17 Sept. 2014
The horrors and Dehumanizing Effects on War
Through out the appalling novel, All Quiet on the Western Front written by Erich Remarque, many themes were prevalent in the reading. The one theme that stood out most to me was the horrors and dehumanizing effects of war. Remarque, who fought in World War I himself, gives great details on how the solders live and the gruesome encounters. At the begging of the novel Paul expresses to us how dehumanizing the latrines are. “There were no doors and twenty men sat side by side as in a railway carriage, so that they could be reviewed all at one glance, for soldiers must always be under supervision.” (Remarque 7) .You, as human lost all your sense of privacy when you went to war. People became immune to “such trifling immodesties” (pg. 8) . Another example of dehumanizing is Kemmerich’s boots. “Muller can make good use of them. Kemmerich will die; it is immaterial who gets them. Why, then, should muller not succeed them?” (pg. 21). When one soldier died, his boots are given to another soldier, as if the first soldier never existed in the first place. There was more concern as to who was going to receive the boots than to the actual death of a friend. This shows how human life was taken for granted. Himmelstoss puts the boys through horrific conditions, he punishes the soldiers too harshly for their minor mistakes. Paul exclaimed “ I have stood at attention in a hard frost with out gloves for a quarter of an hour at stretch, while Himmelstoss watched for the slightest movement of our bare fingers on the steel barrel of the rifle. I have run eight times from the top floor of the barracks down to the courtyard in my shirt at two o'clock in the morning because my drawers projected three inches beyond the edge of the stool on which on had to stack all of one’s things.” (pg. 24). Another example of dehumanization is when Paul tells the reader “ We have become wild...
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