All Quiet On The Western Front Reader Response 2
In the book All Quiet on the Western Front written by Erich Maria Remarque, the author has made Paul too one-dimensional, which means he does not have depth and the readers image of them is vague. Paul is the narrator of the story and does not have too much action or dialogue in the novel. He mostly speaks of what the soldiers in his company do and not much of himself. As a narrator it is his job to tell the story and not be a part of it. Paul’s only introduction of himself is mentioned, (as well as the other characters), in the beginning, but for Paul that is it. “And as the fourth, myself, Paul Bäumer. And four are nineteen years of age, and all four joined up from the same class as volunteers for the war” (Remarque 3). The reader can expand on the other characters as they have many dialogues between each other. Opinions can be built up on the characters by their attitude or how they react to certain situations. For example, Himmelstoss can be thought to act like a leader or commander and is not liked by people. He is attacked by Tjaden, Paul, Haie and Kropp over Himmelstoss’s bed wetting decision.”Tjaden unbuttoned Himmelstoss’s braces and pulled down his trousers, holding the whip meantime in his teeth. Then he stood up and set to work”(Remarque 48). The reader only knows Paul’s beginning description and can not construct any more information on him than that. Paul uses the word “we” a lot when he wants to refer to himself and the rest of his company. Remarque does not want Paul to be the center of attention, as he should not have any bias. Paul as the narrator is meant to describe what he sees from his point of view without interfering with any social aspects of his company. Paul does as little as he can to get involved with any conversations, he follows orders and goes through with his everyday life. The author fills the book with dialogue from other soldiers and descriptions from what Paul is seeing and hearing through his eyes, none of his information is spun, he translates what he sees to detailed descriptions for the reader. The novel would not have such a great effect on its audience if Paul would be constantly speaking his opinion of everything including the war. The book is meant to be about World War I in general and how it was seen through someone’s eyes as if they are not there. In chapter eight, Paul is on leave and visits his mother and sister. He does not share much opinion or thought regarding it. “But a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things”(Remarque 160).Paul is able to keep the unbiased personality of his character even when he sees his mother. The emotion that he displays, shows how every soldier would feel returning to their family on leave. Paul would talk and react as any other soldier would to show how worried any family would be about their son. Overall Remarque has made Paul a one-dimensional character that makes the story as unbiased as it is. Without Paul having this role in the book, there would be more one-sidedness in the novel, Paul only describes what he sees and hears, this makes a good war novel.