that, but not all accept it. Since we don’t stay long, we need to spend it to the fullest, yet so much of our time is spent doing work or school, even though only a small fraction of what we learn will actually be used. Kids spend time with useless work, instead of spending time exploring themselves and their interests. Teens and children should have more free time and less work.

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W.W. Fenn Poem

Sailing to Byzantium

 



 

 

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

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The Call of the Wild by Jack London Literary Review

The Call of the Wild
The call that I called back

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I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
~J.K. Rowling

 

Getting engaged with anything is one of the most important things to do. The Call of the Wild by Jack London was a book which I always wanted to know what happened next, no matter if it was good or bad. Reading The Call of the Wild was one of my favorite things to do in English. I could not stop reading it even from the start. Whenever I finished a chapter, I read the next few paragraphs in the next one until I had to stop myself.

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The Call of the Wild by Jack London Literary Review

The Call of the Wild
The call that I called back

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I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
~J.K. Rowling

 

Getting engaged with anything is one of the most important things to do. The Call of the Wild by Jack London was a book which I always wanted to know what happened next, no matter if it was good or bad. Reading The Call of the Wild was one of my favorite things to do in English. I could not stop reading it even from the start. Whenever I finished a chapter, I read the next few paragraphs in the next one until I had to stop myself.

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The Power of Commitment

The Power of Commitment
Dedication to the water

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Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.
~Abraham Lincoln

Commitments are things that stick with you. That’s why, for almost ten years now, I’ve been on my town’s swim team. I’ve had many commitments in my life, but none have I been as dedicated to than swimming. Rain or shine, as long as there wasn’t thunder, I was in the pool.

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