All Quiet On The Western Front Essay

All Quiet On The Western Front Essay

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While soldiers are often perceived as glorious heroes in romantic literature, this is not always true as the trauma of fighting in war has many detrimental side effects. In Erich Maria Remarque 's All Quiet On The Western Front, the story of a young German soldier is told as he adapts to the harsh life of a World War I soldier. Fighting along the Western Front, nineteen year old Paul Baumer and his comrades begin to experience some of the hardest things that war has to offer. Paul’s old self gradually begins to deteriorate as he is awakened to the harsh reality of World War 1, depriving him from his childhood, numbing all normal human emotions and distancing future, reducing the quality of his life.
At the age of nineteen Paul naively enlists in World War 1, blind to the fact he has now taken away his own childhood. The men of the front line become aware of their new selves as they are overjoyed with almost nothing except the bare minimum, "That 's not much come to think of it, a few years ago we would have despised ourselves terribly but now we are almost happy. It is all a matter of habit—even the front-line” (Remarque 138). The change within themselves is so distinct that it is easily recognizable to them, the men view themselves with distaste as they identify that their past selves wouldn’t have even liked them. The men have grown into men they would have been ashamed to be, but it is too late. In their past lives, they never would have rejoiced over the necessities because that wouldn 't have been enough to them, but their needs and desires are different now and have adapted to fit their new lifestyles. As Paul goes on leave, it makes him realize his new self and the loss of who he used to be, "Everyone is so, not onl...


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Paul 's chance at a healthy and happy future is gone, fighting along the front took away any chance that he had of that. The feeling of a hopeless life contributes greatly to the lack of emotion already felt by Paul and his comrades, giving them nothing in life to want or look forward to. The ultimate purpose of Paul’s life is gone as now he has nothing to look forward to and ultimately no reason to survive.
As a soldier, many things need to be sacrificed such as fond memories of the past, normal human feelings, as well as the quality of their life and a hope for the future. As Paul falls deeper into the void of war, he loses himself and everything that made him Paul. The inhumanity of war takes form in the lives of the soldiers in which it scars. Paul’s quality of life is gone, leaving him with nothing in his life to be happy about, silencing his emotions forever

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