Personal Response to Brave New World

Often, features inside fictional dystopian worlds are criticisms on the conditions of the author’s surroundings. Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World was written in the 1930s, making it nearly a century old, and our world has changed vastly since then. When reading this novel, we meet a variety of characters within a society which seems not only intensely different from the one we live in today, but also irrational and unethical. Though when diving deeper into some of the details of Huxley’s fictional world, we notice that there are aspects that aren’t too different from the reality we live in today.

To begin, aspects of inequality and discrimination due to race, tradition/religion, appearance, opinions and gender are still very prominent in the story. Racism and shame towards other traditions and religions is seen when Lenina visits the Savage Reservation. She finds their customs and appearances to be unusual, which she voices in a negative emotion. Lower castes are also discriminated against, not only for their place in society, but also their height (which is mentioned several times throughout the novel). Bernard is a main example of someone being shoved away from society due to different values and opinions, one of them tying to another problem in this world of women being viewed as lesser than men as Bernard is disappointed that Lenina views herself as a “piece of meat”. Each of these criticisms are still seen very commonly in today’s world, and while they are not always displayed to the same extent as in Brave New World, they are issues we continue to face in our society today.

Next, possibly the largest criticism of the world Huxley was living in was the more flamboyant and uncivilized part of society. This includes the use of drugs and ostentatious sexual behaviors, as well as the consumer lifestyle. These aspects can be seen throughout the book, such as in the important role of soma, as well as attending the solidarity services and feelies. The encouragement of sexual activity in younger ages is also a major aspect that we find rather obscene, but the average age that someone is involved in sexual activity is significantly lower today than during Huxley’s years. And while it is not to the same extent described in Brave New World, it is following this critiqued trend created by Huxley. Another element to this is the normalization of seeing multiple people at once. In the 1930s, to even think of such thing was extremely unsophisticated and looked down upon, and while that is still mostly true today, it is far more accepted when compared to the opinions of that time. Lastly, the presence of high consumption is not directly censured, but nevertheless an aspect of this fictional society, Huxley’s society and ours today that he continues to criticize.

So while Brave New World may seem vastly different from the world we live in today, some of its major features that contribute to its dystopian appearance exist in the society that we claim to be immensely better than this fictional one.

Nyah Sharratt – 03/12

Personal Writing #6

It is my best friend Emma’s sixteenth birthday in nine days. I have known her since we were four years old, totalling out to a little over eleven years. She has stuck by my side throughout the hardest moments in my life, and has been the cause of some of the happiest ones. The past year has been especially hard for the both of us, and I wanted to give her a gift with a lot of meaning. For the context behind this gift, my aunt passed on August 23, 2022. She was always my biggest inspiration and the person I looked up to the most. She started a successful jewelry business; Pachula, which my uncle is still making all of their dreams for the store come true today. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, she gave me a gold necklace for either my birthday or Christmas (it was so long ago I cannot remember which one it was). I was a lot younger and didn’t really wear jewelry, but once I turned 14 i started to wear it everyday. The only time I would take it off was when I would swim in the ocean, as I was scared it would fall off. In nearly every photo of me from June 2021 and onwards, I am wearing that necklace. After my aunt passed, the necklace became even more valuable to me. Emma was one of the many people that helped me get through this emotional burden in my life, so for her birthday I am getting her the matching necklace (in silver) just to remind her how much of an effect she had on my life.

Nyah Sharratt – 03/08

Meet Cute Diary – IRJE #6

In Emery Lee’s novel Meet Cute Diary, the main character Noah is trying to search for a job to spend his summer occupying himself with. His older brother Brian has been working at a kids summer camp for the past little while, and Noah decides to apply to the same location. There, he meets his coworker named Devin for the first time. They initially had an unfortunate introduction to each other, and Noah quickly became avoidant of his coworker. In effort to repair this uncomfortable tension between every single interaction, Devin makes the effort to bring Noah a coffee each morning.

“Morning,” they say, all bright and cheery even though it not even eight yet.
I smile back at them, but it’s more of a grimace.
Devin laughs, passing me a Starbucks cup, and honestly, In not sure what I did to deserve them. Between the cold of the Colorado morning and the lack of sleep–which is mostly my fault–the coffee feels like life in my hands, gently breathing
into me. (pg. 212)

I believe that this passage is a direct example of the quote “good things take time”. Over the many mornings that Devin put in the effort to bring Noah a coffee each morning, their friendship was slowly rebuilding. Eventually, their bond would reconstruct itself through little acts of service, and form a relationship between the two that seemed amazingly authentic, even though it was no more than some words printed on a page.

Nyah Sharratt – 02/20

Personal Writing #5

I wasn’t quite sure what to write for this and I am currently babysitting so I suppose I’ll just describe my day so far. I woke up at around eight o’clock, but didn’t actually move from my bed until about ten. I went downstairs and said good morning to my brother and mum. My dad was already golfing by the time i woke up and i haven’t seen him as he was not home by the time I left for babysitting. I sat in the living room, played some Stardew Valley, gave up because I despise the fishing mechanics of that game. After that, I attempted to revive my past obsession with a kids show called “Adventure Time”, but realized I needed to subscribe to some streaming service to watch it, so that quickly became a task for another day. I then realized the time, and began to print off some colouring pages for the kids (and two for myself). We left my house after I finally dragged my mum and brother out the house. I arrived to the family’s house, and said goodbye to the kids’ parents. To start, we did a little colouring on the pages I printed. After we played with some little plastic animals, followed by painting a few ceramic sculptures. We spent about an hour trying to decide on a movie for them to watch together. Eventually they settled on “Marsha Bear”, one of those kids shows with absolutely zero plot line. I put the pizza in the oven at around five o’clock, and it was ready in about twenty-minutes. We ate the pizza, and here I am writing this piece of text.

Nyah Sharratt – 02/12

Brave New World Paragraph

In Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World”, society as we know it today is vastly different. It is in many ways the opposite of today in relation to societal expectations and norms. In the first 3 chapters, a group of male adolescents in the Alpha caste are touring the “Hatchery” with the DHC. Here, they learn many things. These include how embryos are developed in different ways, how hypnopedia is used, just to name a few. On page 28, we are introduced to a character named Mustafa Mond, or, the Controller. We quickly learn that he is one of ten leaders in the world state. Once we are introduced to this individual, he takes over the tour, guiding the boys throughout this laboratory. He makes it very clear in his words that history is absolute nonsense. But one major value in this claim that the world’s history is is very significant to this quote: families no longer exist, and such a concept is irrational and overall wrong.

Home, home – a few small rooms, stiflingly over-inhabited by a man, by a periodically teeming woman, by a rabble of boys and girls of all ages. No air, no space; an understerilized prison; darkness, disease, and smells.

(The Controller’s evocation was so vivid that one of the boys, more sensitive than the rest, turned pale at the mere description and was on the point of being sick.) (p.31)

This passage is rather significant to the novel as it clearly notifies the reader as how different this society is from ours. In our world, family seems impossible to live without. Afterall, we (typically) rely on our family for around nineteen years before leaving for college or university. But not in this altered society. Family is wrong, odd, unsanitary- just overall a miserable idea. This emphasizes the strong quote that reappears throughout the novel: “everyone belongs to everyone else”. Family wouldn’t make any sense because then you’d really only belong to your parents! And with that main concept, we begin to realize just how different their world is from ours and I strongly believe that this sets a powerful tone for the rest of the book.

Nyah Sharratt – 02/02

Willingham’s “Outsmart Your Brain” Chapter 5 Reflection

In chapter 5 of Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain, we come to the realization of numerous habits we do when studying advanced texts. He outlines poor practices we do subconsciously, and ways we can improve the effects of those habits. As an example, Willingham speaks on how our brain interprets the more complex information that we read. He notes that our brain is unlikely to automatically connect ideas from different sections in a textbook, as we are new to the subject and our brain is not looking for any connections, but rather trying to consume all the information without analyzing it. Another point I found fascinating was when Willingham explains that our brain reads these assigned textbooks in the same way we read for amusement. The first time we read a text, we are able to point out simple errors- as we would in a novel- but fail to make an in-depth analysis of the topic. Tying onto that, on page 91 Willingham writes “if readers simply understand each sentence on its own, they figure they are doing what they’re supposed to do.”. I found that statement rather impactful as it hadn’t occurred to me before, but is certainly a habit I possess. And while talking on all of these poor reading habits we have, Willingham suggests strategies that can be used for improvement.

One point that is repeated frequently is the use of questions. Willingham notes that simply asking questions prior to reading a text can help you focus on the more “hidden” details of a text. He recommends using headings (and subheadings) to help guide you when creating these inquiries. He also emphasizes the use of having a set of tasks or goals before reading a text, these could be seperate from the questions, or be the questions themselves! Lastly, Willingham points out the use of notes, highlighting, and any other stratagy someone may use to help them interpret a text. He says that different strategies work for different individuals but most importantly, “using a strategy is better than not using one.” (p. 97).

This short chapter held lots of potential for someone like myself to further explore the world of detailed reading, especially when trying to improve their studying habits.

Nyah Sharratt – 01/30

Personal Writing #4

Wallows is an alternative/indie rock band who released their first single “Pleaser” in 2017, and continue releasing music and going on tour to this day. The band is made up of 3 people: Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston. They are easily one of my all-time favorite artists as I really enjoy their music and the groups bond. Most of their songs follow the same, upbeat style. For me, listening to their songs never fails to boost my mood. The bond between the three of them is so strong and makes me genuinely happy watching interviews or music videos where their true personalities are showing. But their music videos connect both these aspects into one uplifting video. They use many visual tricks done by using interesting angles and editing. There is always an excess of colour in the videos, adding to the already upbeat music. My personal favorite music video that they’ve released is “I Don’t Want to Talk”. The video perfectly sums up the groups’ bond and the energy that is in each of their other music videos. If you haven’t heard of this band I highly recommend to search them up on YouTube, Spotify or whatever other music streaming platform you use.

Nyah Sharratt 01/18

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – IRJE #5

In Stephen Chbosky’s famous novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we meet fairly dynamic and authentic character who we later discovered is named Charlie. The entire book is written in the form of letters addressed to “friend”, otherwise known as the reader. It is a coming of age novel that depicts the classic high school experience. The main character has just moved to a new school where he eventually meets Sam and Patrick who also happen to be step-siblings. After reading a decent amount of the novel, we discover that Charlie didn’t have many friends growing up, except for Michael, who took his own life. Charlie is a very truthful and stressed individual and he doesn’t hesitate to voice his worries and thoughts to the reader. In the very beginning of the book Charlie explains that he doesn’t want the reader to find out who he is. He speaks directly to the reader and says that he thinks we will understand, because we are human too.

I think you of all people would understand that because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means. At least I hope you do because other people look to you for strength and friendship and it’s that simple. At least that’s what I’ve heard. (p. 2)

I feel that the way that this passage is written sets the tone for the rest of the novel. It isn’t formally written, but rather written by an anxious teen who is just trying to get his feelings out. It gives the reader a more emotional view on the story, as it feels a little more “real”. It is easy to spot the repetition in the short paragraph in the beginning sentence as Charlie repeats the phrase “I think you of all people” twice in one sentence. This simple technique sets the tone for the rest of the book, and notifies the reader that they’re about to read an amazing perspective of Charlie’s life.

Nyah Sharratt – 01/12

Term 1 Final Reflection

Looking back on the term 1 final, I definitely could have analyzed the texts in far more detail and paid more attention to some of the more hidden aspects. Things such as the language and style of the writing were some of the many techniques that I could have spent more time studying rather than glossing over each topic, barely acknowledging their careful placement in the texts. Overall, I became more aware of the fact that I should pay more attention to detail and further analyzing that detail.

Nyah Sharratt – 01/11


Utopia, an ideal world. Typically defined to a “perfect” society where social problems are unable to occur. But with no problems, nor any diversity, life would be boring. But a utopia is meant to be perfect, but boredom isn’t enjoyable, so maybe that stereotype of a problemless world isn’t a complete utopia.

In my personal opinion, a utopia would be a world with minimal problems. Problems that don’t have major negative effects, but rather small arguments between peers. No war or major violence, but a peaceful protest helps further develop a society. No crime, except for your classmate stealing your pencil in the 1st grade. No racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and any other topic similar to those would be tolerated. A society where everyone is the same and being expected to be perfect is the recipe for a mundane society. Rather, a life where worldwide problems are reduced down to a negligible scale, and people’s personalities are uniquely theirs is far more engaging; far more utopian. In this world, people’s personalities would not be altered, people would not be expected to be perfect, but rather themselves.

I believe a utopia is a world where people are able to live in harmony with each other in a healthy environment, both socially and physically.

Nyah Sharratt – 12/16

The Handmaid’s Tale – IRJE #4

In beginning of Margaret Atwood’s celebrated novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, we understand that the book is written in first-person. Within the first few pages, we do not learn the narrators name, but can understand some aspects of their life. They describe what life is like in what is described to be an old school. They sleep in the gymnasium, take two walks per day around the football field. Angels, who are armoured guards, patrol the outside. These guards have their backs faced to those walking around the enclosed space, never to speak to them. The area is described in a very mundane and gloomy tone. The narrator seems far from enthusiastic about their living situation.

No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns. Guns were for the guards, specially picked from the Angels. The guards weren’t allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren’t allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The Angels stood outside it with their backs to us. They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well. If only they would look. If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some trade-off, we still had our bodies. That was our fantasy. (p. 4)

The following quote is taken from the rather short first chapter. By this point in the book, this is a fair portion of the information that has been described to the reader, making it rather significant as of this time (in the book). The character from whose perspective we are interpreting the story from speaks of this place as a very secure and potentially frightening. We begin to take the impression that this place is closer to a type of jail rather than a school. Overall, the beginning to this book sets a very clear tone on how the rest of the story will progress.

Nyah Sharratt – 11/29

Personal Writing #3

Every so often when I’m bored, I walk around the storage room in my house. I’ve found rather interesting things in my explorations to that cluttered room. In this text, I’ll list, and describe some personal favorites. My absolute favorite is our hat trunk. I’m not quite sure if trunk is the right word to use, because it looks closer to an oversized toolbox than what most people would consider a trunk. I have always known this existed, but it seems that every time I look in it something new appears, which is rather confusing as we have not added to it in roughly three years. There’s those ear-headband things, light-up hats, santa hats, viking helmets and a pilot hat (still confused as to why we bought that one), just to name a few. I’ve also discovered multiple instruments, including a twelve-string guitar, which wouldn’t be too odd, but I am very sure no one in our house has ever played it. We also have a mass amount of baby toys (and a highchair), even though my brother is eleven years old. Though now I have a little cousin so they do come in handy. Alongside all this there is our twelve sleeping bags and boxes of other assorted camping gear.

The rest I can’t really describe, so ill just list them off; about 20 buckets of paint, golf clubs (that I’m pretty sure haven’t been touched since the Industrial Revolution), cotton “snowballs”, an oven that heats up to a few hundred degrees celsius, a closet door, random pieces of assorted wood and little characters from the Minions version of the board game “Trouble”. I deeply hope that I come across more entertaining pieces of clutter in my future visits.

Nyah Sharratt – 11/24

The Gravity of Us – IRJE #3

In The Gravity of Us, Phil Stamper has set a scene where the main character Cal has been set in an extremely stressful situation. StarWatch, a reality tv show based on the families of the potential future astronauts. In the beginning of the novel, we learn that Cal has a large fanbase on the video streaming app FlashFame, where he is takes on the role of a journalist. When he was told that he would be moving to support his father’s potential future career, he is told he can no longer stream, as it would interfere with the success of the famous StarWatch show. Regardless of the rules, he continues to stream his experiences to his half-a-million followers. Those who run StarWatch knew about Cal’s fame, and the level of interest it would bring to the show. Eventually Cal finds out that his dad wasn’t invited for himself, but for his son. Cal discovers he’s being used.

I wait for the yelling to start, but it never does. An eerie silence fills the house, so I rush to my tape deck and listen to whatever cassette’s in right now. Dolly’s vocals pump through my headphones, but it doesn’t work. Nothing’s going to get my mind off the events of the past hour. I used to be able to distract myself by being annoyed at my parents and their constant yelling, but this is so bad, no fight could possibly solve it. (p. 232)

In this passage we see a similar scenario as when he found out he had to move. His dad announced that they were moving away, which would completely alter his life plans. He shut it out by locking himself away in his bedroom and listening to music. I found that this scenario was very realistic as it is a way that many teens today handle these types of situations. Music is commonly used as a way to cope with anger, stress, anxiety, sadness and any other emotions similar to those. Overall, this excerpt stood out to me because of its connection to the real world.

Nyah Sharratt – 11/17

Personal Writing #2

Self-perception. A term I’m sure many have heard of multiple times in their lives. By basic definition, self-perception is how you see yourself. So, why is this topic never seen in toxic media? Self-perception is easily influenced. How we see and understand ourselves is modified multiple times a day. And perhaps you don’t notice it. But when you realize that you’ve been increasingly rude to yourself, you’ll try to think back and ask yourself; when did I start thinking like this? This surely didn’t appear out of nowhere, but it was slowly building up, little by little so you took no notice. So where does all this influence come from? Aspects from daily life make little changes constantly, but the major additions come from the media. The example I’ll be using in this text will be based on body image (centred around feminine bodies).

Media has grown into a bad image of itself. The “ideal body type” has been set as an unrealistic expectation. Most influencers have the same hourglass, toned body that often take a few thousand dollars of plastic surgery to form. And many teenage girls feel the pressure to match that body type, which takes a huge toll on their mental health. Influencers don’t always have a target when posting, and sometimes indirectly causes self-perception issues for those who consume their content. But not all body-based media is toxic. There are sections of body-positive and inclusive groups in the media. Often in the form of social media accounts, trends and podcasts. And with enough effort to reroute your feed, body positivity can make its way into your daily dose of media.

You have the ability to redirect your self-perception to take a healthy and optimistic direction and begin to re-love yourself.

Nyah Sharratt – 11/09

The Gravity of Us – IRJE #2

In Phil Stamper’s novel The Gravity of Us, Cal (Calvin) is the only child to two parents, and they are far from a perfect family. Cal was a rather popular influencer/news reporter on a streaming app, and he had just been invited to an event with BuzzFeed, something that would be a major step towards his already-growing career. Though the ground-breaking news his father had in store would change his life forever. His father was accepted into a program ran by NASA, and this contract was not only about his dad, both Cal and his mother were looped into this. They had to move to Houston, no exceptions whatsoever. This greatly upset Cal for various reasons; he can’t continue his current career (as they would be forced into a tv show, and no streaming was permitted outside of that), he would be leaving his best friend Deb, and of course, beautiful New York. Sure, his life at home wasn’t the greatest, but he couldn’t imagine leaving this place. In this passage, him and Deb are strolling around New York and we receive a short, but authentic account of the emotions this state carries.

We duck into a tiny bakery with no more than five stools of seating. The two bakers are cramped behind the counter, and I start to get claustrophobic on their behalf. But as I look around, I see glimpses of the neighborhood in notices plastered on the walls. Yoga classes, babysitting offers, piano lessons, writers’ groups. Panning out, I see protest signs, queer pride flags of all varieties, old campaign stickers from the past couple of elections. New York has a way of making you feel at home, no matter where you’re at. You just have to step off the street, and some neighborhood will claim you as one of their own. (pp. 6-7)

I personally enjoy passages where someone describes the atmosphere of a location, and I felt that this quote was a good example of that. While the quote has minimal detail about the physical aspects of the location, the aura that the setting carries is equally as significant. I also noticed how he points smaller, irrelevant details rather than the “bigger picture”. I enjoy it when an author mentions the more insignificant features of a scene, as I feel that it makes it feel more immersive and genuine. This quote is not outstanding, but I appreciated its minor contribution to the plot.

Nyah Sharratt – 11/2

Personal Writing #1

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful movie that was released in 2012, directed by Stephen Chbosky. This film was originally a novel (published in 1999) also written by Stephen Chbosky and was later turned into a film. This text will focus on the film adaptation of the story, the main character Charlie, and one of the most powerful quotes I have been exposed to.

This story starts by introducing us to a character named Charlie who has just joined a new high school and is welcomed into a group of social outcasts (otherwise known as Wallflowers). We follow him through his first year of high school; times that are both carefree and melancholic. As the movie progresses, we notice how his mental state plays a great factor in the development of his new life and how we perceive the character that is Charlie Kelmeckis. He ages with the movie, and discovers new passions, such as writing and English class itself. After class one day, Charlie approaches Mr. Anderson (his English teacher) with the question “Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?”, and with this, his English teacher originates an extremely powerful quote; “Well, we accept the love we think we deserve.”, which practically carries the entire movie’s sentiment in a few words. It is clear that this quote majorly impacts Charlie and supplies him with a new view of the world around him. Many factors contribute to this extremely well-written character, who expresses incredible amounts of genuine emotion throughout the film. I feel that he has very authentic qualities and perfectly depicts how mental illness can affect someone’s personality and overall life. And in my opinion, Charlie Kelmeckis and his story make up one of the most astonishing films I have ever watched.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/27

Comparison of They Shall Not Grow Old, All Quiet on the Western Front and Soldier’s Home

They Shall Not Grow Old, All Quiet on the Western Front and Soldier’s Home are three compelling narratives that all describe what it was like to be a serviceman during World War I. Each account was slightly different from the others, but they each carried one important message; war was either fun or dreadful. All three scripts conveyed this same message in different ways; the movie displayed it with examples of activities and clips, All Quiet on the Western Front explained how the friends Paul developed made the extra time enjoyable and Krebs from the short story suggested that his time at war was exciting. Each of these accounts were unique in their own way, aside from their mediums. They Shall Not Grow Old was more of a descriptive film than one that tells a story, All Quiet on the Western Front was more of a personal account of trench life and Soldier’s Home showed us emotions post-war. Overall, the knowledge gained from separate perspectives helped me obtain a well-developed understanding and empathy for these soldiers and their eventful lives.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/18

As Far As You’ll Take Me – IRJE #1

In Phil Stamper’s novel As Far As You’ll Take Me, Marty, an anxious queer teen with a love for music moves to London for the summer to escape his unfavourable life in Avery, Kentucky. His parents think that he is attending a summer program at a prestigious music academy, but really he’s only trying to escape his toxic household. Marty’s aunt and cousin live in London and he was invited to stay with them for the upcoming summer. His aunt departs for Italy, meaning Marty and Shane (his cousin) are left as roommates for the summer months. Shane is enrolled in the academy Marty is supposedly studying at, and is just as passionate about music as Marty is. Marty accidentally walks in on Shane fully tuned into the piece playing through his headphones:

I peek into Shane’s room. He’s got headphones on, his eves are closed, and he’s fully into his foremost musical passion. One that makes entire symphonies, but one that technically produces no sound: conducting.

He’s conducting in four, but at times switches to two, then builds to a passionate stop. He swivels away from his computer, to the left, to focus on fictional violins. He swivels right, to cue the oboes, or maybe flutes, and opens his eyes. (p. 56)

I feel that this quote perfectly summed up their relationship, two musical prodigies who probably know a little too much about this subject, living in the same house. The way that Marty was able to recognize what each gesture meant from Shane’s wild movements was also quite humorous. Somehow he could tell where Shane’s imaginary violins and oboes were positioned, which is not only very impressive but altogether entertaining to read. I enjoyed reading and learning about their friendship and felt that this passage added to the depth of their bond.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/13

Comparison of “A Soldier’s Home” and “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home and Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front are two pieces of text based on World War I and its effects on the individual soldiers. Even though the books are written from the perspectives of soldiers from opposing alliances, their experiences back home are quite similar. Both characters felt out of place when they returned home from the war, regardless of permanence. Paul Bäumer, a German soldier who died a month prior to the war’s end, was sent home on leave mid-war. Harold Krebs, an American soldier, returned home nearly a year after the war had finished. Regardless of being rather different characters, they both seemed to feel cut out of society and noticed that life was drastically different from before they went off to serve the war. 

The emotions they feel when back at home are similar, but have different reasoning. Paul’s short trip back home helps him realize that war had drastically changed his life, and not for the better. On page 165, Paul finds that “… he does not know that a man cannot talk of such things; I would do it willingly, but it is too dangerous for me to put these things into words.” (while speaking to his father). He has made the connection that the war is far too devastating for anyone to hear its stories, and it would ruin them as it ruined him.

Krebs, on the other hand, realizes that the war supplied a great amount of emotion and intensity. Krebs felt empty, rather than upset when he returned home. His late arrival and how the enthusiasm for returning soldiers had faded, making him feel unwelcome. Krebs had to lie to try to fit himself back into society by telling fake scenarios to keep his audience interested. He lacked motivation and missed the excitement the war had provided. On page 1, Krebs notices that “A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set in because of the lies he had told”. Krebs secretly enjoyed the war and the exhilaration that it supplied, and his home did not provide that same feeling.

Overall, both characters suffered at home from the war. Paul felt out of place and emotionally ruined, while Krebs missed the excitement. Both characters shared the same general reaction, but each with a different meaning behind it.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/10

Personal Response to “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is a brilliant novel which uses various writing techniques to create an immersive and authentic narrative of life during the war. I believe that how the characters and the plot were structured are very significant in the creation of this novel. In this piece of text, I will illustrate my opinion and observations surrounding the structure (primarily how the events are described) and characters of this story.

One element I especially noticed about this novel was that every character was portrayed genuinely, each person has a distinctive personality with unique traits that distinguished them from the other characters. On pages 3 and 4, Paul gives a list of his friends with a few defining characteristics that they carry:

“Close behind us were our friends: Tjaden, a skinny locksmith of our own age, the biggest eater of the company. He sits down to eat as thin as a grasshopper and gets up as big as a bug in the family way; Haie Westhus, of the same age, a peat-digger, who can easily hold a ration-loaf in his hand and say: Guess what I’ve got in my fist; then Detering, a peasant, who thinks of nothing but his farm-yard and his wife; and finally Stanislaus Katczinsky, the leader of our group, shrewd, cunning, and hard-bitten, forty years of age, with a face of the soil, blue eyes, bent shoulders, and a remarkable nose for dirty weather, good food, and soft jobs.” (pp. 3-4)

It is easy to notice that each of his friends possess different traits, both including physical aspects as well as those shown within their personalities. This is an excellent example of using contrasting and diverse characters to create a more realistic picture rather than stereotyping soldiers to have identical mundane personalities. Paul was an especially interesting character to analyse, as we received his thoughts and perspectives the most. As soldiers are typically portrayed as heartless and stolid individuals, Paul’s point of view proved him to be a very sympathetic and thoughtful character, as he finds that the loss of his closest friends is extremely difficult to come to terms with. Overall, I appreciated the diverse range of characters in this novel as I believe their qualities played a monumental role in the progression of events.

The development of the characters in context of the occuring war is a very influencing detail in this novel. Paul, for example, goes through major character development as the war goes on. It affects his mental state as seen when he returns home while on leave. Paul’s father asks him questions wondering how life is at the front, causing Paul to realise that the war is incredibly difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced it themselves; “I realise he does not know that a man cannot talk of such things; I would do it willingly, but it is too dangerous for me to put these things into words. I am afraid they might then become gigantic and I be no longer able to master them.” (p. 165). The war had permanently changed Paul, and this time back at home assisted him in discovering that unfortunate fact. The way that Remarque supplies context throughout the novel is extremely beneficial to give us a more in depth understanding of what life was like outside of the violent combat. 

This book featured lots of smaller details and scenarios outside of the brutal front line traumas. Abundances of description are given to dull occurrences, including eating meals, going on leave and simply lounging while building relationships with one another. I noticed that Remarque focuses especially on the plain, perhaps more repetitive or dull, aspects of war life; this effect makes the experience of reading this novel more immersive, as we can relate to some of these activities and emotions, but would never associate them to war. For example, at the beginning of Chapter One, one of the first mentioned events is their meal consisting of double rations. While this may seem irrelevant or minor to the story from a reader’s perspective, in the eyes of the soldiers in the queue, this was an astounding opportunity for them to receive a double serving of their meal. These small events are emphasized in this novel which I found to be incredibly valuable as it gave me a more authentic and genuine perspective. By the end of the book, I felt that I had earned a better understanding of what life was like during war outside of the treacherous combat they suffered.

The beginning of the book felt rather repetitive and uneventful, but as I continued to read, I felt more drawn and intrigued to the storyline. It was an amazingly written and constructed novel; the characters, plot, imagery and relationship with our daily lives all created a beautiful and engaging piece of text. I walked away from this book with far more sympathy and understanding for those who fought in the war with a full (and now enlightened) realisation that their lives consisted of far more than just combat.

Nyah Sharratt – 10/04

About me

My name is Nyah, I was born in California and have lived in Victoria for most of my life. I like to play guitar and take care of my 50+ plants.

I hope we get to do lots of creative writing and new topics. I’m expecting to read more books this year (outside of school).