Burgess and Doherty: Final “All Quiet Analysis”

The Losing of One’s Self


The true horrors of war

War eradicates one’s mind as well as one’s body. All Quiet on the Western Front (by Erich Maria Remarque) flawlessly illustrates this as the main character Paul loses himself as the story unfolds. Pauls his friends perish and his mother contracts cancer, for which he cannot pay for. In Chapter 7, Paul is on leave and realizes that he has lost interest in all the commodities he loves and used to hold dear. No longer does he find comfort in the leathery pages of a novel, and is left to wonder how he can go back to civilian life after the war. He inwardly cries out to the books, exailiming: “speak to me—take me up—take me up”, but to no avail. Later, after Paul is done talking with a blissfully ignorant man on the street, he is thinking about how leave was supposed to be different from this. He feels he can’t even begin to understand the civilians and their lives:


They talk too much for me. they have worries, aims, desires, that I cannot comprehend. I often sit with one of them in the little beer garden and try to explain to him that this is really the only thing: just to sit quietly, like this. they understand of course, they agree, they may even feel it so too, but only with words, only with words, yes, that is it—they feel it, but always only half of themselves, the rest of their being taken up with other things, they are so divided in themselves that none feels it with his whole essence; I cannot even say myself exactly what I mean.


 
~[Chapter 7]


War has torn Paul so far apart that he cannot understand anything about civillian’s lives. He wants to comprehend, wants to understand, wants to have a normal life; but war has made it so that can never be possible. He describes it as a “distance” or some kind of “veil” between the normal fold and himself preventing him from being normal again. War has ruined Paul’s life without causing him bodily harm. War can splatter one’s brains across a wall, rip your guts from your abdomen, and blow your limbs from your body; however, an almost equal danger can be the decimation of one’s self.

 

The Horrors of War


The true cost of War

War is truly atrocious. While that comes as no surprise, the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque perfectly illustrates this with the main character Paul losing his closest friends, losing himself, and losing everything he used to hold dear. This is evident when Paul witnesses unspeakable horrors in service of his country. In Chapter 6, Paul and his company are sent to the front line to fight; and that is where they are bombarded, attacked, and scarred for life: 

 

We see men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off, they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell hole; a lance-corporal crawls a mile and a half on his hands dragging his smashed knee after him; another goes to the dressing station and over his clasped hands bulge his intestines; we see men without mouths, without jaws, without faces; we find one man who has held the artery of his arm in his teeth for two hours in order not to bleed to death. The sun goes down, night comes, the shells whie, life is at an end.

[Chapter 6]


Paul and these men have seen things that no man should ever have to see; and for what? They’re fighting a war they don’t care about, a war that doesn’t matter to them; all they want is for it to end. And yet these “dirty” and “pallid” men are still sent to their deaths. War and death encompass each other, and Paul takes notice: “But on every yard lies a dead man” On the battlefield, all one can hope for is a swift and quick death.


Dialogue Story

Hope

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By Max Burgess and Charlie Hood

 

“Quit throwing that ball, you could crack the ventilation system”


“So? It’s not like it matters anymore.”


“Don’t talk like that. If we're gonna survive, we gotta have hope.”


“Dan had hope, and look where it got him. Same as James and Sophia...”


“I guess… Anyways, how much oxygen do we have left?


“Not enough. Hours.”


“How much food is left”


“I don’t know Billy. Stop with the questions”


“Fine...”


“Maybe we should go to Earth. We’ve got three hours left, and I can't just sit here waiting to die. It’s been three years, it’s possible the fallout levels have gone down”


“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”


“Come on, would you rather run out of oxygen in three hours and die that way? Or try to find some semblance of life before the end”


“I guess you have a point. I’ll gather my things. You do the same, and only bring the things we absolutely need.”


“Ok”


1 Hour later


“Got your stuff?”


“Yup”


“Ok, all go systems go for earth, in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1”


“T-minus 9 minutes till touchdown”


“It truly is beautiful. Three years is all it took for the land to turn completely green without the humans around”


“You’re right... You know, If we don’t make it, I think we should leave a recording of what happened.”


“For who? Aliens?”


“There are probably still some humans out there, surviving below the surface. It wasn’t like the world blew up all at the same time. I think we should leave a record for when they come out.”


“I guess there's no point in not doing it. What do you think we should say?”


“How it all began...”


3 years ago, the first nuclear bomb went off…


Max, Colby, and Tommy’s Chapter 8 Literary Analysis

How one can Lose Himself after War

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War is the greatest failure of mankind

~ Aaron Huey

 

Even during war, it is important to remember that we are all still human. In Chapter 8 of All Quiet on the Western Front, the main character Paul explores ideas of humanity when he witnesses Russian prisoners of war starving. Paul can relate to the soldiers, being a soldier himself, and thinks they look a lot like German peasants and describes them as looking “kindly” and having “honest” faces. At night, Paul is guarding the Russians by the wire fence that separates the training camp from the prison camp and is thinking to himself:     

     “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends. At some table, a document is signed by some persons whom none of us knows, and then for years together that very crime on which formerly the world’s condemnation and severest penalty fall, becomes our highest aim. But who can draw such a distinction when he looks at these quiet men with their childlike faces and apostles’ beards. Any non-commissioned officer is more of an enemy to a recruit, any schoolmaster to a pupil than they are to us. And yet we would shoot at them again and they at us if they were free.”


As Paul begins to examine the Russian prisoners at the camp, he sees that they look a lot like the peasants from his own country: “They have faces that make one think—honest peasant faces, broad foreheads, broad noses, broad mouths, broad hands, and thick hair.” When Paul first arrives at the camp, he can’t tell if he’s feeling sympathy or empathy. Sympathy towards the soldiers and their predicament, or empathy towards the soldiers because he too, is a soldier. After Paul witnesses the abominable condition and dilemma of the prisoners, he realizes that he and the men in front of him are pretty alike (empathy). They are both soldiers, fighting in a war they don’t truly believe in, both soldiers who don’t know why they’re fighting, and both soldiers that don’t want to be fighting. A little while after getting to the camp, Paul is observing the Russian prisoners of war. He feels appalled at the amount of suffering they are able to show:“If only they would not look at one so—What great misery can be in two such small spots, no bigger than a man’s thumb—in their eyes!” With Paul realizing the cruelty and inhumanity of the prison camp, he becomes aware of the fact that he doesn’t feel anything anymore. Paul believes he is unable to feel sympathy and can’t “perceive” the Russian prisoners. As Chapter 8 goes on, Paul becomes more and more detached from his family and himself. Paul is like a snowball rolling down a hill; even if he might want to stop, he can’t. His detachment can only grow. The chapter ends with Paul giving the Russian soldiers 2 of his mother's cakes; us as readers are left to wonder how Paul will move forward; will he move forward?


Chapter 6 & 7: The Physical and Mental Horrors of War

 

The Struggle of a Soldier

 

The emotional and physical cost of war

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“Only the dead of seen the end of war”

— George Santayana, 1922


W
ar extirpates the soul just as much as the body. The book All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque depicts in detail, the physical devastation and emotional havoc of war. Chapter 6 illustrates through action-filled scenes of bloodshed, the utmost extent of physical desolation in trench warfare; however, Chapter 7 epitomizes the pandemonium inside Paul Baumer (the main character of the book) as he tries to understand his emotional turbulence. In Chapter 6 at around noon, Paul and the second company are being bombarded and attacked by the French in the trenches. Under heavy fire, the men of the second company are experiencing first hand that at war, it is either kill or be killed:

 

We have become wild beasts. … for the first time in three days we can see his face, now for the first time in three days we can oppose him; we feel a mad anger. No longer do we lie helpless, waiting on the scaffold, we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves, to save ourselves and to be revenged. [Chapter Six]

 

Chapter 6 is chalk full of action packed scenes of battle and bloodshed, however; Chapter 7 focuses more on rest as Paul goes on leave. In Chapter 7, Paul believes that he should never have come on leave and is having trouble fitting back into society because of his PTSD: 

 

I ought never to have come here. Out there I was indifferent and often hopeless; I will never be able to be so again. I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, for my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end. [Chapter Seven]

 

While the battle scenes of Chapter 6 are appalling and abominable, Paul’s emotional battles of Chapter 7 are almost more appalling. Chapter 6 has Paul fighting tooth and nail, saving comrades, and fighting for survival; however, in Chapter 7, Paul’s spirit has already been shot down; all that is left is war. He cannot reconnect with his family or his previous life. The time for that has passed. Chapter 7 ends with Paul thinking that he never should have come on leave, leaving us left to ponder how and why he will continue.


Argumentative Essay

Assisted Suicide

Your choice

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“I am forced to suffer with this disease without a choice, a disease which inherently limits my opportunities for choice. I would like, if I am suffering intolerably, to be able to make a final choice about how much suffering I have to endure.”

~ Julia Lamb

     Everybody has a right to their health. Everyone should have the final say over their wellbeing. Assisted suicide provides a chance to die in a more civil manner, surronded by loved ones (if there is any) and maintains a level of respect. Why should other people get to decide what happens to you?

 

     One of the most common arguments against assisted suicide is that it devalues human life - that it is better to be dead than disabled. The people that argue this also say that disabled people “vehemently” disagree with this notion. If we legalized euthanasia, would we be supporting this notion? Would this convince the disabled that they are burdens on society? No they would not. Not wanting to live and being a burden on society are two very different things. Legalizing assisted suicide lets those who wish to pass on for personal reasons do so in a more peaceful and controlled manner. People who wish to pass on because they believe that they aren’t themselves anymore and those who think they are burdens on society are very different people. Euthanasia is a way out for those who have changed their opinion on life, and what it means to truly be living it, and has nothing to do with “being a burden” on society.

 

     Most people that argue against assisted suicide say things like “assisted suicide is murder”. While euthanasia is (in a way) murder, it can also relieve people of a personal hell. For example, a man named Mathew Donnely had skin cancer. He had lost his nose, his left hand, two fingers on his right hand, and part of his jaw. He was blind and his body was slowly deteriorating. Through excruciating pain, he expressed that he wanted to be “put out of his misery”. His cries for help went unanswered, until his brother Harold, “unable to ignore his brother's pleas for help”, shot him in the head. Harold was tried for murder. Do you believe Harold in the wrong? This is one of many cases of assisted suicide, although this one wasn’t carried out by a phycian. For many people, assisted suicide is a way out of a personal hell, a way out of a life maybe not worth living, a way to maintain some level of respect. If, like Mathew, you lose many parts of yourself and you wish to pass on, you should be able to in a controlled and respectful manner.

 

     Many people will argue that we as a society have a right to preserve life, and to those folk, I implore you to take a second look. I agree that preserving life is important, but what happens if you undergo some type of drastic change? For example, imagine you develop some cancer, some illness, some disability; and for whatever reason, you are not quite the person you used to be. Maybe you look different, have lost limbs, or are disfigured in some way. I know for me, if I ever had kids or grandkids, I wouldn’t want them to see me in such a way. Most people would wish to maintain a level of respect and leave behind a memory of a stronger, healthier version of themselves, rather than a memory of an old, diseased self. Many fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, and friends who undergo cancer don’t wish to be seen that way by their loved ones. If you don’t feel that you are yourself anymore, you should have an option to let go.

 

     Assisted suicide should be ones choice, and not decided by others. If you wish to kill yourself, you should have an option to do so in a controlled manner.

 

Sources:

 

 


Sports Article

Fenn vs. Applewild

 

    If you play sports, you know how out of hand a sports game can get. A bad referee, unskilled scoreboard operators, and an extremely violent team can all contribute to some terrible gameplay. For Fenn’s very own 3rds gold basketball team, they experienced this just a few days ago. 

    I was lucky enough to be attending the game, and I can say that I witnessed some of the most unprofessional basketball ever played. 

    The game started like any other, but that was soon to change. As Ethan Ali, the starting power forward came down with a rebound, he was met with aggression and was even called a racial slur by number 4 of Applewild’s basketball team. To this, the ref turned a blind eye. Little did our team know, this was only the beginning.

    The second major incident of the night came when after the ball was dead (the play was over), and number 14 on Applewild threw the ball at Ethan Ali’s head. The player wasn’t discreet about it at all, but when we turned to the ref to hand out punishment, he stated that he saw nothing. We then looked to the other team’s coach for discipline, but he also stated that he didn’t see anything either. How convenient.

    Throughout the whole game, 3rds gold was being physically and mentally abused, but only went to the line once (shot free throws). The other team went to the line 5 or 6 times. The constant abuse after the whistle (after the play was over) left our players furious, and yet we couldn’t do anything due to the referee’s inability to make fair calls.

    The third and fourth major incidents were both verbal insults, and there were zero calls on either of them. The same player said both the insults, and he was also the one who called Ali a racial slur. When he remarked to Sam Johnson, the starting shooting guard that he was short and bad at basketball, no punishment was dished out. When he remarked to Horace Pott, star point guard that he was “a little boy” no discipline was given. 

 

  When Coach Pidilla of 3rds gold attempted to stand up for his team, he was given a technical (a type of foul) by the referee and told to “shut up”. He did his best in assisting the team through the traumatic experience, but his hands were tied. 

    Every once in a while when 3rds gold would score points, the points would go to Applewild. This was happening throughout the game, but perhaps a bigger mistake of the scoreboard operators was when 3rds gold was down by 2, had 20 seconds left, and had the ball on Applewild’s side, they didn’t stop the clock. When they were notified, they stopped it with four seconds left. We attempted to tell them that there were 20 seconds left, but when one of the Applewild players told them there was actually 10 seconds left, they believed the Applewild player. 

    With only 10 seconds to go, we were forced to shoot a risky 3 pointer, and when that missed, Applewild cheered like they had won the world championship. On our way out, Applewild’s head coach patronized our team, telling us “we played great”, “please, come back soon”, and things like “you were so close”. I have to say that we were all bewildered by the man’s child-like behavior. 

    In the end, we ended up losing, but in our hearts, we knew that we really won that fight.


W.W. Fenn

 
 
“The Cremation of Sam McGee”
 
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
 
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."
 
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
 
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."
 
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."
 
A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
 
There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."
 
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.
 
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
 
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."
 
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
 
Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
 
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.
 
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."
 
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
 
 
    
An Exploration of Human Nature
 
 
 
    
    Greed can drive people to do terrible things. In “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, McGee’s lust for gold leads to his death. McGee’s desire for gold led him to ignore the signs that he was freezing to death and to keep trucking. If McGee had listened to his body, he would’ve lived. In the Yukon in 1907, Sam McGee and his friend make their way across the Dawson trail in search of gold. When McGee dies, his last request (to be cremated) is carried out by his friend. Many quotes could show how McGee lusted for gold, but one that I think says it best is:

"He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell.”

[The Cremation of Sam McGee]

    Another quote that illustrates this is:

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun

      By the men who moil for gold;”

    This quote also shows how greedy people will do the unthinkable for something valuable (in this case gold). The theme of greed is prevalent and important because each of the quotes show how people (or Sam McGee) will go against their better judgment for a little gold. McGee could tell that death was knocking at the door (proved in this quote: “He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess; and if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."”) and still decided to keep going. If he had just taken it easy for a day or two to warm up, he would’ve lived, but he wanted gold. His greed drove him to his death, for he would’ve lived if he retained some common sense. Greed made him do things that led to his death. How would you have handled this situation?

    When searching for poems, something about "The Cremation of Sam McGee" clicked. I enjoyed the way the writer worded the poem and I also really liked the rhythm and the rhymes. Out of all of the authors I looked at, I liked Robert Service the best because I felt that his style of poem suited me. I do wish it was a tad shorter (800 words is a lot) but I will do my best to present a well put together video and reciting. 


Literary Reflection

Literary Reflection

By Max Burgess

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    In life, nothing worth doing comes without its own challenges and difficulties. The Call of the Wild by Jack London challenged me to read in a new way, think in a new way, and explore literature in a new way in this brief, yet compelling story. With a new, challenging vocabulary and a complex plot, The Call of the Wild forced me to read in a more active and engaged way than I had ever before. Previously for me, I pretty much turned my brain off when I read, only paying enough attention to get a limited understanding of what was happening. This short novela made me meticulously comb through every sentence, every word, every phrase, lest I misunderstand the plot.

     When I started reading The Call of the Wild, I thought of it as just another book I needed to read. A difficult assignment to be sure, but one that was necessary in my growth as a writer. Before this assignment, I never had to highlight new vocabulary words, let alone search for enduring themes and add annotations. It made me take a step back and reassess the way I read a book. Instead of reading for pleasure, I was forced to set aside time in my day, and for the first time, I was reading on a schedule rather than picking up a book when I felt like it. After the first few chapters, I began to think of it as “studying” not as reading. In the end I put in the effort; and it was worth it.

    When searching the book for themes, I have to say I was surprised to find them woven throughout the whole story. I learned something from Buck that I  never thought a book could teach me; that there is a primordial beast in all of us. That beast represents our true calling in life; and maybe we don’t need to go to such extremities to find it. I know that for me, I’ve had to adapt to the responsibilities of becoming a young adult. I used to be sled-dog Buck, without my true purpose before I started preparing for highschool. Right now, I am the barbaric owner Buck, facing challengings Buck. But while he faced cruel owners and starvation, I am facing the challenge of an overwhelming amount of work. An overwhelming amount of pressure. And I know I won’t be free for a while. But I will eventually become wolf-buck, running free, having found my true purpose. It may take years, but I believe most people eventually get there. I know I took something away from the book, and I can’t say I wasn’t tremendously surprised when I realized I learned something from a fictional dog that would’ve taken me years to understand: If you don’t adapt, don’t change, don’t overcome; you will be left behind.

    Throughout the strenuous and tedious job of reading this small novella, I didn’t think that I would have this outcome, an outcome where I felt truly satisfied for my efforts. The best advice I can give is this: in life, if you accept the challenge, don’t back down, and try your hardest, it will be worth it in the end.

 


The Power of a Place

 The place that saves me year round 

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Let the waves carry you where the light cannot.

~Mohit Kaushik

    When you're feeling stressed, worried, or anxious, everyone has a place that calms them down. It is in the long, winding, creeks of Cape Cod that I find myself drawn to the primal force that is nature. After a long school year filled with stress and anxiety, my salvation lies in the rivulets of Cape Cod. It is there in the infinite peace and tranquility that I search for crabs, eels, and maybe a striper or two.

    The exasperation melts away like a snowflake on a window as I wait for my prey beside the riverbed. When it’s just myself, I can truly focus and concentrate on the rippling water. As the piercing noon sun beat down on my back, I could only hope that I could forget my problems for the time being. As I held my net, the thrill of the hunt rushed through me. I almost gasped in shock as one of the biggest crabs I had ever seen walked right by my feet. To be more specific, it was a blue crab, and blue crabs can vanish in the blink of an eye if you don’t time your swipe perfectly. If I had made my move then, I surely would’ve missed. But after over ten  years of catching this crab’s brethren, I had enough experience to catch this monster. “Splash” I made my move, and an overwhelming sense of joy coursed through me as I peered into my net. I caught it!

    It didn’t matter that in a few weeks, my problems would resume again. It didn’t matter that I was only there once a year, and it didn’t matter that I would be leaving in a few days. It only mattered that I had distracted myself from my stress and anxiety long enough to have some fun.

    When it comes down to it, I will forever treasure that beach and hope that everyone finds a place where they can be happy.