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All Quiet on the Western Front Essay: Paul’s Facade

Paul’s Facade in All Quiet on the Western Front

In Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer paints a vivid picture of the horrors of war. Many of these horrors are purely physical, such as the constant bombardments and gunshots whizzing overhead. But along with these physical horrors come mental and emotional ones. Chief among these is the “war mindset” that the soldier must acquire in order to survive war. The essence of this mindset is the total disregard for human life, and with it, human beliefs and customs. War requires a suspension of these standard human beliefs and customs. Paul outwardly appears to have acquired this “war mindset,” but he does not internalize it and thus eventually dies.

For the most part, Paul at least outwardly appears to have adopted the war mindset. His actions are very much those of the typical soldier. For example, Paul, like all the other soldiers, will do anything he can for food. He is well accustomed to relieving himself out of doors: “Here in the open air though, the business is entirely a pleasure. I no longer understand why we should always have shied at these things before. They are, in fact, just as natural as eating and drinking” (8). Most of all, he values his survival above social customs: “We have lost all sense of other considerations, because they are artificial. Only the facts are real and important for us. And good boots are scarce” (21). For Paul, as for most soldiers, the rules of normal, polite society simply do not apply at the front. In the time between Paul’s volunteering for the war and the beginning of the book, he has changed. For all the physical evidence, he is a common foot soldier.

But Paul’s transformatio…

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… Paul wanted to get out of the war. Maybe Paul died on the right day; he loves quiet, and he dies on possibly the quietest day of the whole war. Maybe he just wanted to end his misery. In any case, Paul cannot accept the philosophy of war and thus gives himself up for death.

Society wants soldiers to believe that war is glorious. But it is not. Society wants soldiers to believe war is an adventure. But it is not. Society wants soldiers to believe that our enemy is the only enemy, that our cause is the only cause, that our people are the only people. But there are many enemies, many causes and many peoples. According to Paul, all these causes are equally ignoble, and none of these enemies are worthy of being slaughtered en masse. For Paul, as for many people, past, present, and future, war is simply unacceptable, and nothing can repair the damage it does.

Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

Kate Chopin is an author who was born in 1851 and died in 1904. Her father died when she was young, and her husband died when she was thirty-one leaving her with six children. Due to this, she had little male influence throughout her life. This may possibly be why she had so little inhibition when writing her novels. She seemed to concentrate on the oppression of women and presented socially unacceptable ideas at the time of their publication. Although Kate Chopin stirred up great controversy in her time, today her novels, short stories, and poems are often regarded as great literary works that incorporate bold concepts, grim social realities, and also elements of romance. One such novel of Chopin’s that embodies these characteristics is The Awakening, first published in 1899. At the time of its release, men held the reigns of society and women basically catered to their every whim. Acts, such as adultery and the abandonment of children, were rarely committed, and they especially were not discussed. The Awakening came as a shock to society as Kate Chopin presented a novel that developed her opinions through examples of Romantic, Realistic, and local color writing.

Like many novels of its time, The Awakening is an example of Romanticism. Romanticism can be defined as a literary or art movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century that emphasizes individualism, love of nature, celebration of common man, freedom, emotion, exotic worlds, fantasy, and a tendency to look to the past. The Awakening’s main character, …

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…s examples of local color help to intensify the characters, setting, and conflict.

Chopin showed what a talented writer she was by her incorporation of Romanticism, Realism, and local color in her novel The Awakening. She combined these elements to add dimension to her writing and further develop her thoughts and ideas. Kate Chopin was not a typical writer nor was she a typical person. As shown in her book, The Awakening, she was audacious and wrote about what she truly felt rather than what was expected of her. Literary devices, such as romance, realistic events, and local color, do add a volume to novels, but without Chopin’s skill in using these devices, this novel would not have been the eye-opening masterpiece it is today.

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