Krunal Desai
Mrs. DiVietro
English II Honors
28 Mar. 2015
Learning Target 3: All Quiet on the Western Front
The famous war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, establishes the significant thematic differences with its movie counterpart. In the beginning of the novel, Paul Baumer, the protagonist of the novel, speaks of how the company has filled their stomachs with food, and how they are resting a few miles behind the lines. When the movie begins, the audience can perceive that the war had not begun yet, due to the nationalistic cheers of the German crowds. The boys are sitting in their classroom listening to their professor rant on about how they are the "fatherland\'s youth", and how they, as German citizens, must take up arms and fight for their country. This speech stimulated and awakened the boys\' reason to fight, and diverging from the beginning of the novel, this portrayed how innocent these "children" were to war. The film purposely began with this opening scene, so then the audience can witness the transmutation in personality in regard to the schoolboys. The idea that youth can undergo metamorphosis by witnessing horrors such as war, would be considered the basis of the film. This scene demonstrates how the filmmaker manipulates Remarque\'s theme of the effect of war on the soldier, and uses it to show the stage-by-stage periods of the soldier\'s life. In the novel, this scene is absent from the beginning, but is introduced later on when Paul reminisces over what life was like before the war. Remarque writes this later on in the novel because of his portrayal of how as a soldier, Paul usually has no time to ponder about life. All of the soldiers must come to a realization that in order to survive war, feelings must be suppressed. The audience also witnessed the death of the French soldier, Gerard Duval. From the film standpoint, the filmmakers wanted Paul to have the feeling of killing a man, and they fabricated this scene similar to that of the novel, but with minor adjustments. Paul felt immediate sympathy for the man, and tried to give him water, and clean his wounds. A distinct difference to this scene was how Paul screamed at the solider because he could not cope with the man\'s heavy breathing and gurgling. At this point in the movie, a climax was reached, which dealt with Paul\'s personality and humanity. This was included in the scene to display the deterioration of Paul\'s personality, and after witnessing the death of a man that had been caused by his own hands, Paul can no longer subsist himself, so he lashes out at the soldier and screams at him to be quiet. This scene in the film shows how the war has adulterated Paul\'s personality and emotions, but there is a larger reality to this scene. Paul is only the quintessence of a "contaminated" soldier. From the film, the audience realizes that war is only a poison that degrades the humanity of soldiers. From Remarque\'s standpoint, this "backlash" was not included because although Paul and the other soldiers were losing their sanity and character, the author shows how sympathy can form during war. Paul laments that he stabbed the soldier, so he continues to commiserate and heal the man until he passes. From the movie and the novel, this scene travels in separate directions in order to conclude upon the same aspect, the toll that war takes on a man. At the end of the novel, Remarque writes how Paul passed in a simple manner a few weeks before the war\'s end. He had a composed expression on his face, and one would apprehend that it seemed as if he was at peace with himself. Remarque writes Paul\'s death in this manner because of how that day was remembered as. The German army reports how this day would be regarded as "All quiet on the Western Front" (Remarque 296). Paul dies on a peaceful, serene day on the battlefield, which seems as indignation towards what this war was remembered as. In the film, Paul dies in a similar fashion, but a butterfly causes his demise. When Paul is on leave, he speaks with his sister about their hobby