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The Metamorphosis of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front

The Metamorphosis of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel set in World War I, centers around the changes wrought by the war on one young German soldier. During his time in the war, Remarque’s protagonist, Paul Baumer, changes from a rather innocent Romantic to a hardened and somewhat caustic veteran. More importantly, during the course of this metamorphosis, Baumer disaffiliates himself from those societal icons-parents, elders, school, religion-that had been the foundation of his pre-enlistment days. This rejection comes about as a result of Baumer’s realization that the pre-enlistment society simply does not understand the reality of the Great War. His new society, then, becomes the Company, his fellow trench soldiers, because that is a group which does understand the truth as Baumer has experienced it.

Remarque demonstrates Baumer’s disaffiliation from the traditional by emphasizing the language of Baumer’s pre- and post-enlistment societies. Baumer either can not, or chooses not to, communicate truthfully with those representatives of his pre-enlistment and innocent days. Further, he is repulsed by the banal and meaningless language that is used by members of that society. As he becomes alienated from his former, traditional, society, Baumer simultaneously is able to communicate effectively only with his military comrades. Since the novel is told from the first person point of view, the reader can see how the words Baumer speaks are at variance with his true feelings. In his preface to the novel, Remarque maintains that “a generation of men … were destroyed by the war” (Remarque, All Quiet Preface). Indeed, in All Quiet on the Western Front, the meaning of language itself is, to a great extent, destroyed.

Early in the novel, Baumer notes how his elders had been facile with words prior to his enlistment. Specifically, teachers and parents had used words, passionately at times, to persuade him and other young men to enlist in the war effort. After relating the tale of a teacher who exhorted his students to enlist, Baumer states that “teachers always carry their feelings ready in their waistcoat pockets, and trot them out by the hour” (Remarque, All Quiet I. 15). Baumer admits that he, and others, were fooled by this rhetorical trickery. Parents,too, were not averse to using words to shame their sons into enlisting. “At that time even one’s parents were ready with the word ‘coward'” (Remarque, All Quiet I.

The Dada Movement – Russian Avant-Garde on the Internet

The Dada Movement – Russian Avant-Garde on the World Wide Web

Russia witnessed an artistic revolution during the turn of the 20th century that attempted to overturn art’s place in society. Today, we are witnessing a new revolution that is growing at an alarming rate and attracting a variety of people every day. This phenomenon is known as the Internet. The World Wide Web is more than a medium for education and research, but serves as a tool for preserving and glorifying the treasures of art. This paper will argue that through the Internet, society still inhabits the world created by the Russian avant-garde whose legacy lives on in art, dance, music, and social groups. Members of the Dada movement in Pre-Revolutionary Russia found themselves unable to communicate the excitement of the avant-garde, however, with the Internet, that excitement is once again re-lived.

The International Dada Archive of the University of Iowa is an example of the how the Internet is used as a tool to immortalize the works of the Dada movement. The purpose of the archive is to preserve and spread the written word of the Dada movement. Unlike contemporary art, the artist and writers of the Dada movement did not aim to create eternal works of art and literature (Shipe 2). Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball, leaders of the movement, reacted against World War I and wanted to open the way to a new art and a new society. Though Dadaists published books and displayed their work, the real spirit of Dada was in events: cabaret performances, demonstrations, confrontation, distribution of leaflets, and small magazines (Shipe 2). These documents exist but can only be found within diaries, audiences, newspaper accounts, and throwaway leaflets. The documents are made a…

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…ormation concerning all types of art within the click of a mouse. Because millions of people have access to the Internet, art itself will have a greater appreciation and a broader understanding. The World Wide Web is more than a medium for education and research, but serves as a tool for preserving and glorifying the treasures of art.

Works Cited

Heartfield, John. Available:

Mital-Underground. Available:

Turner, Ron. Available: http://

Shipe, Timothy. International Dada Archive, University of Iowa Libraries. Iowa City:

University of Iowa. Available: 1997.

Stoppard, Tom. Travesties. New York: Grove Press, 1975.

Zygonov, Victor. The Nuemerz Manifesto. Available:


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