Forever Lost Essay

1428 words - 6 pages

Every person feels lost at least once in his or her lifetime, whether it is physically lost in a crowd or psychologically lost in an abyss of unanswered questions about life. To be able to fit in properly is difficult in this dysfunctional society where conflict and ignorance linger in people’s lives. From the past, World War I emerged from one of these many conflicts and disrupted the lives of many men as they were lured to abandon their lives and fight. This group of men who have difficulty fitting back into the society after war is known as the “lost generation”. Similarly, Eric Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, tells the story of the generation of young men who feel ...view middle of the document...

He has only experienced agony and horror which society does not know of. The distinction between the knowledge of the older generations and that of the new, “lost generation” creates a gap, making it difficult for the soldiers to adapt to a post-war life. Also, Paul feels out of place when he is home and notices the pain he is causing for his family. After his first leave home, Paul says, “I ought never to have come here. Out there I was indifferent and often hopeless; I will never be able to be so again. I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, for my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end” (185). Paul begins having unreasonable thoughts for himself in which he prefers not to return home so that he does not create agony and suffering. Clearly, Paul loses hope in life as a civilian because there is nothing useful he can do. War causes Paul to neglect the meaning of life, so now he cares less about rebuilding his life after war.
Unlike most of the older men who are part of the war, the majority of the “lost generation” are young men who barely started adulthood. Likewise, Paul and his classmates have not established a stable life, so they have no job or family and still need to determine their role in society. As a result, after war they are unable to readjust to a past life because they have none. Additionally, the environment of the front is primitive and deprived compared to the conditions of a town. War has changed the men permanently in a way that they become indifferent for the future and focus more on survival at the present. This is unlike the simple, routine lives of civilians. For example, when the soldiers discuss their future Paul expresses his ideas and says, “All I do know is that this business about professions and studies and salaries and so on—it makes me sick, it is and always was disgusting. I don't see anything at all, Albert.” (87). Since Paul is part of the generation that never had a chance to build a life, he neglects these aspects in his vision of the future. However, jobs and studies make up the basis of a decent life, so if Paul and his comrades do not have these things, they will, once again, be lost in a society in which a job is necessary for survival. Similarly, when a soldier like Paul returns home, he is unable to recognize the presence of his past life there. As Paul arrives at his home, he describes, “I know no one among all the people hurrying to and fro. A red-cross sister offers me something to drink. I turn away, she smiles at me too foolishly, so obsessed with her own importance: ‘Just look, I am giving a soldier coffee!’—She calls me ‘Comrade,’ but I will have none of it.” (156). Paul’s description shows how foreign he felt in the new environment since there were so many faces. The girl offers him a drink, addressing him as a “Comrade”, which shows how distinct soldiers are in the society. People...

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