Metaphors for War The use of metaphors are an important factor with any piece of literature. Metaphors add color to creative writings, also establishing depth. A story without metaphors is lifeless, unable to compose another way to view it. The term for a metaphor is a figure of speech in which term is transferred to something it does not literally apply to, this helps the brain create a mental picture which the person might easily understand what the character is feeling. When a person finally makes the connection between the metaphor and the idea, the story takes a deeper meaning. In the story by E.M. Remarque, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, you see a vast quantity of metaphors to connect the characters thoughts together.
While reading this book, you may decide to ignore the metaphors, by not truly understanding the meaning they portray. In this, you fail to grasp the emotions that the author relates to you in the tale of the soldiers of the book. If you take the time to appreciate what the author writes by using metaphors the story will be more enjoyable. Understanding metaphors is not always easy, many people get similes and metaphors mixed up. A simile is nothing more then a baby metaphor.
You must be able to pick out a metaphor in the story, no matter how minuscule. For even though it may appear small, it might be a lead to another far bigger metaphor. Through this, the intended meaning will appear. When Paul the main character, refers to the front as a whirlpool, this is quite a large metaphor, with a deeply rooted meaning. “To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool.
Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapably into itself” (Ch.4,Pg55) This is saying that though he is not even close to the front, he still feels the effects from his position. It creates the mental picture that Paul is a boat in a large ocean, and far in the distance the whirlpool is barely seen on the horizon. Though slowly, maybe without him even realizing it, he is being pulled towards the whirlpool. This is an example of a metaphor and the mental images it creates to help people understand the book. The author also has a cage represent the front, “The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen.
We lie under the network or arching shells and live in the suspense of uncertainty. Over us, Chance hovers. If a shot comes, we can duck, that is all: we neither know nor can determine where it will fall” (Ch.6,Pg101). This is saying that the front is no different from a prison, not really protecting the soldiers from the danger. Also that it is nothing more the a cage of chance, you may live you may die, you have to choice, only chance. Humans may believe in chance but not depend on it. With this metaphor, it describes the how harsh the front can be, creating a image of a bird in a cage.
With these metaphors the front begins to take shape and become more real to the senses. Metaphors help the reader produce a sense of realism, which having the absence of metaphors, you lose. If a someone’s writing wants to be the best, it must have a good usage of metaphors, strategic placed, but if you abuse the function of a metaphor, it horribly disfigures the work of the author. People must realize to look past the shell of the metaphor discovering its deeper meaning, like the human, you must see past the way they look and find what they truly are, only then will you be able to understand them truly.