Erich Maria Remarque is one of the most famous and revered writers of the so-called lost generation. During his relatively long life, he wrote a lot of famous works with deep implications.
One of these is the Arc de Triomphe, which we will talk about today. So sit back, it will be interesting!
about the author
Remarque was born in the German town of Osnabrück in 1898. From an early age he was very interested in literature, after which he studied at a church school.
In 1925, he first married Jutta Zambona, who became the prototype of the main character of the novel Three Comrades. The marriage ended after 4 years.
All the works of the author were saturated with hatred for fascism and Nazism. Therefore, Remarque soon had to leave for Switzerland, and then to France.
In 1939, he arrived in the United States and received citizenship only after 8 years of living on another continent. In 1957, the writer married Chaplin’s ex-wife. I spent the rest of my days in Switzerland.
History of writing
At the end of the 30s in Germany, it became more and more difficult for Remarque to work, since his work did not fit into the ideology of the party. Moreover, he changed the spelling of his last name to French, which did not add to his popularity in Nazi circles.
In 1939, Remarque met Marlene Dietrich, and he began an affair with the famous actress. It was Dietrich who became the prototype of the main female image in the novel Arc de Triomphe.
After reading an excerpt from the work, she was angry. In particular, she did not like that Remarque put her (already a recognized world-class star) as an ordinary singer in a restaurant.
The plot of the “Arc de Triomphe” tells us about Ravik, who at the beginning of the Second World War lives in France. He does not have any permits, so the man is forced to hide, rent a hotel room, where documents are not required.
Since he was a professional surgeon in his homeland in Germany, he replaces his French colleagues locally and works successfully. There were many German refugees in Paris at that time. They were forced to leave their homes, as they were persecuted by the Nazi ideology.
Ravik’s life is rapidly changing after a chance meeting with a desperate woman on the street. After spending the night together, the next morning he learns that her name is Joan Madu, and her situation is really disastrous. That evening, the man with whom she came to Paris died, and she has no job, since she can only sing.
The man gradually helps her to get on her feet, the girl turns into an attractive person who wants a normal relationship, and is not afraid of the possible arrest of Ravik. Soon he is arrested and forcibly sent to Switzerland, and Joan managed to find another during this time.
From Ravik’s past, we learn that he had a lover named Sibyl back in Germany. When they were arrested by the Gestapo, the young girl did not survive the violence and died. This death a man can never forgive the Nazis.
And in Paris, on an ordinary street, he meets a Gestapo officer Haacke, who was involved in the death of his first lover. He does not recognize the former prisoner, on the contrary, he is glad to meet his compatriots in France.
Then the surgeon tricks Haacke into the Bois de Boulogne, where he kills, then disfigures, and then takes him to another forest.
The novel ends with the fact that revenge did not bring peace of mind to Ravik. Against this background, Joan also dies from the bullet of her next boyfriend. The surgeon tries to get the bullet, but only makes things worse.
On their deathbed, they confess their love to each other, and Ravik injects his beloved with a lethal dose to ease her suffering.
After that, he has nothing to lose, he reveals his identity to the French police. Paris is captured by the Germans. However, Ravik is no longer afraid, because fear appears only when there is something to lose.
This is where our analysis ends. If you liked it or have any thoughts on this, be sure to write in the comments.
And that’s all we have. So see you soon on the pages of new articles. Peaceful sky above your head.