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Erich Maria Remarque "Spark of Life": plot and reviews
Erich Maria Remarque "Spark of Life": plot and reviews

The novel "Sparks of Life", written by the German writer Erich Maria Remarque, is a strong, emotional work that can penetrate deeply and for a long time into the soul. The book leaves no one indifferent. The novel is set in a German concentration camp during World War II. Remarque himself was not in the Nazi dungeons. However, he managed to recreate the terrible atmosphere of those places with indescribable accuracy.

Erich Maria Remarque spark of life

A little about the author

Remarque Erich Maria was born as Erich Paul. He was born at the end of the 19th century, June 22, 1898. There were four more children in the family of the future famous writer. Parents are poor entrepreneurs Peter and Maria Remarque. After his mother died of a serious illness, the author, impressed by her death, changed the middle name Paul to Maria.

Erich began his education in 1904, at a church school, then continued it inseminary. In 1916, during World War I, he was drafted into the army. Served on the Western Front. In the middle of the summer of 1917 he was wounded and was treated in a hospital until the end of the war. His memoirs subsequently formed the basis of the world-famous work - All Quiet on the Western Front.

Beginning of creative activity, problems with the Nazis

In the twenties of the XX century, Erich finally devoted himself to literary, writing activities. Remarque, being a convinced pacifist, began to publish stories and novels on anti-war topics. His writings irritated the emerging new Nazi power in Germany.

Claims against the writer from the authorities led to the fact that in 1932 Remarque left Germany, settling in Switzerland. In his native country, the campaign against him was gaining momentum. So, in 1933, his works were banned, and the fate of his books was to be burned in the squares.

Erich Maria Remarque

Meet Marlene Dietrich, family tragedy, beloved woman

Residing in Switzerland, Erich Remarque struck up a friendship with actress Marlene Dietrich. Together with her, in 1940, he left for the United States, where after 7 years he became a citizen of this country.

During the war, his younger sister Elfriede Scholz, who remained in Germany, was arrested by the Nazis. She was charged with anti-Hitler, anti-war statements. The court found her guilty and sentenced her to death. In mid-December 1943 Elfrida was beheaded.

Remarque did not know about the fate of his younger sister for some time, since enoughHe left Germany long ago and kept in touch with his family only occasionally.

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After the end of the war, in May 1945, Erich returned to Europe. However, life's vicissitudes and experiences greatly affected his lifestyle. He fell into a deep depression, from which only alcohol helped him.

Remarque was helped to return to life and society by his new lover and future wife, Paulette Goddard. He began to write again. However, she finally managed to defeat his passion for drinking. With Paulette, Erich lived together until the end of his life. Died September 25, 1970 in Switzerland.

History of writing

Remarque Erich Maria began work on the novel "The Spark of Life" in the spring of 1949. I worked on it for a long time, finishing writing it only in 1951.

Erich Maria Remarque's novel The Spark of Life was published for the first time in the United States, in early 1952. The plot of the work is drawn from real events. The novel is dedicated to the younger sister, who was executed by the German authorities.

While working on this work, Erich studied in great detail the materials related to the atrocities of the Nazis in the concentration camps. The main sources for the writer were conversations with eyewitnesses, prisoners, as well as official data taken from the offices of the death camps.

erich maria remarque spark of life book description

Studying the materials that served as the basis for the "Spark of Life", Erich Maria Remarque was shocked. They led him into a deep depression. Therefore, the work on the novel wentlong, as much as 3 years.

All the characters, as well as the place referred to in the novel "The Spark of Life", Erich Maria Remarque came up with. The concentration camp and the city of Mellern located next to it never existed. But the basis of the novel was documentary data about the conditions of detention of prisoners and the crimes committed in the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald.


Revealing the summary of "The Spark of Life" by Erich Maria Remarque, it should immediately be emphasized that the storyline unfolds against the background of the terrible living conditions of people in a concentration camp. The prisoners are representatives of different nationalities and carriers of different destinies, and they behave differently.

Some of the prisoners who could not stand the bullying themselves become like the Nazis, adopting their methods. Others, being in the same terrible conditions, being subjected to atrocities and humiliation by the guards, were able to preserve their human qualities and dignity.

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In "The Spark of Life" Erich Maria Remarque showed many people, their destinies, which he revealed against the backdrop of the gloomy pictures of the fascist concentration camp. So, the fate of a young Jewish girl who was raped by the Nazis is very clearly conveyed.

Does not leave the reader indifferent and the image of an eleven-year-old child, whose entire conscious life was spent in a concentration camp. He was only able to survive because he learned to eat carrion.

One of the main characters of the novel "Spark of Life"Erich Maria Remarque has only a number - "509". He also spent a long time in a concentration camp, but was imbued with faith in his liberation, which helped him survive torture and hunger. The desire to survive and the presence of a strong will allowed him to maintain faith in freedom. The 509th is trying to convey its hope to other prisoners.

In the description of the book "The Spark of Life" by Erich Maria Remarque, attention should be paid to Bruno Neubauer, commandant of the death camp. He meticulously and carefully performs his terrible work. This character takes pleasure in contemplating the humiliation and abuse that prisoners are subjected to. At the same time, he is a loving father and an exemplary husband.

erich maria remarque spark of life summary

His goal is the pursuit of well-being, the prosperity of the family. At the same time, he does not pay attention to what paid for his cloudless family life. He is not a stupid person, and understands that the fall of the Nazis is inevitable. But he does not regret his crimes. All he cares about is the thought of escaping retribution.

The end of the novel

The approach of the advancing American troops, which begin to bomb the city located next to the concentration camp, is regarded by the prisoners as a harbinger of imminent freedom. They start looking for a leader, which becomes the 509th. His courageous behavior before the Nazis made others believe in his strength and heroism. Under his leadership, the prisoners began to prepare an uprising. The created close-knit group began to look for money, stock up on food, and get weapons. They began to shelter people in their camp barracks, saving them fromreprisals. Gradually, they are captured by the goal - to escape from the camp alive at any cost.

But the approach of the advancing American troops also leads to the fact that the guards of the camp tighten the conditions of detention of prisoners. They are deprived of food, intensely and subtly mocked. To hide the traces of their crimes, trying to kill as many people as possible, the SS men begin to burn the barracks with the prisoners who are there. Prisoner number 509 makes a fateful decision for himself - with a weapon in his hands, he makes an attempt to stop the brutalized Nazis. He dies, however, and kills the leader of the SS.

In the final part of Erich Maria Remarque's novel "The Spark of Life", the camp is liberated by American troops. Former prisoners go free and go each in his own direction. At the end of the novel, the author shows how former prisoners of the concentration camp live, how they settled down in civilian life.

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The fate of the novel

Published in the US, the novel was a great success. Reviews for "Sparks of Life" by Erich Remarque were positive. Critics perceived it as a strong, iconic work about the opposition of evil and good. The processes that lead to how respectable people, peaceful inhabitants, become ruthless killers are piercingly revealed.

The novel was not published in the Soviet Union. For the first time he saw the light in Russia only in 1992. The ban on the publication of this book was ideological reasons. In the novel, Remarque equates communism and fascism.

In Germany, the work was acceptedchilly. Reviews of the book "Spark of Life" in the German press were negative. For the most part, German society did not accept the novel.

book reviews spark of life

Remarque Erich Maria "Spark of Life": reviews, opinions

According to contemporaries and researchers of the writer's work, in "The Spark of Life" Remarque was one of the first to attempt to convey to readers the truth about the horrors of war, as well as the inhuman suffering of people in Nazi camps. The author brilliantly and piercingly was able to show naked human souls.

People who have read the book "The Spark of Life" by Erich Maria Remarque leave mostly emotional reviews about it, indicating that this work does not leave anyone indifferent. The content of the novel is scary, and at the same time exciting, without a doubt - this is a life-affirming work.

After the last page is read, the majority of readers come to the conclusion that it is necessary to appreciate the benefits that are available. Despite the fact that the plot of the book is stunningly scary, it is optimistic. People caught in pitch darkness can see a spark of hope and break out into the light.

In the novel "Spark of Life" Erich Maria Remarque shows the way to solve the problem. And teaches how to preserve human qualities in inhuman conditions.

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