Analysis Of All Quiet On The Western Front: The Horrific Penalties Of War

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Horrific Penalties of War Mickie Ann once said, “It’s exhausting to fight a war inside your head every single day.” These words express the fight that many soldier face daily due to the horrific scenes of battle that do not only scar them emotionally, but in one’s mind and somatically. The ongoing fight in one person's head can lead to a long list of problems like mental illness, suicide, and not being focused in battle leading to their ultimate demise. The same struggle to stay away from the mental, physical, and a person's inner feelings of the destructiveness of war are seen in Erich Maria Remarque's novel All Quiet on the Western Front. This novel follows the struggles of Paul Baumer, narrator and protagonist, through World War I. The …show more content…

To begin, Paul realizes a young recruit is starting to have a mental breakdown and Paul describes, “He looks up, pushes the helmet off and like a child creeps under my arms, his head close to my breast”(61). Remarque uses this to compare the young recruit to a small child looking for comfort in Paul’s arms. The soldier is horribly affected by the war's casualties along with the explosions which affect his mental state. The mental destruction of war causes many of the men to break down or go insane. Next, Kat and Paul try to calm down a recruit who is suffering from a nervous breakdown and Paul describes it as, “It is a case of claustrophobia, he feels as though he is suffocating here and wants to get out at any price. If we let him go he would run about everywhere regardless of cover”(109-110). The young soldier with no prior knowledge or training in battle is now being introduced to the mental drawbacks of warfare. The young combatant is reduced to relying on only his instincts, no matter how strong or weak they may be, instead of coping with war by not thinking much of it. The mental catalysis of war cause many to break down emotionally and mentally, and after they are left with an unstable mental state with no say at what they might do next. Ultimately, Paul himself begins hallucinating and imagining many commodities he has seen from the time he started the war till the present, “In whirling confusion my thoughts hum in my brain- I hear the warning voice of my mother, I see the Russians with the flowing beards leaning against the wire fence, I have a bright picture of a canteen with stools, of a cinema in Valenciennes; tormented, terrified, in my imagination I see the grey, implacable muzzle of a rifle which moves noiselessly before me whichever way I try to turn my head”(210). After earlier in this novel Paul being one of the men to comfort

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