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Pain In Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front

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Aeschylus once claimed “And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our own will, comes wisdom by the awful grace of god.” Aeschylus shows that pain has incredible effects on the being. Pain plagues and diminishes the mind, body and heart, corrupting the soul itself. In Erich Maria Remarque 's All Quiet on the Western Front, the narrator, Paul Baumer, along with his fellow soldiers, experience these pains almost constantly throughout the story. Due to the traumatizing situations the men are put into during war, they are incapable of readjusting to humanity outside of the battlegrounds. They have been completely dissolved by the incredible pain they experience. In his novel,…show more content…
For Example, as Paul speaks to his mother, he feels an incredible sadness due to the fact that it is no longer acceptable for him to show emotion: “Ah! Mother, Mother! You still think I am child- why can I not put my head in your lap and weep? Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled?” (183). Paul experiences this deep sorrow and depression because he feels that he has been completely robbed of his sentiment. Furthermore, Paul feels that because of war’s ability to manipulate his feelings into becoming almost static, he has no choice but to have self control and bottle up his emotions. This emphasizes the fact that war causes pain by twisting a soldiers emotions so they fall into a deep despair and begin to crumble, until eventually they are left with nothing but a skeleton of what they once were. Moreover, In the same conversation with his mother, Paul wishes to be taken back in time so he can escape the anguish he currently feels: “Ah! Mother, Mother! Let us rise up and go out , back through the years, where the burden of all this misery lies on us no more, back to you and me alone mother!” (183). Paul feels that in order for himself to attain any sort of break from his despair, he would have to go back to a point of time, in which everything was more simple. This shows that the trauma he experienced on the front has resulted in him being…show more content…
For instance, the horrors of the front put the men under a trance like spell and become attractive to them: “ To me, the front is a mysterious whirlpool, though I am still far away from its center, I feel the vortex sucking me slowly” (20). The minds of the soldiers have been completely dissolved and they now grip onto anything they can process. In this case, the men only know how to process violence and pain because they have an understanding that the only accomplishments they can achieve from this point of their lives consists of fighting on the front. This goes to show that war is capable of twisting and molding a man 's mind into believing that violence is the only relevant aspect of life, and therefore should be the only thing they think about. Furthermore, even the surgeons on the battlefront are taken advantage of war by becoming psychotic and treat the patients cruelly: You are here to be cured of your wound, not your flat feet. Did you have any problem with them in the field? No, well there you are! At present you can still walk, but if once the old boy gets you under the knife you 'll be in cripples” (259). The doctors are being compared to “old boys” or basically children because they are not in the right mindset to realize what they are doing is completely wrong and inhumane. This goes to show that the scandalous opportunities brought by
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