What Is The Juxtaposition In All Quiet On The Western Front

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Herbert Hoover once said, “Old men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.” All Quiet on the Western Front was written by Erich Maria Remarque in 1929 in the wake of World War I. This book has been called the “greatest war novel of all time” for its striking renditions of youth and the despair and sorrow of war. The characters of his novel show the realities and tragedies of war. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque uses his themes and characters to show the reality of war and the fragility of youth by the use of juxtaposition.

Remarque uses various scenes of horror and violence to balance out the scenes of peace and comradeship. Paul, the narrator, states, “We crawl away as well as we can in our haste. The next lands fair amongst us. Two fellows cry out. Green rockets shoot up on the sky-line. Barrage. The mud flies high, fragments whizz past. The crack of the guns is heard long after the roar of the explosions.” (Remarque 61). Here Paul describes crawling on the ground and trying to escape a bombardment with his fellow soldiers. He casually describes two soldiers being hurt by the bombs, showing that they have become accustomed to the violence. Paul also describes, “This thin, miserable, dirty garbage is the objective of the prisoners. They pick it out of the stinking tins greedily and go off with it under their blouses.” (Remarque 190). The Russian
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Remarque uses his young narrator Paul and his fellow soldiers to show the reality and tragedy of war. He did this to show the people of the era in which his book was published, the truth about war. Remarque alternated between scenes of violence and peace to show this truth. And Paul would surely have agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful