Remarque's passionately anti-war novel about the senseless slaughter of World War I and the young men who were its victims is punctuated with lyrical, poetic language, some of it almost Shakespearean in tone. Examples of metaphors, which are comparisons that don't use the words "like" or "as," follow:
I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.
"Abyss of sorrow" is a metaphor for the war, and is particularly apt, for the men spend much of their time in trenches, which are pits (comparable, symbolically, to abysses) in the ground.
The narrator also uses metaphor when he likens the lives of the young men in the trenches to "little flames." He compares the war that threatens these flames (the soldiers) to a "storm," and we can visualize it as a mighty, windy, whirling rain downpour threatening to put out these vulnerable flames. This metaphor emphasizes the power of war in contrast to the...
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