All Quiet On The Western Front is an impactful novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, following the life of a German soldier in World War I. When Paul Bäumer, the aforementioned soldier, was deployed to face combat in the war, he demonstrates the hardships that no civilian could ever understand. Paul’s story goes in depth regarding the bonds soldiers make, the emptiness they face, and the separation that builds between them, and their former lives. This novel doesn’t glorify the war, but tells it as it is, which turns out to be an extremely lonely, devastating experience. This is revealed in the following passage concerning a passed away soldier’s (Kemmerich) mother.
I pity her, but she strikes me as rather stupid all the same. Why doesn’t she stop worrying? Kemmerich will stay dead whether she knows about it or not. When a man has seen so many dead he cannot understand and longer why there should be so much anguish over a single individual. (p. 181)
I chose this scene because I cannot begin to imagine this type of attitude, and outlook. Their lives are completely consumed by this war, and it’s affecting them more than we can understand. However, this novel is helping me to comprehend that this was the only mindset soldiers could have in order to survive. They were surrounded by constant death, disappointment, and fear, that any type of connection or relationship would likely result in heartbreak. I thought that this passage was extremely powerful, because it made me realize the true importance and effects that opening up to someone can have. This level is much more extreme, considering the fact that it’s life or death, however it can be applicable to many. Furthermore, this paragraph is showing a very different perspective on self importance and quality of life, because it seems that it was very depleted during World War I. It’s very unfortunate that lives weren’t more appreciated, nevertheless, it seems that that emotion would have only made this more complicated, and distressing.