AP Literature and Composition
23 March 2011
The Significance of Characterization
War is the prominent setting throughout Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Paul Bäumer, a young soldier telling this story, and his fellow comrades belong to the German military. They continually talk about their various experiences. Within a particular section of All Quiet on the Western Front, Chapter Four, page 68 through page 74 to be exact, the young soldiers are in a complicated situation. They struggle to stay alive as they fight like never before. Numerous, unalike corpses surround the young soldiers. It is considered to be a miracle for one to leave this scene unharmed. After each battle, the battalion numbers decrease further and many believe that it is a matter of time before they lose a close companion. Throughout the previously stated excerpt, Erich Maria Remarque discusses the “Iron Youth” title, irony, and suspense by exhausting extraordinary attention to detail, diction, and organization.
In All Quiet on the Western Front, the title “Iron Youth” is given to the young soldiers. “Iron” is known to be durable, strong, and unbreakable and “Youth” is viewed to be changeable and moldable. When these two terms are joined together to form a label, the reader determines that the young soldiers, though unfamiliar, have the ability to adapt to the deteriorating conditions of the war. Remarque writes with great attention to detail in order to prove that the young soldiers are truly the “Iron Youth.” The author writes, “The dull thud of the gas-shells mingles with the crashes of the light explosives. A bell sounds between the explosions, gongs, and metal clappers warning everyone—Gas—Gas—Gaas” (Remarque 68). The author’s attention to detail within this excerpt portrays the “Iron Youth” characterization. Paul Bäumer and his fellow comrades have been taught to recognize approaching conflicts; they are intelligent and spry and understand the danger that...