Comparison And Contrast Of "The Man With The Broken Fingers" And All Quiet On The Western Front

1323 words - 6 pages

Both the poem, “The Man with the Broken Fingers” and the novel All Quiet on the Western Front have unique similarities and differences. They both deal with war. “The Man with the Broken Finger” is a poem by Carl Sandburg and was written about World War II. All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written by Erich Remarque and it deals with World War I. Erich Remarque was born in Germany and his novel All Quiet on the Western Front its characters are members of the German military. Carl Sandburg is from Illinois and his poem deals with an American war hero. These two literary works both have their similarities and differences, especially in the areas of point of view and ...view middle of the document...

This same story of sacrifice would have been rejected had it been told in first person.Unlike “The Man with the Broken Fingers”, All Quiet on the Western Front is told from the first person point of view. Remarque explores the horrors of World War I through the eyes of a German soldier named Paul. Remarque transforms this tale of a young recruit who is thrown head first into a raging war into a lesson about life. Remarque attempts to teach the reader to understand the horror of war, the value of friendship and the absurdity of traditional values, the same thing “The Man with the Broken Fingers” is advocating. Remarque includes discussions among Paul's group, and Paul's own thoughts, something that is clearly missing from “The Man with the Broken Fingers”. While he observes Russian prisoners of war Paul begins to realize that no ordinary people benefit from the war (196-204). Paul begins to realize and change. He experience personal growth and change. The reader can also experience this as well because we are all Paul. “The Man with the Broken Fingers” is told in third person so the reader is unaware of any character change or depth.The theme of the poem “The Man with the Broken Fingers” is that as American citizens we should honor and emulate the courage of the men and women who defend our country. (ll. 51) The problem with this theme is that it limits the poem to a very narrow viewpoint of the world. This poem is incredible biased due to its time period. It was written at a time when Bugs Bunny was playing pranks on Japanese people. The theme of this poem is not merely one of against torture. No one needs a poem to realize that torture is atrocious. Rather, Sandburg wrote this poem because they needed people to enlist. This poem is strictly limited to the American public of the era. This is mainly due to the fact that as a present day reader I want to make my own judgments and do not want to be coerced into thinking or feeling a certain way. I want to find this out for myself. What we, as readers, need to understand is that both sides used similar tactics. The United States used to torture as well in WWII, but we don’t see any of the anti-American poems because we won the war. Sandburg uses the man with broken fingers as an instrument to display how war veterans should be treated. He glorifies battle wounds with a “chicks dig scars” mentality. This poem is eager to play the victim and to claim to have the answers but the poem lacks any critique...

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