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Atrocious War Essay

1221 words - 5 pages

Warfare is a dreadful and horrifying experience that shows the violent side of humanity. War is the worst thing a human being can go through. The recruits suffer inevitable damage by the ordeals they encounter and the ruff experiences they take part in. War changes a person, from a nice boy into a stone-cold killing machine. Erich Maria Remarque, the expressive German author, shows the scenes of war in his novel All Quiet on the Western Front. In the novel, Paul Bäumer, the protagonist, journeys to war, like his fellow classmates from high school, and fights for his country. He watches slowly as each one of his friends die until he is the only one left. At the end, Paul dies on the front ...view middle of the document...

For he did not fully prepare his platoon for the front. Soon, the company leaves for the front and Paul is exultant for leaving Himmelstoss behind. They soon realize, the front is even worse.
Paul again experiences the horror when he reaches the front line of the war. Constantly, Paul worries about the possibility of death. On one of the first days, Josef Behm, Paul's friend, dies due to being fatally shot in the eye. The company never sleeps due the constant bombardments and gunfire from the enemy lines. Many times the line is hit with poisonous gas that kills anyone who is not wearing a mask. Paul sees the others who forget to wear mask and watches as they slowly choke until they are no longer breathing. Numerous times, Paul watches other recruits being shot, he sees the blood the spills from their body and their bowels relax. He hears the death groans of the dying soldiers. In one scene, Paul watches as the lance-corporal has his head "torn off," his body runs a few feet while a numerous amount of blood "spouts from his neck like a fountain" (115). Paul hears the "unearthly and unendurable" sound of horses screaming because they are wounded (62). Paul depicts the screaming as "the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning." This moaning that the horses emit is so gruesome and agonizing that the soldiers have no choice but to put them down. It frightens the soldiers because they know they horses are loyal companions and they had no part in starting the war. Their bodies gleam beautifully as they parade along until they are shot. To Paul, their dying cries represent all of nature accusing man, the great destroyer.
Again in chapter six, Paul sees something disturbing, he sees and smells a huge shell hole full of bodies, swelling up and belching gases. This sight and smell is petrifying for a rotting corpses odor is very noisome. Then in chapter nine, Paul sees dead, naked bodies hanging from trees as if they were ornaments, and body limbs scattered about the battlefield. This is a sight that one would dwell upon for the rest of one's life. These horrendous scenes show Paul the unsightly life as a soldier. Remarque uses literary devices such as imagery and onomatopoeia to elucidate the fine details that make this novel prominent. One can say that Remarque is an anti-war protester, he wants to deviate his readers from joining the military. Society can never...

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