All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

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Descriptions of nature are evident throughout All Quiet on the Western Front. Why does the author present these images?

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In Erich Maria Remarque's novel, images of Nature, the "lost world of beauty," represent the loss of innocence and peace of the "Iron Youth" as Kantorek alludes to the young German soldiers. Often the juxtaposition of natural images with the images of war express the incomprehensibility of wars, in which suddenly one country becomes an enemy while another is an ally. At times, too, Nature is perverted and turns upon people as man distorts it with bombings and war trenches; the onslaught of the rats upon the men in the trenches exemplifies twisted side of nature.

  • Loss of Innocence and Peace

In Chapter I, Paul Baumer and his troop are five miles from the front. As they wait before being moved, Paul describes their time as "wonderfully care-free hours." In beautiful prose, there is a description of nature that expresses the innocence of the youth and portends their vulnerability later on when they are unprotected:

Around us stretches the flowery meadow.  The grasses sway their tall spears;...

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