Remarque’s novel is a insightful statement against war, which focuses primarily on the devastating affect both psychologically and the humanity of soldiers. Paul’s narrative reflects persistently on the romantic ideals of warfare. Paul and his fellow soldiers are tempered with the reality that their bonds come at the high price of relentless suffering and terror.
Most of the prominence events that refer to character altering situations occur in the final chapters of the book. Paul’s analogy between minting coins and the effect of the war on veteran soldiers is a significant event. He explains in a very true manner how he and his friends establish close bonds that far surpass any civilian or ‘peacetime’ friendship. However, those bonds have been established through living through events no person should, and have been somewhat forced, seeing as they have had to stand together after being drafted into the war and stuck together with other young men their age to fight side by side on the front line. They have had to enter trialing times of incredible violence in order to form and solidify these friendships.
In passing through these times during their young lives, Paul and his military brothers have been forcibly melded together by the war, not so much against the enemy but more against the harsh reality of war. The comparison of their relationships to those of convicts sentenced to death adds a sobering qualifier to the romanticized ideal of comradeship.
Another key incident occurs when Paul experiences hand to hand combat with a French soldier, and eventually is forced to kill him. Up to this point, Paul had never fought the enemy face to face. When Paul kills the enemy, he instantly feels guilt and regret as he realizes the man is just like him or any other soldier. “Forgive me comrade", he says. Personally, I believe the use of "comrade" suggests that he sees the man as somewhat of an equal, rather than an enemy. This expresses his and his fellow soldiers...