All Quiet On The Western Front Rhetorical Analysis

1248 Words5 Pages
Given the circumstances during the Crimean War, William Howard Russell’s writings as a war correspondent were certainly not taken lightly. It is questionable whether or not he was necessarily ‘anti-war’, but his words and style of language certainly represented war in a way it was never represented before. Regardless of its truth, one cannot deny the power of his assertions. In the excerpt, Russell does exactly this – he captures the audiences’ attention by using powerful imagery and a straightforward style, in an attempt to get his point across. The chronology of the passage is also initially striking, as he begins with a vivid description only to interrupt it with “but I cannot tell lies ‘to make things pleasant.’” The choice of the word…show more content…
He does in fact form an opinion on this matter, as he asserts that words are used to cover up “filth and starvation and deadly stagnation”. In Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”, the power of words is a consistently recurrent theme. The narrator describes the effect orders have on a soldier, and suggests that many follow orders for all the wrong reasons, whether conscious or not. “Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades – words, words, but they hold the horror of the world.” The narrator suggests that words, language, a lieutenant’s orders, stories of glory, and other seemingly unimportant conditions of war – in the grand scheme of things – are in fact the cause of such conflicts. They hold the ‘horror of the world’ because of their unpredictable power, and because countries do not simply place blame on ‘words’. In this light, what is perhaps most shocking is that mere words can lead to the death of masses. What Remarque suggests about the influence of words is not too far from what Russell…show more content…
If the government has in fact betrayed its people – in this case, namely soldiers – then what do they have to fight for? Aside from feelings of nationalism unrelated to the government’s motifs, the war is now merely a fight between human beings. In “All Quiet on the Western Front”, the narrator expresses soldier’s increasing disregard for authority. “The idea of authority… was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief.” Like Russell, Remarque suggests that if anyone were to be thrown into the front lines of war, they would view their nation and its leaders in a far different
Open Document