All Quiet on the Western Front Allusions
A popular novel published in the year 1929, All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque speaks of a stressful and highly critical life of German soldiers who were led to believe that fighting for war is an honorable way to experience and show patriotism.
Disillusioned and feeling terrorized by the unpredictable circumstances during the war, Paul Bäumer and his group of other soldier friends fight their way to serve the country while battling inner demons of fear, sadness, and terror.
All Quiet on the Western Front speaks of a soldier’s pain and anguish while feeling withdrawn and isolated from everyone in the society even to his own home. The novel is full of allusions and this helps create a story that has a meaningful and deep connection to a man’s primal and emotional instinct at the face of death.
All Quiet on the Battle Front Allusions
“After a few weeks, it was perplexing even to us that merely a simple postman can show more influence on us compared to our relatives, mentors, and the whole long line of culture from Plato to Goethe.”
– Plato and Wolfgang von Goethe are intellectuals who have deep influences in European historical culture. Hence, the phrase speaks of the postman as a person of higher influence compared to the soldier’s families and famous philosophers.
“No Man’s Land”
– No Man’s Land is defined as a territory where two opposing forces fight against each other. This is where Paul kills an enemy, and where another soldier by the name of Joseph Behm, was eventually wounded.
“Yes, that’s the way they think, these hundred thousand Kantoreks!”
– Kantorekswas the teacher who filled Paul’s head and that of the other soldier’s images of heroism, which prompted them to enlist in the army. The experience proved to be a traumatic one, and since then, Paul and the others see this philosopher as a war advocate who cares nothing about the welfare of the soldiers.
“We are the Iron Youth.”
– This term is used to describe young soldiers, all of whom are related to Paul’s age and generation. Iron youths are also likened to a group of soldiers who were similarly tricked and disillusioned into joining the army.
“Forgive me, my friend, but how is it that you became my foe? If we do away with all these guns and uniform, you could easily be one of my closest buddies like Kat and Albert.”
– Kat and Albert are comrades who have joined Paul in the army. The three of them are really close and even treat each other as siblings. This quote was uttered by Paul when confronted by an enemy in the battlefield.
“Now fully aware of everything, we were able to witness how our Fatherland, with some knowledge from our teachers, tied us up to a fate that is far worse than those living as servants. We thought our tasks are different and honorable, only to be surprised that we were led to embrace patriotism and be trained for combat as though we were circus-ponies.”
– Germany is referred to as Fatherland, for which the soldiers are expected to offer their loyalty and services. On the other hand, the soldiers are likened to circus-ponies, who are merely pawns of a circus who were trained to serve people in a higher position.
The novel is a heart-wrenching tale of soldiers and their woes, trapped in a tragic position of trying to kill unknown enemies who did them nothing wrong on a personal level. As they fight for life and freedom, the novel depicts the dangerous and unpredictable circumstances experienced by those who are in the war front.