All Quiet On The Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front makes it clear that as a soldier is forced to grow up through shocking war experiences, his will to return to childhood increase. Firstly, after exposure to war, a soldier obtains an older mentality, yet he desperately desires to give in to childish impulses, which are both overwhelming, and often unable to be followed. Secondly, All Quiet on the Western Front shows that in the desperation of war circumstances, soldiers attempt to channel their childish instincts. Finally, the most disturbing of the evidence, is that soldiers are at last able to fully channel childishness, only when they fall. Remarque shows us the childish impulses that soldiers gradually experience through his dramatic description of their desperation for their mothers. When Paul receives leave and arrives home, he has mixed emotions pertaining to his mother. He feels that war has aged him so much that he has no place at home. However, he tells the reader that he wants nothing more than to have the ability to act childishly. He states: Ah, Mother! Mother! You still think I am a child. Why can I not put my head in your lap and weep? Why have I always to be self-controlled? I would like to weep and be comforted, too, indeed I am little more than a child; in the wardrobe still hang short, boy’s trousers- it is a little time ago, why is it over? (p. 183) It’s obvious that Paul really wants to crawl into the arms of his mother. War begins to age Paul’s mind tremendously, and the only thing he wants is for it to stop and start making him younger. One must remember that Paul is merely a teenager. Most teenagers want to be accepted as mature more quickly than the rest. However, desperation has crippling effects on the mentality of a young soldier. Soldiers essentially wish they could be more ignorant than their years, because they have been so horribly scarred by
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