Compare and Contrast Novel

The novels  “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque and “Lord of the Flies”

by William Golding are the important literary works, which deal with human feelings - Compare and Contrast Novel introduction. The first novel tells us about horrors of the First World War and people, who participated in it and suffered from it. The second work demonstrates moral degradation of children, who found themselves on a deserted island. The novels are interesting and noteworthy and both have many literary strengths, so it is difficult to decide which of them to publish, because both works have literary advantages and disadvantages. I would select “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, because it is more clearly written and has simpler style, theme and ending.

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            First of all, the novels have different themes, although they are connected by a similar tragedy. To be specific, Remarque’s book shows how people suffer in the First World War.  This novel is directed against the war, although it tells about everything that a soldier has seen and made on the front. Moreover, like Ernest Hemingway, Remarque describes “the lost generation”, that is, the young people, who failed to adapt again to peaceful life after they came back from the war, because the war changed them so much, that they could no longer enjoy a normal life. Remarque shows the war through the eyes of the soldier, and his sufferings by describing what he sees. In contrast, in the novel “Lord of the Flies” the main action is the struggle of the characters. This story tells about shildren, who were in the unhibited island and suddenly their worst instincts came out and they became savages, who nearly killed each other. They failed to define what is good and what is bad without adults. Alone, the children changed in the wild predators, who would readily kill each other, if their happiness or authority were threatened. In my opinion, the theme of Remarque’s novel is more understandable, because he writes openly about what he wanted to say – that a person has suffered a tragedy (a war) and can’t return to peaceful life. This situation is more topical nowadays, because many people don’t know how they will live tomorrow, and feel that they can’t fit into the society, just like Paul Baumer, the protagonist of his novel.

            Secondly, the style of novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” is more rough and simple, than in the “Lord of the Flies”. William Golding tells his story like a fairy tale. On the one hand, it is an ordinary story about the adventures of children. But in fact, this simplicity is like an iceberg, because under it there is a whole layer of symbols. For example, all of the characters can be seen as symbols, like in a fairy tale or in the Biblical story. To be particular Ralph is the symbol of the honest leader who tries to rule on the basis of fairness and beauty. Piggy is the symbol of the clever man, who is very strong in his mind but weak physically; thus, he can’t rule the children. The group of children is the symbol of our society and what can become of it: just like Jack and his hunters, we can easily turn into savages, if we can’t distinguish what is good and what is evil. Golding’s style is difficult to understand for those, who are not ready to look for a symbolical meaning. It seems to be a children’s story, but it is not; thus, I don’t think that it is so clear as Remarque’s style, which is more understandable.

The narrator of Remarque’s story is a coarse soldier, who openly and naturally tells the truth about the war. He uses short and simple sentences, describes only what he sees and doesn’t think much. However, although the novel is very simple, it tells us about all the horrors of war and about people, who can’t adapt themselves to normal life. Thus, if I were the agent of the publishing firm, I would publish Remarque, because adults and the old generation would read this book. This is an essential part of people who buy these books. Thus, this novel would have more chances to be successful.

As for the ending, Remarque’s story is also better, because it has a very powerful ending, when Baumer recalls the death of his friend with a smile on his lips. This simple passage shows all the suffering of the war veteran who went through hell and can’t forget it. Golding’s story has a happy ending: the children are rescued by the sailors. But the beast, that is the wild instincts in the children, have not disappeared. However, only an experienced reader, who interpreted the plot and symbols of the novel, will understand this hidden ending.Thus, the ending of Remarque’s story will appeal to more readers. To sum up, I’d publish Remarque, because this book is intended for a wide audience, has a clear style, ending and theme, whereas Golding is more ambiguous and symbolical.

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