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Cowriter: Charlie Hood
An exploration of Sacrifice & Dehumanization
"Unless one lives in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless"
~ Audre Lorde
Sacrifice, the ultimate test of a man, powers the emotional narrative of Chapter Eleven in All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque; This evidently shines through when Paul's company’s commander, Bertinck, shows the true meaning of a soldier's duty. What is a soldier duty without his commander when stared down through the barrel of the gun, all though “shells, gas clouds, and flotillas of tanks--shattering, corroding, death.” In abject fear, Bertinck's company is occupying a shell hole when bullets start to fly. As a commander Bertinck knew what he had to do to protect his company; even if it cost his life.
When he sees that we cannot hit them because under the sharp fire we have to think too much about keeping under cover, he takes a rifle, crawls out of the hole, and lying down propped on his elbows, he takes aim. He fires--the same moment a bullet smacks into him, they have got him.
When Bertinck stepped out of that hole; he sacrificed his mind; he sacrificed his body; but most of all he traded his life for the breath of his soldiers. He never retreat[ed], nor did he scatter. In a dire moment of need; in the face of calamity all that is needed is a brave soul. Sacrifice is a painting, its strokes paint a picture of selflessness.
Cowriter: Jake Fahey
Friendship Is The Only Thing Left
Nothing but the sea
“Shkshshks— ladies and gentlemen prepare for impact.”
“JJ… HELLO!! Anyone out there?!”
“Yeah Jack, I’m still here. Are you ok?”
“I’m a little roughed up around the edges but you already knew that. How about you? You can't really lose too many more brain cells.”
“All I see is dust. My ears are full of static. And hey, I have a couple more of those to lose before you’ll notice.”
“Yeah but I already have noticed. Anyways let's dive under the plane to see if anyone made it out as lucky as us”
“Yeah Jack I think the only thing we have left is ourselves”
“JJ buddy I think our best bet is to set up shop and live this island life while we wait for rescue.”
“Bro where are we going to sleep!? How are we going to eat!? How are we going to see our families again!? How are you going to Snapchat those three girls you met on Omegle last week!?”
Ok, Ok, OK! Stop, panicking is the last thing we need to be doing. What we should be doing is getting wood, sticks, leaves and lets make some shelter bozo”
“Alrighty lets go before I kill myself from worrying.”
“Just grab as much as you can and pile it up right here.”
“Fine, while you build the fire I’ll go hunt down some rabbit and if we’re lucky a bird.”
Ewww! I'm not eating that.”
“That’s the only food out here bozo. When the sun's up we can swim for some fish if that suits your taste.”
“If you want me to eat whatever you get it better be good”
“JJ, BUDDY WE GOT DINNER!!”
“What is it?”
“I got lucky, it's a bird of some kind so let's eat and live another day.”
My name is Paul Baumer. I am currently writing this while I am at the front lines of war. My fellow soldiers and I are fighting the French. All I have seen is misery and despair.
I decided to enlist in the army with a number of my friends because of the inspiration and pressure from my teacher Kantorek. When I went to boot camp I experienced the brutality of Corporal Himmelstoss. That initiation into the military left me with long lasting physical and mental scars. I doubted that this training would be useful.
I have been at the front for several months now. I was recently sent home for fourteen days to see my family. I have not seen or heard from them in months. After traveling for a day I came home to my mother dying and everything changed. I did not feel connected anymore. My father asked me for stories about the war. But I could not relive the horrors. So I made up lies. My mother wanted to know as well but I shielded the truth. My family is still in poverty and do not eat the best food. I used to read and play like a normal kid but now I just can not. I wish I could have stayed and helped to bring in money for my family. I decided to take off my uniform and wear civilian clothes. I felt “as though I had nothing on but a shirt and underpants [Chapter Seven].” It may seem weird but my uniform provides a layer of protection; it makes me feel safe. But when I wear it I am noticed for a man and not a child.
After I went home I had to return to a training camp before I could go back to the front. I have been “melancholy” ever since I saw the Russian prisoners when I was at the training camp. There were so many. I became disillusioned when I noticed how these prisoners were just like me, a child, who thought that fighting for my country was the best decision. But everyone does not realize the pain that it brings. No one understands that they do not want to kill us just like we do not want to kill them. They do not even know us.
This is a story of what war is really like. This happened just last week: I volunteered to appraise the strength of the French's position. Then a bomb lands on me. I was caught off guard. The next thing I knew I was sitting paralyzed in the dark. All I felt was the terror of being alone. After a while I finally heard German soldiers on patrol. I felt a sense of calmness that I was not alone. I thought about how I rely on my fellow soldiers. Soon later I realized that a bombardment was going to start. I was not with anyone; I was alone. I proceeded to lie down in a muddy-water-puddle on a shell whole and pretended to be dead. The French walked past me towards the German soldiers. The Germans fought back hard and made the French retreat. As they were retreating a man fell right next to me. Without thinking I grabbed him and started stabbing him. I then backed away and looked at my hands. They were covered in blood. I instantly felt “nauseated.” I sat near him watching his fear. I gave him some water from the puddle and bandaged his wounds. He was choking and gasping for a breath for what seemed like days; it was only a couple of hours. Hoping to dilute the reality of killing this man I started to talk to the body. I was sympathetic and expressed that I never wanted to kill him. He was the first person I killed with my hands. I went to find his belongings. I found his pocketbook. It was full of letters and portraits of a woman and a little girl. My heart fell. I am assuming that the little girl was his daughter. I took away a lifetime of memories for this child and man. I wrote his name and address down in my notebook. In the morning I left the man and went to find my friends. All I am thinking about is staying alive so I can tell the Duval family. Those are the thoughts that pulled me out of the shell and motivated me.
Remember that life will show things in a certain way but will actually be different when you find the truth.
Your friend, Paul
"The novel is like a melancholy form. It's about some kind of disillusionment with the way things are versus the idea of how they could be or how they used to be"
- Elif Batuman
Life gets put into perspective when you find the unclear. In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque portrays Paul's disillusionment. In Chapter Eight, Paul, the main character and narrator, “perceive[s]” how these Russian prisoners were being treated, resulting in the prisoners and him to be “melancholy” and disenchanted. In this chapter, Paul goes to a training camp right next to a German prison for Russian soldiers. He befriends the prisoners and realizes they are just like him: disillusioned and disenchanted.
I am frightened: I dare think this way no more. This way lies the abyss. It is not now the time but I will not lose these thoughts, I will keep them, shut them away until the war is ended. My heart beats fast: this is the aim, the great, the sole aim, that I have thought of in the trenches; that I have looked for as the only possibility of existence after this annihilation of all human feeling; this is a task that will make life afterward worthy of these hideous years [Chapter Eight]
Paul notices the Russian prisoner camp next to him. He notices how the prisoners are miserable and dirty and wishes they could go back to the farm. “They ought to be put to threshing, reaping, and apple picking. They look just as kindly as our own peasants in Friesland [Chapter Eight]." Paul is disillusioned by the conditions of the prisoners; he is disillusioned by everything he finds; in addition he is disillusioned how they are only children. Paul's “sole aim” is to help the prisoners. While they wish to be back at their farm with their stomachs full. Paul is still at the training camp observing the Russian prisoners. Everything he finds pains him more; his disillusionment. "It is distressing to watch their movements, to see them begging for something to eat. They are all rather feeble, for they only get enough nourishment to keep them from starving [Chapter Eight].” Paul is disillusioned that the prison doesn't provide enough food; he is disillusioned that the Russian prisoners have to plead for food on a daily basis to survive; in addition he is disillusioned about their lack of nourishment and physical exercise that has made them mentally and physically weak. Paul is watching “the days go by” as these “feeble” children are suffering. Paul realizes that they are just fighting like he is for some cause that doesn't seem important anymore. Disillusionment is a trap that Paul needs to escape from.
All Quiet On The Western Front
The effect of war on the soul and body
“He is a guy who is trying to have all his stuff together, keep his head straight, but is just sort of falling apart on the inside.”
War causes physical and emotional pain on the body. In the novel, All Quiet On The Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul, the main character and narrator, experiences physical and emotional trauma. In Chapter Six, Paul faces the most violent, physical, and debilitating part of trench warfare; meanwhile, Chapter Seven paints a picture of how Paul's soul has been dented by the war. In Chapter Six, Paul and his fellow soldiers are in a dugout far below the ground during the bombardment from the French. They are just sitting waiting for the fighting to stop. They are worried about the other soldiers and are trying to let time pass.
Night again. We are deadened by the strain--a deadly tension that scrapes along one's spine like a gapped knife. Our legs refuse to move, our hands tremble, our bodies are a thin skin stretched painfully over repressed madness, over an almost irresistible, bursting roar. We have neither flesh nor muscles any longer, we dare not look at one another for fear of some incalculable thing. [Chapter Six]
Single Sex Schools Are Better Than Co-Ed Schools
Its your education
- Nelson Mandela
Everyday boys and girls go into a huge school and supposedly learn. Are your children getting the full and equal education they should get? Some simply say “Boys will be boys and girls will be girls.” But who is getting the better education? The girls or the boys? Single sex schools are better because girls and boys learn differently; boys and girls distracts each other, and boys and girls are less afraid to stand to the podium to show leadership when separated.
“The Song Of Wandering Aengus”
By William Buttler Yeats
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
A place means more than you think
Favorite People, Favorite Places,
Favorite Memories of the past ...
These are the joys of a lifetime
Those are the things that last
~ Henry Van Dyke ~
It's time to reflect on the place that is constantly walking around in the back of our minds. For me, there's always this beach, my beach wandering in my mind. When times are tough and my mind is going a thousand miles a minute, I find myself walking along Big Island Pond Beach’s shores. Lingering on the muddy and wet beach calms my busy mind. This is my place and it always will be.
It's just me, all alone, on a long beach located in Derry, New Hampshire. I find my true self and forget about all of my worries. Every weekend I am up in NH doing the normal yard work and house cleanup. But after all the work is done, I finally have time to myself. The lake drains every winter, so waterfront house owners can fix their docks and will prevent the water from freezing, causing the dock to crack . It's really fun to watch the lake drain over the course of two weeks. The lake that is now a beach is very wet. As the days go by the sea-weed that is on the ground is now drying up and freezing.
This past weekend I was at my NH house. I spent a long time outside blowing, removing the leaves, and mowing the lawn. Now that all my chores are completed, I have the rest of the weekend to do anything I want. I decided to go on another walk down the beach. I grabbed my muddy boots and headed for the shore line stairs. I stepped on, eager to investigate the underworld of the lake that I don't see when I kayak, boat, jet ski, and paddle board. I remember the obnoxious but cool noise coming from the four wheelers. They were driving around on the beach and sometimes through the shallow water. I thought that it was interesting because I always wanted a four wheeler. I then proceeded to get farther and farther away from the noise. This was the perfect time for me to start thinking about my life. I just turned fourteen a week ago, so I reflected on how much I have overcome. I also thought about how tough this school year has been, especially with secondary schooling applications and essays. I got pretty far from my house, so I turned around. My hands were also starting to get very cold. (self reminder: bring winter gloves next weekend.) I felt calm and collected. When I got home I went right inside to the heater.
This beach, that I call “my spot” has a value in my life. I connect with the same Jacoby who was here last week. I figured out how to empty all of this stress and built up worrying. It started with my dad showing me this technique of how to relieve my stress in sixth grade. I find that it's the best way for me and will continue to take these walks.
I thought it was silly to go to my favorite spot, but I was then astonished at how well it helped me empty my heavy load.
Blood is thicker than water
A good sibling is a good friend. My sister, Jamie, has watched me grow up. Causing us to have an unbreakable connection between each other. Jamie has been so helpful with my stress in the hardest times and making a way through for me. About one and a half years ago I started studying for my bar mitzvah. Preparing for the Bar Mitzvah was very stressful for me because it took a lot of memorization. I was stressing out about messing up or not being prepared. I put a lot of pressure on myself to have everything be perfect. I think Jamie noticed my stress because one day she said “come to my room and we will talk about it.” I agreed and went to her room. She asked “why are you upset?” I replied “my Bar-Mitzvah is one week away and I can barely sing the right tune.” I knew she was doing her best to calm me down, but I'm a very stubborn child. We talked for a good thirty minutes. Afterwards, I felt relieved of my stress because we came up with a plan. The plan is: give one hour a day of studying. If I make a mistake, move on and you can do it again later. She said “I will help you achieve this plan , but you have to put in the work.” I agreed and a week later I was bar mitzvahed. I never realized how well expressing my emotions and issues to someone who really knows me felt. I could have gone to a therapist that didn’t know me but my sister who is blood related and she understands who I am as a person. My sister and I are blood related, but me and a friend are just connected like water. I get the power of both with Jamie.