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"All Quiet On The Western Front" By Erich Maria Remarque Describe And Comment On Life In The German Trenches During World War One On The Western Front, As Depicted In The Novel.

1026 words - 4 pages

Life in the German trenches during World War I on the Western Front is appalling, unbearable and horrendous, as depicted in the novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. This was because of many reasons, such as the unsanitary living conditions that the soldiers had to endure, the death and destruction that surrounded them, and the affects of the war and fighting that physically and mentally scared them for life.The conditions in the trenches on the Western Front were unsanitary and uncomfortable, to say the least. Some soldiers spent days on end living with water up to their knees, which caused them to catch colds and their feet to rot. There were rats everywhere that were not only foul and ugly but they also carried diseases and ate the soldiers' limited supplies of food. Sometimes, the rats would even start eating at the soldiers while they were asleep.'The rats here are especially repulsive, because they are so huge. They are the sort they call copse-rats. They have horrible, evil-looking, naked faces and the sight of their long, bare tails can make you feel sick.They seem to be really hungry. They have had a go at practically everybody's bread.' (Paul, Chapter 6, page 73)The trenches were filled with the putrid smell of death and unwashed men. There were no showers or toilets. If a man died, he was left there to rot in the trench unless he was dragged out. The soldiers were vulnerable to many diseases such as the common cold which could be deadly in a war zone as there was usually little medication available.Food was also very scarce and the little food they had was hardly appetizing -it was stale and mouldy. They had to ration their food very carefully. Paul and his comrades were so hungry at one point that they wished they had not thrown away the food that the rats had nibbled at.'We see men go on living with the top of their skulls missing; we see soldiers go on running when both their feet have been shot away - they stumble on their splintering stumps to the next shell hole. One lance-corporal crawls for a full half-mile on his hands, dragging his legs behind him, with both knees shattered. Another man makes it to a dressing station with his guts spilling out over his hands as he holds them in. We see soldiers with their mouths missing, with their lower jaws missing, with their faces missing; we find someone who had gripped the main artery in his arm between his teeth for two hours so that he didn't bleed to death.' (Paul, Chapter 6, page 97)This description is an example of the horrifying and repulsive images that the soldiers had to face whilst in the trenches. Not only did they have to deal with the death and destruction that encircled them but they also had other issues to deal with, such as homesickness, fear, guilt (from killing soldiers on the other side) and so on.There was also the...

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