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Paths of Glory vs All Quiet on the Western Front sample essay

“Paths of Glory” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” are two different stories about the 1st world war. They are similar and different in their own ways. Many children born in North America usually grow up seeing war movies from the America’s point of view. This is different in Paths of Glory and All Quiet on the Western Front. These films/novels display how European countries fought this war, whether it was good or bad. They display both sides of WWI, and when compared can show differences AND similarities.

Here are their differences. A thorough look at these two stories can uncover many differences, but the main ones would be the point of view being French and German; a soldiers perspective and an officers perspective; and the outcomes of each side. Paths of Glory(POG) displays France’s view of the war while All Quiet on the Western Front(AQWF) displays Germany’s view of the war. The story AQWF is about German soldiers’ take on the war. It relates more to young readers lives and the struggles of young soldiers in a war.

POG on the other hand, targets the officers as the main point of view in the war. It displays the corruption and the loyalty of officers. In POG the French have the upper hand on the Germans in the war and don’t seem to ever be drastically losing, while in AQWF, there is death everywhere and it ends with all of the main characters dying and Germany losing the war. All these things display the differences between these two epic war stories, but there are some similarities.

All Quiet on the Western Front and Paths of Glory have very similar main characters, in which the characters both make the same astonishing discoveries. The characters in both cases realize that the real enemy in the war is not the country they are fighting against, but the leaders of their own military. This is much more relevant in the movie, POG, when it shows General Mireau ordering fire on his own troops. However, the theme is still in AQWF. Evidence of this is how Corporal Himmelstoss makes the men’s lives miserable, making them do petty things such as saluting drills.

Within the novel the protagonists discover that the men they are against are not much different than themselves. Moreover, this is extremely evident with Paul, the narrator of AQWF, who spends a night in a shell hole with a Frenchman who is dying right beside Paul. Both the novel and the film show the bad living conditions, although the novel is from the German viewpoint and the film, from the French viewpoint. There are many other differences in the plots of the two stories.

Similarities and differences are evident throughout All Quiet on the Western Front and Paths of Glory. The differences being the outcomes of each side, the points of view between the two countries and the points of view between officers and soldiers. The similarities of course being the corruption, the living conditions and the shared setting/time period of WWI. When all is said and done, the differences and similarities of these Great War stories make the pair amazing themes to compare and contrast.

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