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Erich Maria Remarques All Quiet on the Western Front a novel set in World War I centers around the changes wrought by the war on one young German soldier During his time in the war Remarques protagonist Paul Baumer changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a hardened and somewhat caustic veteran More importantly during the course of this metamorphosis Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons--parents elders school religion--that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days This rejection comes about as a result of Baumers realization that the pre-enlistment society simply does not underezd the reality of the Great War His new society then becomes the Company his fellow trench soldiers because that is a group which does underezd the truth as Baumer has experienced it Remarque demonstrates Baumers disaffiliation from the traditional by emphasizing the language of Baumers pre- and post-enlistment societies Baumer either can not or chooses not to communicate truthfully with those representatives of his pre-enlistment and innocent days Further he is repulsed by the banal and meaningless language that is used by members of that society As he becomes alienated from his former traditional society Baumer simultaneously is able to communicate effectively only with his military comrades Since the novel is told from the first person point of view the reader can see how the words Baumer speaks are at variance with his true feelings In his preface to the novel Remarque maintains that a generation of men were destroyed by the war Remarque All Quiet Preface Indeed in All Quiet on the Western Front the meaning of language itself is to a great extent destroyed Early in the novel Baumer notes how his elders had been facile with words prior to his enlistment Specifically teachers and parents had used words passionately at times to persuade him and other young men to enlist in the war effort After relating the tale of a teacher who exhorted
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