Dehumanization and Destruction of War

Topics: Causality, Erich Maria Remarque, Death Pages: 2 (686 words) Published: November 14, 2013
Dehumanization and Destruction of War
War is an event that brings about destruction, no matter which side a person is on. Also, war causes change, whether its physically or mentally. Through the use of several literary devices and a realistic writing style, Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and Wiesel's Night demonstrate that the horrible situations caused by war lead to the loss of humanity.

Similes used in All Quiet on the Western Front show how the themes of dehumanization and destruction of war go together. The narrator talked about the time when he was in a shallow dug out while a bombardment of shells were being thrown overhead. One recruit develops claustrophobia, and as a result, he goes crazy and "butts his head against the wall like a goat" (111). Remarque's comparison of the recruits actions to that of a goat's shows how the man has lost his mind. The development of claustrophobia due to being forced to stay inside caused him to act in this crazed manner. Butting his head against the wall like an animal shows that the man is losing his mind. Being forced to stay in a shallow place in order to survive a bombardment demonstrates how the destruction of war can cause dehumanization.

Remarque's use of realism shows how the themes of dehumanization and destruction correlate to each other. During one of the skirmishes in the front, Paul sees a an enemy soldier staring at him and says that, "the head rises up, a hand, a movement, and my hand-grenade flies through the air and into him" (113). Remarque's detached writing describes how Paul is indifferent to the man's death. It is human nature to feel one's emotions stirring when they are in the act of killing; however, Remarque made no reference to Paul's emotions and merely stated that the grenade "flies through the air" and kills the man. Along with the fact that not much is said about this man's death, it is implied by this style of writing that Paul killed this man for no other reason than to...
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