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Identify specific elements that can be compared/contrasted between Remarque's All...

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lyd-wil | Honors

Posted June 4, 2013 at 12:54 AM via web

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Identify specific elements that can be compared/contrasted between Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front to "Soldier's Home" by Ernest Hemingway.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 4, 2013 at 4:56 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that being able to examine the shared theme in both works is an element that can be analyzed.  Both works depict a clear statement as to the cost of war and what it does to the soldiers who fight in war. This theme is seen in how both works treat the condition of the soldier.  Krebs is really altered and fundamentally changed from his war experience.  His need for a new start away from his Oklahoma town is a testament to how war forever changes those who participate in it.  Certainly, Paul and the rest of his colleagues who went off to war become more jaded and broken of their hopes and aspirations.  War is shown to be an experience that casts off the Romantic notion of war fighting, revealing it to be a reality in which altered consciousness is bequeathed to the soldiers who fight in war.

Along these lines, I think an interesting contrast exists in how both works actually treat their protagonists.  Hemingway's point of view on the soldier is that war is hell, but one in which there are survivors.  Krebs might be forever altered, but his need to go to Kansas City and start anew is reflective of the fact that he survived. This is not the case in Remarque's work where death hits everyone.  In Remarque's construction, war obliterates all hope and eventually the soldiers who fight in it.  Hemingway sees struggle in the soldier's life, but casts them as the prototypical "Hemingway Hero" where survival is evident.  It is interesting to see how both works converge in their takes on war, but diverge in how they reflect this in their chosen protagonists.

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