All Quiet Essay

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In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front the reader can infer that the narrator Paul Baumer as we know him in the novel is very different from Paul Baumer before he experienced war. He had plans to write a play and a love of literature that was lost after experiencing the horror of life in the trenches. It is shown in his apparent aestheticism, inability to fantasize beyond reality, and his lack of faith in the human race. The things Paul experienced truly changed his life. Throughout the novel Paul seems to leave his emotions behind in order to survive. One of the major conflicts of the novel is Paul deciding if it's better to be more human or subdue his emotions to live. For example, in chapter nine after Paul is able to leave the hole he shared with Gerard Duval, he quickly returns to his normal self. His lack of emotion is vital to his survival because if he had been overly emotional after Duval's death he probably wouldn't have survived the shell fire in the next chapter. Even when he went home Paul had to pretend that the war wasn't so bad because if he hadn't he would've been called weak, so in a way it was important to his “survival” back home too. Having to put up those metaphorical walls probably had a profound effect on Paul. Before the war, he probably used writing as a vessel for his emotions and having to keep them all to himself would've been extremely difficult; however, the apathetic front was necessary if Paul planned to return home. In chapter seven when Paul returned home on leave, he attempted to recapture the sense of adventure he got when reading books before he enlisted. Paul says, “[the] images float through my mind, but they do not grip me, they are mere shadows and memories.” It becomes apparent to the reader that the war has effected Paul in every aspect of his life. The images that once captivated him do it no longer; he calls them

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