Quiet on the Western Front

9 September 2016

Composers aspire to communicate the representation of their text influencing the understanding and meaning that the audience obtains. Remarque through his text ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and U2 through their song lyrics ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ have displayed various aspects and viewpoints of war. Both composers have expressed different perspectives allowing the responder to gain separate understandings of similar concepts concerning the various issues and horrors of war.

It is the composer’s application of structural features and language devices in their individual text that seek to challenge the audience to reassess their past beliefs and opinions involving war. Therefore this emphasizes each composer’s accomplishment in achieving their goal being to persuade the responder. Remarque tells of the dehumanizing effects that are perceived in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. When the young soldiers arrive at the frontline its nothing to what was anticipated as they had “just begun to love the world and being in it, but we had to shoot at it. Remarque’s characterisation of Paul is naive and inexperienced as he only just begins to grasp the understanding, through torment and fatality, that they didn’t “believe in those things anymore; we believe in war” their new objective was to survive. Trained to disregard their conscience and distancing themselves from their own emotions, taught to let go of their former lifestyle. “Keep things at arm’s length” was their innovative technique in being able to endure the horrors of war.

Quiet on the Western Front Essay Example

The audience is alarmed by the lack of emotion deemed by the young soldiers through Paul’s metaphoric language that “we have become wild beasts” enlightening context to the overall traumatic experiences that were inflicted. Remarque continues to portray the emotional state in a distant tone that “we are dead” convincing the audience they are completely detached from all feelings. Although the responder is pleasantly assured they “were not always like that” the devastations and psychological damages that have changed the young soldier will remain with them continuously.

Throughout history war has served as a catalyst for various traumatising issues with psychological damages being a major one. From Remarque’s cumulative adjectives “weary, broken-down, burnt-out, rootless and devoid of hope” the responder can visualise, through this vivid imagery, the negative impacts the soldiers had to experience. Hence signifying to the audience the blatantly damaging effects war has on numerous individuals.

Paul‘s characterisation of his experience of war as a young soldier, barely out of school, has had an irreversible outcome towards him. That “we shall no longer be able to cope” clearly indicates the trauma of their battle experiences, and how this has emotionally detained them from their lives. His conscious-stricken incident that “his name is a nail that will be hammered into me” signifies, through a metaphoric concept, the personal suffering of guilt and extensive degree of psychological destruction war has concerning soldiers.

Remarque depicts emotional detachment through the characterisation of Muller when he is no longer able to mourn for his fallen friends yet when Kemmerich is on his deathbed he is drawn to his shoes and that “the sight of them makes Muller excited” which is then the only matter he is focused on, who will acquire the boots. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ has deeply challenged the audience to deal with the various aspects of war dramatically illustrating how they sympathise with the characters in the text. The lyrics presented in ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, the song composed by U2, illustrates the devastations afflicted through war.

The title itself instantly provides the sense of destruction and is perpetually demonstrated throughout. The audience is alarmed by such graphic imagery portrayed, that “Bodies strewn across the dead end street” just as “Mother’s, children, brothers, sisters torn apart” depicts such horrors and devastations, U2 persists to display of war in their song. The metaphoric language utilized that “The trench is dug within our heart” similarly suggests the traumatic experiences imposed through the dehumanising nature of war that Remarque skilfully exemplifies. We eat and drink and tomorrow they die” symbolises the devastating vulnerable position the soldiers are obligated to experience, putting them in a situation of strain and distress. Numerous devastations have been revealed throughout the text such as the “Broken bottles under children’s feet” demonstrating the outright innocence that is lost through war. The audience is forced to face these devastations and the extent of this damage to all the soldiers as “There’s many lost, but tell me who has won”.

The employment of rhetorical language suggests U2 questions the validity of war connoting the absence of reason and purpose other than the obliteration of life. U2 have successfully convinced the audience through the songs implications ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ that war depicts such devastations and horrors. Various texts collectively portray a widespread account of war and its devastating effects. Through ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Remarque illustrates notions such as the dehumanisation and emotional damages of war. Whereas the lyrics presented in ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 demonstrates the devastations of war.

Although these thematic concerns are similar, the separate texts allow the responder to grasp two difference perspectives of war, subsequently accepting a range of responses from this understanding. Both composers have effectively employed textual features and poetic techniques that confront the audience to sincerely rethink their pre-held judgements and views considering war. As a result this conveys a universal theme of war playing on the emotional infrastructure of the responder to feel pathos for the characters in order to deliver its message.

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