“All Quiet On The Western Front”
Sometimes in a story, the setting takes place in a particular time and/or place. “All Quiet On The Western Front” by Erich Remarque, takes place in World War I Germany, in a time when wars were being fought in new and deadlier ways. This story was one of the first to illustrate the harsh reality of war and trench warfare, and how the creation of machines and automatic firing weapons, made World War I a different kind of war. The social setting of France is antagonistic to the narrator of the story, he was in a different country fighting for his country and the people and places around him worked against him.
The main conflict in this book is man vs. man, the Allies against the Axis forces. The story is told from the viewpoint of a German soldier Paul Baümer, a person who is in early adulthood, who just a few years before was a school boy, who was talked into joining this “glorious war”. The entire novel is about conflict, and how his surroundings affect his mindset and his progress in resolving the conflict.
During one battle in a place dubbed “no man’s land” Paul ends up in a shell hole with another soldier, an enemy soldier, he stabs the soldier when he first jumps in, and paul realizes that the “animals” that they are sent to fight are no animals at all, but men, men just like them, fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands. It is at this time in the story that Paul starts to question the conflict, and realize that the conflict that he thought would so easily be finished and won, would take longer and be more painful.
I feel that this story was not only written to illustrate the atrocities of war, but how we are always in conflict with one another, and how there are always antagonists, and I feel that this story illustrates very well not only the conflict of man against man, but man against his own self. It also showed how location and setting can go against your thoughts and actions.