All Quiet On The Western Front By Erich Maria Remarque

1192 Words5 Pages

Ashley Dumas
Ms. Christine Gmitro
Sophomores Honors English
16 May 2018
The Mental State of Paul Baumer In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, the narrator Paul Baumer is left a broken and destroyed human being after his time in the senseless absurdity of war. The war takes a huge toll on all who witnessed or were apart of it. The soldiers went in as young men and came out feeling old, hardened, and incomplete. In order to survive such a gruesome war, the men must return to their animalistic ways and disconnect from their past selves. For instance, Paul Baumer transformed from an innocent young man into a hardened and distraught war veteran who must form a new path to get through his mental conflict of feeling …show more content…

World War One was one of the most vicious and brutal battles of the time of this novel. Men like Paul Baumer and his comrades were made to believe that joining the war would be a heroic and idealistic experience. For instance, Baumer’s old schoolmaster, Kantorek, encouraged his students to become soldiers. However, Kantorek did so with a complete and utter ignorance of what the war is actually like. Moreover, Paul describes the many horrible aspects and consequences of the war. The author of this anti-war novel set out to portray war as a meaningless and brutal way of life that ruined the life of many of the soldiers. Paul observes the gory and butchered bodies scattered everywhere around the battlefield and “cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round” (Remarque 263). The war has completely altered Baumer’s conception of military conflict with its disastrous extent of violence and slaughter. His description of the dead men who even Paul is left an utterly broken and destroyed man after the war. Furthermore, the horror of war and the animalistic nature it brings out in people is thoroughly addressed in Baumer’s description of the impoverished Russian soldiers, who like them were forced to “unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another” (Remarque 263). The inhumanity that he witnesses makes Paul conscious of the animal-like suffrage that the soldiers experience throughout their time in the war. To Baumer, the Russian soldiers “are so feeble” (Remarque 193) and have lost their sense of humanity as they are the “pitilessness of men” (Remarque 193). However, Paul can relate to the men as they are all soldiers fighting for a cause that they do not necessarily believe in, bringing out their inner beast in order to survive. He then begins to realize that the more he finds connections and a sense of

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