All Quiet On The Western Frontier
2 Pages 500 Words
Despite the dictates of nationalism, one's rivals are no different in nature than he himself is. As Paul spoke to the body of Gerard Duval, in All Quiet on the Western Front, these realizations were brought to is mind; just as they were in chapter eight when he saw the Russian prisoners and concluded that the war had forced men who were not enemies to fight each other.
The characteristics that Paul portrayed in the novel were that of an altruistic being. Paul says "If we threw away these rifles and these uniforms, you could be my brother... . " This showed that he saw his enemies as the human beings they truly were; as people who just had a different opinion than his own. As he lied in the trench with Duval, his sympathy grew and he began to understand Duval as a brother with the same original middling life; and the artificial divisions between the two men became irrelevant. As his sympathy grew and he promised to send money and support the family of the man that he had just so carelessly killed, it became clear to the reader that the guilt of this particular soldier was just another appalling element of war. The compassion that Paul showed in the novel, is a key factor in the real world, especially in the struggle for a moment of peace.
Furthermore, one of the novel's main themes is that the war makes man inhuman and inadaptable to the past. The remainder of the quote, "Take twenty years of my life, comrade, and stand up - take more, for I do not know what I can even attempt to do with it now," renders to the fact that although the soldiers may have escaped the bullets of war, they were destroyed forever by it. Although the gruesome aspects of war lead to their personal hell on Earth afterward, they dreaded the end of it almost as much as they dreaded wound and death, For, they now would have nothing to forward to but years of rage. They experienced the horrors of war but not experienced the joys of life. Remarque compa...
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