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All Quiet on the Western Front1

World War I had a great effect on the lives of Paul Baumer and the young men of his generation. These boys’ lives were dramatically changed by the war, and “even though they may have escaped its shells, [they] were destroyed by the war” (preface). In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer and the rest of his generation feel separated from the other men, lose their innocence, and experience comradeship as a result of the war.
Paul and his generation feel separated from the rest society. Paul feels as though “[he has] been crushed without knowing it” and “[does] not belong anymore, it is a foreign world” (168). Other men “talk to much for [him]. They have worries, aims, desires, that [he] cannot comprehend” (168). His generation of men who fought in the war is “pushed aside” (249) as unpleasant reminders of a war the civilian population would like to forget. After surviving such unspeakable experiences the soldiers feel separated from everyone. Paul says, “men will not understand us” (294). “The generation that has grown up after us will be strange to us and push us aside” (294). After the war most soldiers “will be bewildered” (294) and “in the end [they] will fall into ruin” (294). The soldiers do not have concrete identities as the older generations do. “All the older men are linked up with their previous life” (19). Paul’s generation cannot even imagine any definite post-war plans. Their experiences are so shattering that they regard the prospect of functioning in a peacetime environment with vague anxiety. They have no experiences as adults that do not involve a day-to-day fight for survival and sanity. Paul has a “feeling if foreignness” and “cannot find [his] way back” (172).
After entering the war in young adulthood, the soldiers lost their innocence. Paul’s generation is called the Lost Generation because they have lost their childhood while in the war. When Paul visit...

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