Respect In John Steinbeck's All Quiet On The Western Front

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Sometimes people use the word respect to mean treating someone like a human and sometimes respect is used to mean treating someone like an authority. Sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “If you will not respect me, I won’t respect you” which really means “If you will not treat me with authority I won’t treat you like a human.” There is something about power which causes a person to demean and shame the people they are in charge of. This shaming of others is said to happen in every branch of military around the world. Once a man of any nationality gets a taste of authority he is permanently altered. In the book All Quiet on the Western Front the protagonist, Paul, has to deal with a particularly cruel Commander who constantly demeans his soldiers, “It's simply that the company commander's head has been turned by having so much power...He can only do that in the …show more content…

The soldier is either shooting at the enemy from a distance or sending a drone. This little interaction with the enemy results in soldiers forgetting that they are in fact killing people when they fire their weapon. This dehumanization of the enemy is necessary in order to keep the soldiers from showing too much regret or empathy on the battlefield. Paul experiences this dehumanization in the book All Quiet on the Western Front "Comrade, I did not want to kill you. If you jumped in here again, I would not do it, if you would be sensible too. But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. It was that abstraction I stabbed. But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me.” (Remarque 223) When Paul stabs Gerard, the printer, he immediately shows regret and wishes that he had never swung his knife. Before this incident Paul had perceived the enemy as an idea and not actual humans firing back at

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