All Quiet On The Western Front/Gallipoli Essay, Research Paper
The Only Difference Is The Uniform
All Quiet On The Western Front and Gallipoli are two stories independent of each other that chronicle the experiences of two separate young men in the same war. Paul Baumer, a nineteen-year old German soldier, narrates the story of All Quiet On The Western Front. This tragic story begins with Baumer in training camp and concludes with his untimely death. Archy, an eighteen-year old Australian athlete, is the main character in Gallipoli. Gallipoli, a peninsula in Turkey, becomes the background for another account of a young life wasted. Although these two young men are from opposing forces of the war and lived on opposite sides of the equator, they are alike in every way else.
Paul Baumer and Archy are two idealistic young men in search of the appropriate choice to make as citizens of their respective countries. Paul Baumer has been on the receiving end of numerous years of preaching on patriotism, allegiance and nationalistic ideals. Similarly, Archy feels an almost instinctual obligation to fight for his country. Both of these characters do possess a solid understanding of what loyalty to one?s country means. Unfortunately, neither of the two is aware of exactly why their countries are at war. If they did realize the true motivation of their countries in the war, they might also realize that these goals do not correspond with their own.
Adding to the similarities of the two characters, the role of loved ones plays a major part in each story. Both Paul and Archy have someone back home who cares for him deeply, but reluctantly allows him to participate in the war. Paul Baumer?s mother is greatly saddened with the idea of her son at war. She loves Paul very deeply and fears for the worst to happen. Archy?s Uncle Jack has trained Archy to be a great athlete and had great hope in the potential of this young runner. Although, Uncle Jack can?t help but watch as Archy makes a choice which ultimately ends his life. Baumer?s mother and Uncle Jack have a unique role in Paul and Archy?s story because they are the only other characters who truly connect life before and after joining the army. Since they do not participate in the war, Baumer?s mother and Uncle Jack do not change like Paul and Archy?s friends. In actuality, these characters are reminders of how Paul and Archy?s childhood was not awfully long ago.
Thomas Hardy?s poem The Man He Killed can directly be applied to the comparison of Paul and Archy. In The Man He Killed, the speaker in the poem ponders over the idea of how alike he and his foe are. He concludes that, under different circumstances, his foe and he could be friends. But unfortunately, this was not the case because these two men were participating in a war that pitted each man?s respectable country against one another. Paul and Archy share the same role in each of their respective stories. The role is a young man who joins the war for the wrong reason and then dies for no reason. Paul and Archy are capable of being the two characters in Hardy?s poem. Under the circumstances of World War I, these men are enemies. Yet, if it were not for the hostility of the feuding countries, one can reasonably assume that the two can conceivably be trusted companions. Hardy was correct in the sense that war makes potential friends into certain enemies.
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