All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front book cover
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Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Erich Maria Remarque’s narrative in All Quiet on the Western Front is written entirely in the present tense, which conveys urgency and immediacy. The reader does not know why the war is being fought because only Paul Bäumer’s thoughts are known; his is a particular perspective that is absent from schoolbooks and historical accounts. This perspective increases readers’ compassionate understanding for the unfair situations faced by all soldiers on all sides of war.

The situation is augmented by propaganda. Some historical accounts of the war claim that German soldiers had skewered and eaten Belgian babies. Propagandists can do no better than pitch people against each other with the myth that they are seeking each other’s destruction. Remarque has his main character make sense of his experiences by working through the episodes of his life to attempt to create order...

(The entire section is 287 words.)