All Quiet On The Western Front Character Analysis Essay

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All Quiet on the Western Front A soldier in World War I tries to escape death, but death is all around him. In the anti-war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front by the German author Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Baumer is cast as the main protagonist as he tells his accounts of how it is being a soldier in World War I. As the war becomes a strong part of Paul Baumer life’s and defines who he is, Paul becomes physically and mentally affected as he may leave the war, but the war will never leave him. The war leaves Paul Baumer physically scarred. As they are engaging in war against the enemy, Paul describes his comrades and himself as he proclaims: “We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation.…show more content…
According to Paul, Paul and his friends are, “forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial - [I believe we are lost]” (123). Being drafted in the war at the age of eighteen has changed the mental thoughts of Paul as the transitions from a teenager to adult is quickly hastened and heavily weighted on him due to the war. The physical age of Paul is disconnected to how he mentally is, which is having the mind like old men, and in the struggle of how old Paul actually is versus how old he mentally is demonstrates how Paul has been mentally affected by the war. While Paul is in the hospital, he reflects how he is, “[I] am young, [I] am twenty years old; yet [I] know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow” (263). For Paul to think that he only knows what “despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality” is at the age of twenty demonstrates how Paul is mentality affected by the war, as most teenagers do not think about such things. Paul thinks negative thoughts, and his thoughts are centralized about the war; his thoughts on death, his fear for death or the aftermath of the war, despair since he has no life outside the war. War does not only affect Paul’s mental state; the war also gives off the presence that although he may no longer be in the war, the war will always be with…show more content…
According to Albert Kropp, “Two years of shells and bombs - a man won’t peel that off as easy as a sock” (87). When a man is in the war for two years, the war will become a part of him, because of the horrors and terrors he has faced in the field. Two years of the war isolates a man from civilian life, and eventually, the war will identify him, causing it to be very difficult to make the transition of war life back to civilian life. Paul reflects back to the innocence the war has taken from him as he states, “We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world, and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our heart. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in war” (87-88). Paul was living life as a civilian for eighteen years, not knowing the horrors of the world, and as a young adult in the war, he witnessed his first horror, such as his first bombing, his first explosion, first exposure to numerous of dead bodies etc, which will traumatize him in future civilian life since one does not simply forget the first raw, gory images. The age of eighteen can be considered the age of a young adult that is still growing and experiencing life, and when teengaers are thrown into the abyss of war, it prevents young soldiers from striving and progressing; as being an adult is heavily weighed on an adolescent

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