Paul In All Quiet On The Western Front Essay, Research Paper
In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul is morphed from an innocent child into a war veteran who has a new look on society. Paul used to have a carefree life where he was able to be a kid, but when he enlisted into the army it all changed. Paul became a person whose beliefs were changed because of the war. Paul doesn’t believe in society anymore especially parents, elders, and school, which used to play a big part in his life. He changed his beliefs because society does not really understand how bad war really is and pushed many young men, who were not ready, into the army. Paul connects with his fellow soldiers because they are going through the same situation and feel the same emotions. Paul’s beliefs were changed by the lies that were told to him.
Paul believes that he was tricked into joining the army and fighting in the war. This makes him very bitter towards the people who lied to him. This is why he lost his respect and trust towards the society. Teachers and parents were the big catalysts for the kids to join the army. They used words to convince the young men to enlist. Teachers would talk to the students like they were friends, but in reality they were just trying to get them to enlist. They probably wanted the students to enlist so that they would not have to. Paul remembers when Kantorek, his old teacher, came up to him and his friends. “I can see him now, as he used to glare at us through his spectacles and say in a moving voice: Won’t you join up, Comrades? (15)” Paul even said that he was tricked by these comments. Many parents disgusted Paul because he can not believe that they were so willing to let their children go to war and most likely die at a young age. Now Paul learned from the past and realizes that society tricks you into doing what they want, but now the war has opened his eyes.
The war also changed Paul by hampering his ability to communicate with the people on the home front. Paul learns that it is hard to communicate with them when he visits his hometown. He realizes that people have no clue how bad war really is especially his own mother. “Suddenly my mother seizes hold of my hand and asks falteringly: Was it very bad out there, Paul?(143)” He did not know what to say so he lied to her and said that it was not so bad. Paul could not believe said that. Of course the war was bad, anything is bad when people are dying. He sees that the gap between him and society is getting bigger especially with his mother. Also Paul has no way to describe his experiences, he can not put them into words because the experiences were so horrible that you had to be their just to understand. This made his comradeship with his fellow soldiers stronger because he knows that they can relate to him and felt the same emotions as he was feeling. Paul experiences how strong his bond really is with the other soldiers. During one of his patrols one night, Paul gets pinned down in a shell hole. He becomes very scared and starts to panic. The only thing that calmed him down was the voices of his fellow soldiers. Paul describes it best, “At once a new warmth flows through me. These voices, theses quiet words, these footsteps in the trench behind me recall me at a bound from the terrible loneliness and fear of death by which I had been almost destroyed. They are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thin there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades. (186)” Voices from his comrades was the cure that Paul needed to calm down. He put his comrades before his own mother now that shows how much his fellow soldiers mean to him.
Throughout the novel, Paul goes through a period of enlightenment, which makes him realize that his bond of comradeship with his fellow soldiers is all that he has left. The society that had raised him turned their backs on him. He had no way to communicate with the people on the home front. He could not even talk to his own mother with out feeling distant and alone. Paul realized this and that is why he was glad that he was died soon after the war because he had nothing to live for and no one to live with in his life of loneliness.