Feminist Lens Criteria
- Patriarchal Society: Represents this because the social construct of the military and society is run by old white men.
- No Strong Female Roles: The women characters are passive and submissive.
- Male Point of View: Addressed to male readers and female readers must solicit to male values in order to understand the reading
Why The Feminist Lens is Vital to Understanding
- Look through this lens to see the patriarchal society that requires strength “The army is based on that; one man must always have power over the other. (3.44)”
- The men must be strong but they indeed are not
- Connection to comrades
- Soldier Stereotype: The soldiers in the war are expected to be strong and emotionless
- Passive Female Roles: Paul's mom, Paul's sister, the nuns, the women across the channel, and the nurses all portray passive roles that serve the men. Women represent peace, nurture, and sex.
- Sexual Identity Influences Thoughts and Feelings: The men worry about women and living up to expectations. The women in this book only worry about the men and their well being.
- Iron Youth: Iron is rigid and emotionless, a tool nonetheless. The men are not supposed to feel emotions because that is effeminate and not apart of the war. “There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that there was only one way of doing well, and that way theirs. And that is just why they let us down so badly. (1.12)”
- Butterflies: Physical representation of vulnerability and fragility, something the soldiers should not be. They are expected to be the strongest yet the most fragile.
"They settle on the teeth of a skull. The birds too are just as carefree, they have long since accustomed themselves to the war. Every morning larks ascend from No Man’s Land. A year ago we watched them nesting; the young ones grew up too." 6.127
- Visits home on leave. Here we meet his mother and sister
- The women across the channel.
- When is Paul is injured and visits the hospital. Here the "Iron Youth" aren't strong and we meet the nurses and nuns. “It is forbidden to cross to the opposite bank...we climb out carefully on the opposite bank. (7.145-157)”
“There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that there was only one way of doing well, and that way theirs. And that is just why they let us down so badly. (1.12)”
“Parting from my friend Albert Kropp was very hard. But a man gets used to that sort of thing in the army. (10.269)”
“It is forbidden to cross to the opposite bank...we climb out carefully on the opposite bank. (7.145-157)”
“The army is based on that; one man must always have power over the other. (3.44)”
“To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and security; she shelters him and gives him a new lease of ten seconds of life, receives him again and often for ever.” (4.55)
“Iron Youth. Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk. (1.18)”
"We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.” (5.88)