All Quiet on the Western Front

The Lost Generation

In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque demonstrates, through the character of Paul Baumer, how war has obliterated almost an entire generation of men. Because these men no longer retain a place in life and are incapable of relating with former generations, they are collectively referred to in history as the "lost generation." Remarque emphasizes Paul's leave and the linguistic differences between the two generations to show how Paul comes to the realization that he is part of this lost generation.

Ironically, Paul's leave is unfortunate, yet serves an important purpose in showing how far apart Paul has grown from his family and past youth. During his leave, Paul learns of his incapability in communicating with former generations due to his war experiences. Remarque shows that Paul no longer feels any relation with civilian life as soon as Paul enters his hometown. For example, when Paul gets off the train, he encounters a redcross sister who calls him "comrade," but he thinks to himself: "...I will have none of it" (156). Paul replies in this negative manner because he feels angered by her attempt to associate with him by calling him a "comrade." Paul...

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