for All Quiet on the Western Front - Study Guide for All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque T HE G LENCOE L ITERATUREL IBRARY

  • Published on
    06-Mar-2018

  • View
    217

  • Download
    5

Embed Size (px)

Transcript

  • i

    Study Guide

    for

    All Quiet on theWestern Front

    by Erich Maria Remarque

    T H E G L E N C O E L I T E R A T U R E L I B R A R Y

  • Cop

    yrig

    ht

    by

    The

    McG

    raw

    -Hill

    Com

    pani

    es,

    Inc.

    All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide 9

    During his wartime hospital stay, Remarque con-tinued to write short pieces that were publishedin a popular German magazine.

    After the war, Remarque finished his educa-tion but remained unsettled by his wartime expe-riences. He worked briefly as a teacher and atvarious odd jobs. In 1925 he became an editor fora sports magazine. The financial success of AllQuiet on the Western Front, an international best-seller published in 1929, allowed Remarque toquit his job and write full time. In 1931 he movedto a villa in Switzerland on Lake Maggiore.

    The publication of All Quiet on the WesternFront brought controversy to Remarque, as well asfame and wealth. Many readers viewed the novel,which stresses the wasteful destruction of the war,as a humanitarian antiwar statement. To theNazis, the rising political faction in Germany atthe time, the book was unpatriotic and subver-sive. In 1933 All Quiet on the Western Front wasone of the first books that the Nazis burned inpublic, declaring it a betrayal of the soldiers ofthe First World War. The successful Americanfilm of the novel, made in 1930, was also bannedby the Nazis. Had Remarque remained inGermany, he would have faced certain persecu-tion. The Nazi government later revoked hisGerman citizenship in 1938.

    In 1939 Remarque moved from Switzerland tothe United States, living first in Hollywood andthen in New York City. There he continued towrite novels, several of which were made intofilms, though none were as greatly admired as hisfirst. Most of them focused on the lives ofGermans in the aftermath of the two world wars.Meanwhile, Remarque moved in glamorous cir-cles, acquiring well-known friends and acquain-tances including Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin,and Ernest Hemingway. Remarque kept his apart-ment in New York City but divided his timebetween New York and Hollywood, his villa inSwitzerland, and several European cities. Afteryears of heart problems, Remarque suffered a fatalheart attack in Switzerland in 1970.

    Meet Erich Maria Remarque

    I write by ear. I hear everything that I write. I choosewords for their sound. . . . my novels all sound goodwhen theyre read out loud. I find easy what other

    authors find most difficult: writing dialogue.

    Erich Maria Remarque

    Like the main character in All Quiet on theWestern Front, Erich Maria Remarque servedas a German soldier in World War I. Drafted inNovember 1916 at the age of eighteen, he wassent to the Western Front in Flanders (nowBelgium). There he worked in a support unitbehind the lines, laying barbed wire and buildingbunkers and dugouts to help fortify gun sites. Hiswork often took him within range of enemy gun-fire. In July 1917 he was wounded while retriev-ing an injured soldier during an attack. He wassent to a hospital, where he spent most of the restof the war recuperating. Later he would incorpo-rate some of his own war experiences into hispopular war novel, Im Westen nichts Neues, or AllQuiet on the Western Front.

    Remarque, whose ancestors were French,was born in Osnabrck, Germany, in 1898.Although his family was poor, Remarques child-hood was happy. Interested in music at an earlyage, he played both the organ and piano. By thetime he was seventeen, he had begun to writeessays and poems and had started a novel.

  • 10 All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide

    Copyright

    by The McG

    raw-H

    ill Com

    panies, Inc.

    This book is to be neither an accusation nor aconfession, and least of all an adventure, fordeath is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.

    Erich Maria Remarque, preface to All Quiet on the Western Front

    The subject of All Quiet on the Western Front isthe worldwide conflict of 19141918, called thenthe Great War. World War I, as we refer to ittoday, was a shockingly intense conflict that notonly transformed the political landscape ofEurope but also changed forever the values andperceptions of civilized Western society.

    In the years before the wars outbreak, themajor countries of Europe had formed alliances thatdivided the continent into two hostile camps. Onone side were the Central Powers, which includedGermany, Bulgaria, and Austria-Hungary; on theother were the Allies, which included France,Great Britain, and Russia among others. The tin-derbox of Europe ignited when the assassination ofArchduke Ferdinand of Austria sparked a series ofthreats and counterthreats that drew the twoalliances into war. Germany, the leading militaryand industrial power in Europe, quickly embarkedon a war of expansion. The German plan, which itsleaders had worked on for decades, called for fight-ing on two fronts. First the Germans planned tolaunch a massive offensive against France in thewest. They thought their offensive would be com-pleted in six weeks, allowing them time to turn eastand invade Russia on a second front.

    German forces quickly swept through Belgium,but they were halted just outside Paris. From thatpoint on, Germanys plan for a quick victory in thewest unraveled. Newly developed weapons of war,especially modern cannons and machine guns withtremendous firepower, made the battlefield so vio-lent that traditional, organized attacks quickly dis-banded. For shelter, the soldiers had no choice butto burrow into the ground. As a result, by 1915 astrategy called position warfare developed. Both sides

    dug a series of trenches that ran all the way fromthe Belgian coast to the Swiss border. From thesetrenches, the armies fought a stationary war ofdefense rather than a war of movement and offense.Their aim was to hold their ground at any cost. Thewar thus became a stalemate as each side tried towear down the other. Military leaders, trained innineteenth-century tactics, continued to stagecountless small frontal offenses, ordering infantrysoldiers to go over the top of the trenches. Butthe results were murderous and success was rare,with gains measured only in yards. Trench warfarewas incredibly costly in terms of human lives.

    The war had far-reaching political and socialconsequences. It broke up the four great empiresof Europethe German, Austro-Hungarian,Russian, and Turkish empiresleaving Europeunstable. The war also brought more deaths andcasualties than any war in the previous one hun-dred years. Some 8.5 million people died, and 21million were wounded. By 1916 few families inEurope were left untouched by the death of a son,husband, father, cousin, or friend.

    The war also had a profound psychologicaleffect on those who survived it, like Remarque,and those who came of age in its wake. Some-times called the lost generation, many of theseyoung people developed a pessimistic and uncer-tain outlook on life and society after the war. The traditional social values that had led to thewarhonor, duty, glory, and disciplineseemedhollow, and many survivors blamed the older gen-eration for permitting the wars ghastly and waste-ful destruction. They felt the old order wasmorally corrupt, and no new order had risen toprovide a sense of hope and stability. Remarquesnovel, published in 1929, some ten years after thewars end, spoke to and of this generation. As onecritic noted, All Quiet on the Western Front seemsto encapsulate in popular form, the whole modernimpulse: the amalgamation of prayer and despera-tion, dream and chaos, wish and desolation.

    The novel also speaks to readers who wonderwhat the war was like for the average soldier.Narrated by a young German infantryman, All Quiet provides a picture of the war that,

    Introducing the Novel

  • Cop

    yrig

    ht

    by

    The

    McG

    raw

    -Hill

    Com

    pani

    es,

    Inc.

    All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide 11

    The daily scenes encountered by soldiers atthe front were nightmarish. In the trenches,men fought and lived among the deadandpieces of the dead, for the new weapons ofwar could shatter human bodies. Corpseswere also strewn across the narrow stretch ofground known as No Mans Land, which sep-arated enemy trenches that faced each other.The sights, sounds, and smell of death wereeverywhere. Because conditions in the frontline were so horrific, soldiers generally werenot placed there for more than a week at atime. They were sent from the front line to asupport trench, then farther back to a reservetrench, and then to a quiet base camp at therear for rest.

    Trenches, typically about ten feet deep,were built in zigzags. This pattern limited thedestruction caused by bursting shells and protected soldiers from gunfire if the enemy

    entered the trench. Short lengths of trenchjutted into No Mans Land to allow better lis-tening and observation of the enemy. In addi-tion, narrower communication trenches, usedto bring up supplies, troops, and orders, con-nected the main trenches from front to rear.

    Soldiers in the front line were not alwaysunder attack. Days in the trenches tended tobe boring, although the danger of sniper fireand random artillery shelling always lurked. Inthe daytime, the men cleaned their rifles andwrote letters. Most work was done at nightwhen the men could move about more safely.Creeping on their bellies, soldiers ventured outinto No Mans Land to string barbed wire, scoutenemy positions, or rescue the wounded. Muchtime was also spent repairing trenches dam-aged by shellfire, raids, or rain. As one veteranrecalled, The men slept in mud, washed inmud, ate mud, and dreamed mud.

    Did You Know?

    in one critics words, is unsurpassed for vivid-ness, for reality, for convincingness, whichlives and spreads and grows until every atom ofus is at the Front, seeing, mingling, suffering.Written in a clear and lively style, Remarquesfictional account has an eyewitness authentic-ity that still engages and moves readers today.

    THE TIME AND PLACE

    All Quiet on the Western Front takes place dur-ing the last two years of World War I, between

    1916 and November 1918. The action occursin the trenches, behind the lines, and awayfrom the front, in Paul Bumers hometown.Remarque, however, does not give exact placenames, suggesting that what Paul experiencedwas typical of many soldiers on the WesternFront, regardless of their location. Indeed,many foreign readers who fought in the warhave confirmed that Pauls experiences wereessentially the same as those of soldiers fromother nations.

  • 12 All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide

    Copyright

    by The McG

    raw-H

    ill Com

    panies, Inc.Before You ReadAll Quiet on the Western Front Chapters 15

    FOCUS ACTIVITYWhat are the general characteristics of your parents generation or grandparents generation? How wouldyou describe your own generation?

    FreewritingTake ten minutes to freewrite about your impressions of the older generation and younger generation. Ingeneral, do you respect the opinions of persons older than you? Do you think older people have the samevalues or perspectives that younger people do? Do you think all young people have the same values andpoints of view? Explain.

    Setting a PurposeRead to discover nineteen-year-old Paul Bumers ideas about his own generation and that of his elders.

    BACKGROUNDTime and PlaceThe scenes in All Quiet on the Western Front take place in three basic locations: the front itself, settingsnear the front but away from the fighting (such as a camp or hospital), and settings away from the front(such as Pauls hometown or the army training camp). By shifting between calm and violent scenes,Remarque emphasizes the contrast between life at the front and life everywhere else.

    Did You Know?Soldiers in the trenches could distinguish the different kinds of shells being fired by the sounds they made in the air. In World War I, artilleryor cannon-like weaponswere used in far greater numbers than everbefore. These long-range and close-range guns fired large missile-shaped shells of different types. Of these,shrapnel shells were especially deadly because they contained a large powder charge and hundreds of sharpmetal bits. When the charge exploded over enemy trenches, the deadly projectiles flew through the air mak-ing a singing sound. Large shells nicknamed Jack Johnsons, after a famous heavyweight fighter of the day,made a high-pitched whistle. The whizz bang, a lighter shell, buzzed briefly just before it arrived at its target.

    VOCABULARY PREVIEWbarrage [b ra zh] n. curtain of heavy artillery fire just in front of friendly troops to screen and protect them billets [bilits] n. lodgings assigned to soldiershelter-skelter [heltr skeltr] adj. in disorder or confusioninsubordination [ins bo rdn ashn] n. disobedience to authoritylaconically [la konik le] adv. with few wordsqueue [ku] n. line of peoplerail [ral] v. to scold or denounce harshlyrestive [restiv] adj. restlesssatchel [sachl] n. small bag with a shoulder strapwindfall [windfo l] n. unexpected sudden gain

  • All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide 13

    Name Date Class Name Date Class

    Cop

    yrig

    ht

    by

    The

    McG

    raw

    -Hill

    Com

    pani

    es,

    Inc.

    Chapters 15 introduce most of the major characters in the novel. As you read, make notes about eachcharacters traits, actions, and attitudes in the chart below.

    Name Date Class Name Date Class

    Active ReadingAll Quiet on the Western Front Chapters 15

    Pau l Baumer narrator, a former student who enlisted because of his sense of patriotism, now disillusioned, bitter toward elders, cool in battle, values comradeship

    Character Traits, Actions, and Attitudes

  • 14 All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide

    Copyright

    by The McG

    raw-H

    ill Com

    panies, Inc.

    Personal ResponseBased on Pauls description of the front, what part of the experience do you think would bethe hardest to bear? What could provide consolation?

    Analyzing LiteratureRecall and Interpret1. In the opening scene, why does Pauls company have extra food to eat? Why is Franz

    Kemmerich dying? How are Mllers feelings about Kemmerichs dying different fromPauls feelings?

    2. How does the schoolmaster Kantorek refer to his former students? Why do Paul andKropp scoff at the term Kantorek uses? How do the young men feel about CorporalHimmelstoss? Why?

    3. What mission at the front is Pauls group sent to perform? What do the men rely on tosurvive?

    Name Date Class Name Date Class

    RespondingAll Quiet on the Western Front Chapters 15

  • All Quiet on the Western Front Study Guide 15

    Cop

    yrig

    ht

    by

    The

    McG

    raw

    -Hill

    Com

    pani

    es,

    Inc.

    Analyzing Literature (continued)Evaluate and Connect4. What scene provides a contrast to the tension and horror that the men experience at the front?

    5. What does Kropp mean when he says of himself and his classmates, The war has ruined usfor everything?

    Literature and WritingBulletin from the FrontImagine that you are a newspaper reporter accompanying Pauls group on the night they per-form their mission in No Mans Land. Write...

Recommended

View more >