Mental abuse is sometimes overlooked, because of the rough physical abuse, but soldiers see a good side of both during wars. Maria Remarque shows the mental part of abuse on the book All Quiet on the Western Front. The narrator discusses all the hard times that went on during World War I, all through the book. Paul Baumer, the narrator, explains it when he and his friends enter the German army, very deeply although he is only eighteen. Baumer tells a story about fighting for their own sanity as well as their country. As the war begun, he and his friends got an real look at what the war was truly about. This book shows the conflict coming during the actual war, the boys use their spirits to try to overcome it. But the mind against reality that is described in the books, gives them a reality check on how life really is.
During the beginning of the book, Remarque explains the boy’s job, relating it to how hard it is to be in the war. Their was always something, not getting much sleep, relieving the front line, and they also didn’t have much to eat. What was going to happen, is described good by the way that the author talked about the life of the soldiers, but the boys failed to realize reality. Thinking that the war was just an ideal character. Convincing the reader to believe the boys didn’t know the risk they were taking by being in this war. They way the boys viewed it, shows that, true their are some hard times in wars, but their minds are young and they thought it was just another thing to talk about. When they should have been taking things more serious, but thinking about the good parts helped them to keep a hold on their sanity.
“They ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress to the future”, was the beliefs of the boys after their friend Behn dies. Their generation thought that the authorities were going to look after, and take care of them, the authorities were thought of real highly by them. Until their friend passed away, then everything changed. “We had to realize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs”, this is where they came to reality that, everybody was taking care of their selves, and didn’t want anything to do with other peoples problems. Letting the reader see the transition of the boys beliefs, and also their inturputation of war as it should be looked at. The boys whole outlook on life and the world started changing after that moment. They thought less about fighting for their country, and more about how things will be when peace finally arrives.
“….We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it though”, this was how they separated the true away from the false after Behn died. Explaining how the boys looked at war, showed the understanding of what must be done in order for them to survive, and also how it must be done. After a while the understood that they were basically on their own, and that no one was going to help them. Before the boys had their mothers to depend on, and they rarely look at the future, at this point it was nothing but the war. “We had suddenly learned to see!” Was letting the reader know that they were understanding how the world really is. In saying this Paul let the reader know how his beliefs changed, and that the struggles of keeping their minds straight was over. Because they finally began to see everything clear and how it should be looked at.
Describing all that they went through just to get into the army, Remarque lets the reader know that the authorities took advantage of the minds and the egos of the soldiers. Simply by saying, “We became soldiers with eagerness and enthusiasm, but they have done everything to knock that out of us.” The conflict becomes big after this is said, because the soldiers had their minds already set, thinking that they were good soldiers. But the commanders broke their ego’s down quickly to make sure that they didn’t get too high. Fight to keep their high egos or give in and go along with the way authorities wanted them to be, were the only two choices that the soldiers had.
In conclusion, this has good examples of the mind against reality and the conflicts that come along with them, and Remarque describes them well. But the story wasn’t to mainly just look at the conflicts, but to get a look at the war from Germany’s side. Although the conflict does help the reader to understand the book and the message from it. Hopefully people will see that war is the same on both sides, and that someone is going to get hurt whether their side wins or loses. The author showed a look at war, in reality, and not sugar coated, and he also did it in a interesting way. This is a very good book, and it will be excellent for anyone who wants to understand the entire meaning of war and not just bits and pieces.
I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded…..I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed….I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives.