All Quiet on the Western Front
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All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) | Written by: Erich Maria Remarque| Published by: Random House
All Quiet on the Western Front
Thug Notes Summary and Analysis
What it do soldier boy? This week we goin to WAR with All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
During WWI, Paul Baumer and his boys catch an earful from their teacher, who tell ‘em they gotta fly they German colors, pack a gat, and run up on dat French army.Illustation: Paul and his friends now wear German WWI military outfits. After livin by the trigger in the trenches, Paul and his boy Muller hit up their homie Kemmerich, whose leg ALL jacked up. When Kemerich up and dies, Muller scores his fresh kicks since K-diddy ain’t gonna be needing em no mo. Kropp is there too. Kemm’s leg is chopped off.
Back at the front, Paul and his g-man Kat rough through all sorts of ridonkulous sh**; fools even get bombed in a graveyard where all dat blaze slangs up the dead bodies. Ugh. When Paul gets leave to go back to his trap, he realize that the war dun changed him so much that he can’t kick it in his hood like he used to. He drops in to pay respects to his his mama who tusslin with cancer. A little later he goes to chop game with some Russian prisoners who he realize are just you erryday hoods. Why’s he gotta fight ‘em when he ain’t got no real beef with ‘em?
Back in the sh**, Paul gets run in to a crater. When a Frenchy hops in with him, Paul whips out his shank and ENDS that fool. But Paul gettin all torn up bout his deed, cuz he went and ganked some fool he ain’t even hate! Ain’t that some bull sh**? He fesses up to Kat and his boys but they just like “chill baby. brotha gotta do what he gotta do.” As the war goes on, Paul sees all his bruthas drop one by one. When the Germans start backin down and the end of the war nears, Paul don’t give a FU** cuz he all alone in the world. Then one day- POP! POP! Paul gets pumped full of lead. But it ain’t no thang: Paul’s finally got a little peace and nobody else seems to give a damn. The report of the day simply reads: S’all quiet on the western front.”
Crews from all over da hood say this book be da most throwed-up piece of anti-war talk out there. But for a book with so much street cred, dem ivory tower hoods don’t give it much respect.“What matters most in All Quiet on the Western Front indeed is the subject, and the book is very sincere. It is therefore not a work of art, but a period piece and a historical document.” -Harold Bloom Then again, as some gangstas say- all good art is born of suffering.
Matter of fact, dealin with dat post-war funk is the whole reason he wrote da book:
“The shadow of the war hung over us, especially when we tried to shut our minds to it. The very day this thought struck me, I put pen and paper, without much in the way of prior thought.” -Remarque
The war don’t just ghost bruthas, it haunts em too. Just like Paul and his posse, Remarque’s whole generation itchin to find meaning in the world, but just can’t get on that level after beastin through the twisted-ass realities of the war. Not only are these soldier boys alienated from anything they found meaningful before shit went cray, but also from: who they are, who they’ll become, and the whole world around them.
“’The war has ruined us for everything.’… We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.” (87-88)
With the world gone to complete sh**, you only got time to worry bout the realest of the reals. And sometimes there ain’t nothin realer than the bare necessities- like K- Diddy’s boots.
When K-Baby buys the farm, his boy Muller gets hooked up with a sweet pair of J’s. Then after Muller gets capped, Paul starts rockin’ em. And it ain’t long before Paul follows the rest of em to hang with Tupac and Biggie. Not only are them boots symbolizing the raw realities of war, but sportin em pretty much marks yo ass for death.
Paul lays down the cold truth when he say that life is just: dystentery, shells, tanks, gas, common graves, and death. But as dark as shit be, Paul know that he still got one thing keepin him goin:
“but by far the most imporant result that it awakened in us a strong, practical sense of esprit de corps, which in the field developed into the finest thing that arose out of the war- comradeship” (26-27)
So come on, comerade. Rep that esprit de corps and cop some Thug Notes swag. Stay smart and hit me up next week. Peace!