Realism on the Western Front
Real: Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact.
There is an important difference between real and unreal.
Some people have trouble understanding and distinguishing the difference between these two terms.
These people live at a halfway point; where dreams are enjoyed and life is lived happily ever after.
However, All Quiet on the Western Front expresses no virtual reality. Fantasy is not a component in this example of exceptional literature. In All Quiet on the Western Front, realism is impressively used to help the reader understand the meaning of the story. Erich Maria Remarque uses his writing talent to portray the impressive war theme dramatically.
First person narration (narrative point of view), symbolism and writing style are all important components in proving the quality of realism that is well established throughout the well-composed novel.
Paul Baumer educates clearly about the horror of World War I by writing his opinions and personal views of what is going on. He vividly describes his feelings and opinions toward the many adventures he experiences. The reader will gradually take interest in the protagonist, finding Paul a dynamic and brave person. This well developed character leads the reader onto the frightening battlefield where they can experience the world of fear that the individuals at war share. "The engines drone, the lorries bump and rattle. The roads are worn and full of holes. We dare not show a light so we lurch along and are often almost pitched out. That does not worry us, however. It can happen if it likes; a broken arm is better than a hole in the guts, and many a man would be thankful enough for such a chance of finding his home again." (Page 51.) Paul glorifies this situation in his humorous manner. The First Person Narration clearly gives the book a personal feeling, although sometimes detrimentally complicated. A typical literary device, known as symbolism; helps to create a focus on the most important parts.
Symbolism casts a special glow over the chapters in the novel. Responsible for the suspense and occasional poetic value, it also tangles the reader deeply into the war theme and it's atrocity. Proving the importance of realism and structure regarding the quality of the theme, a poster girl symbolizes happiness and stupidity in the following quote. "Coloured posters of the performances are still sticking on a hoarding. With wide eyes Kropp and I stand in front of it. We can hardly credit that such things still exist. A girl in a light summer dress.... is a wonder to us. We have quite forgotten that there are such things, and even now we hardly believe our eyes. We have seen nothing like it for years, nothings like it for happiness, beauty and joy. That is peace-time, that is as it should be; we feel excited." (Page 126.) Realizing that not everything is as it seems, Paul, Albert, Kropp, Leer and Tjaden look back on their stupidity; their impulse decision to join the army. They know that they might have done better if they had thoroughly thought about their decision before having made it. Symbolism satisfies the readers' thirst for creative sources and corresponds well with the authors' distinct writing talent.
Writing style is crucial. The organization and choice of words in this novel give an effectiveness to the realism. The author properly expresses the story by using strong adjectives and paying close attention to necessary details. "Muller is dead. Someone shot him point-blank in the stomach with a Verey light. He lived for half an hour, quite conscious, and in terrible pain."(Page 242.) Very simple and clear, this quote is evidence of how effective Erich Maria Remarques' writing style is. Wordiness and elaboration are destructive when used in this type of novel creation. Imagine if Danielle Steele had written the story, the war component would be dead and the emphasis would be on romance. Steven Kings' version of All Quiet on the Western Front would be rivetting, although the main concentration points would be lost to fantasy island and the realism would not survive such an imagination thunderstorm. Like writing style, the first narration and use of symbolism are crucial in developing a well-defined and understandable novel.
This work of fine literature simply possesses the quality of realism since it properly promotes the first person narration, a proper use of symbolism, and such a practical writing style. Realism has been proven efficient when used to help clarify and influence All Quiet on the Western Front. This exciting novel was carefully developed, making it highly believable and easy to understand. Erich Maria Remarque properly composed a realistic novel, he distinctly portrayed the war in a universal way, dealing with situations comparable to typical life.