90 pages 3 hours read

Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Important Quotes

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“There is in each of us a feeling of constraint. We are all sensible of it; it needs no words to communicate it.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

Language and its utility is called into question. The soldiers have less of a need for language than the average man. Rather than words, the soldiers rely on unspoken intuition much more frequently. 

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“The unhappiness of the world is so often brought on by small men.”

(Chapter 1, Page 7)

This is a straightforward criticism, albeit something of a generalization as well. Paul’s assertion is a cynical view meant to draw distinctions between the innocence of the poor men at the front and the guilt of those waging the war from the safety of their government offices.

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“The wisest were just the poor and simple people. They knew the war to be a misfortune, whereas those who were better off, and should have been able to see more clearly what the consequences would be, were beside themselves with joy.”

(Chapter 1, Page 7)

The line between the haves and have-nots is delineated. Baumer identifies with the poor folk who are the ones actually fighting the war. His sensibilities align with these people rather than the ones waging the war in the abstract sense.