Thoughts on Remarque's novel

This is one the most painful novel I’ve ever read.

The writer, Remarque, demonstrates different aspects of being in a war. He depicts horrible scenes of war, soldiers’ development during war, their reactions to death, loss and loneliness, their perception of reality, and notions of individuality and belonging. Paul, along with his school mates, carries away to the Great War without having any specific and realistic presupposition and they face war rules, trench life, and reality of war which shatter their expectations, “To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapably into itself” (27). The novel goes on by depicting soldiers’ situation and difficulties, both mentally and physically. After being in front line, the writer emphasizes on how a soldier is detached from his past personality even in his early 20th. In some scenes, the writer talks about soldiers’ different attitude from others because they fight in reality and experience the real war, “The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces. While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and dying. While they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger. But for all that we were no mutineers, no deserters, no cowards—they were very free with all these expressions. We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through” (10). Moreover, Paul is not an individual anymore and whatever he experiences is somehow similar to his peers because he becomes as a member of a group fighting in front line.