All Quiet on the Western Front' Essay on Soldiers

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In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Fronts, by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul, a German soldier, is drafted into the war and witnesses many traumatic instances of war. Throughout the book, Remarque demonstrates the mental trauma and emotional stress involved in warfare that Paul experiences to convey the significant impact of war on the mental stability of soldiers. Remarque utilizes similes in his writing to express the stressful effects of war on the mental conditions of soldiers introduced in All Quiet on the Western Front.

The mental effects on a WWI soldier can be devastating, as seen in All Quiet on the Western Front, which portrays the war with emphasis on the overwhelming fear, violence, and stress a soldier faces, sometimes completely ruining his sanity and leaving lasting effects on his mental health. After enduring a violent, traumatic encounter in the front lines, Paul highlights how mental damage is permanent and devastating. He explains that soldiers “forget nothing really” and that “when they are past, sink in us like a stone, they are too grievous for us to be able to reflect on them

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at once,” further analyzing that if they’d had reflected on the traumas of war, they “should have been destroyed ages ago.” Paul also states that “terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks–but it kills if a man thinks about it.” This quote uses multiple analogies to compare the stressful, traumatic experiences of war to those of a stone sinking. Additionally, the quote shows Paul’s realization of the inevitability of mental trauma. Paul notices that the emotional damage of war can be suppressed and ignored but never completely forgotten since it causes permanent pain. However, his understanding that such realization can be dreadful and even more stressful makes him wonder when his horrors of war will finally overwhelm him and reveal the reality of war, during which soldiers are subject to intense physical pain and primal, instinctive fear at every moment of the war. The traumatic thoughts of death and witnessing brutal murders of comrades and enemies instill intense fear into all soldiers, inevitably creating excessive stress and anxiety. (Page 138)

In another instance in All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque is seen using a simile as he describes the inevitable mental stress and trauma that the soldiers endured as a result of the fear and pain involved in the reality of war. In a quote, Paul describes the many conflicting emotions that he develops from the war. He feels “forlorn like children,” but also “experienced like old men.” He describes himself as “crude and sorrowful and superficial” believing he is “lost” (Page 123). As well as containing two different similes, the quote strongly portrays Paul’s suffering as he compares his feelings of pitiful sadness and loneliness to that of a child and his experience in the war to that of an old man. This comparison demonstrates Paul’s unstable mental condition and reveals the many negative, conflicting emotions that he feels as a result of stress from the war. Furthermore, the quote displays Paul’s realization as he accepts the mental toll that has been put on him from the stress of the war.

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All Quiet on the Western Front’ Essay on Soldiers. (2024, February 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/all-quiet-on-the-western-front-essay-on-soldiers/
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All Quiet on the Western Front’ Essay on Soldiers [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 29 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/all-quiet-on-the-western-front-essay-on-soldiers/
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