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Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front is a realistic account of one German soldier's experiences in World War I. Most of the novel is painfully realistic, as it addresses the horrors of war. Men and boys are terribly wounded and die horrific deaths. Some soldiers go crazy and practically commit suicide in their crazed state. The use of gas and the realities of the trenches are real and believable. Even the disillusionment of the narrator, Paul, is painfully real. That being said, there is also an element of romanticism in this novel. There are consistent examples of people who have idealized (romanticized) views of this war. For example, when Paul goes home on leave, he is told by people there that they are happy to suffer their deprivations since they know the soldiers are benefiting from their sacrifice. They believe what they have been told and never even ask Paul if the soldiers are well provisioned. The truth, of course, is that the soldiers are no better off in terms of food than the civilians. The people also believe the war is being gloriously fought and that they are winning; in reality, the soldiers know that is either propaganda or a dream (probably both) and the war is most certainly lost. Another example is the view of the schoolmasters who encouraged all these boys enlist for a noble war but never acknowledge the certain ravages and consequences to follow. Fighting for one's country is always a glorious and noble concept; however, the realities are neither glorious nor noble. These romanticized views of war are jarring to Paul, and he reflects upon them all through this novel.
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