All Quiet on the Western Front is the most famous and influential book by Erich Maria Remarque. The novel is set in the western front of World War I and depicts the life of German soldiers. The futility of war and the devastating effect it has on human psychology are the central themes of the novel, and the author shows it by describing the lives of regular soldiers.
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The novel is narrated from the point of view of a young conscript who fights in the German army during World War I. The author himself took part in the fighting and was severely wounded. It is the personal experience of the writer and the memories of other soldiers whom Remarque interviewed that provided the source of the material for the book. The book depicts the fate of people who are trapped in the middle of the Great War. Written with such striking honesty and providing a detailed description of life in the trenches, the novel makes a tremendous emotional impact on the reader. Remarque describes constant artillery barrages and chemical attacks like a routine and shows how it makes people emotionally numb and incapable of empathy. Even those who avoided death in combat become affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot return to a healthy life. Thus, by describing the dehumanizing effect of the war on soldiers, the author shows that it does not only kill people physically but also does so emotionally.
The novel shows trench warfare from the point of view of a regular soldier, and the author dedicates a substantial part of the book to the description of soldiers’ routines. The book shows that wars do not just kill men but also destroy them psychologically. Such a realistic depiction of the experience of a person during catastrophic events creates a significant emotional impact on the audience.