Spring is a time for laughing
Spring is a season of happiness
Spring marks the end of a long, dark, and bleak winter
Spring is warm
Spring is my favorite season
By: Elliot Johnson, Edoardo Takacs, and Ben Lisa
Empathy Brings People Together
Empathy begins with understanding life from another person's perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It's all through our own individual prisms.
– Sterling K. Brown
Only with Empathy will we be able to understand each other, and it was in the book, All Quiet On The Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, where Paul began to feel a sense of empathy towards the soldiers of an opposing country. Paul has been fighting on the front for months now, but he has never met an opposing POW face to face. He has never looked at their face to try and feel his opponent. He realizes he’s not fighting animals, but real human beings “It is strange to see these enemies of ours so close up. They have faces that make one think—honest peasant faces, broad foreheads, broad noses, broad mouths, broad hands, and thick hair.” It was only then when Paul began to feel different about his enemies in general. Not faceless monsters, but real and vivid people. Paul was sent to a training camp after his leave. This camp, was next to a POW camp for Russians. When Paul is set on guard duty, he sees the sad and pitiless men, who stand on the other side of the barbed wire fence. After a while, he begins to feel empathy towards them, since many of them die, “Almost every day one of them dies. I am on guard during the burial. The prisoners saying a chorale, they sing in parts, and it sounds almost as if there were no voices, but an organ far away on the moor.” He decides to make them feel better by giving them something:
I take out my cigarettes, break each one in half and give them to the Russians. They bow to me and then light the cigarettes. Now red points glow in every face. They comfort me; it looks as though there were little windows in dark village cottages saying that behind them are rooms full of peace. [Chapter 8]
Paul has seen so much in the time of the war. None of them have made feel about the enemy, except for sadness, confusion and hate. However, once he sees these men—who aren’t tameless beasts, but who are calm and subtle—he feels empathy, for he feels that are not so different from him. They all left their family behind to fight a war that was fueled by power and greed. Paul realizes that that they are human as is he, so like he treats like humans. With kindness and respect. In Paul’s short time at the camp, he developed a sense of kinship and empathy towards the Russian soldiers, for he realized that they’re human as well. Paul’s experience with the POWs will make it much harder to kill and enemy soldier. That is not a beast, but a human being, with feelings and emotions.
And What it Has Taught Me
Sometimes, our friends are the ones we can turn to for the most comfort. It was my friend I could turn to when seemingly no one else was there for me. When everything seemed so sad; when I was at a terrible and desolate low in my life; and when it felt as if no one was there for me, I found that my friend was one who I could confide in and receive tons of support from. Sad, frustrated, and confused, I had no one to turn but a friend. I had just experienced a massive loss in my life and was having much trouble coping with it. My friends was the one who helped me through the struggle and sadness, guided me when no one else could. I was terrified at the time as in my family it seemed nobody understood and could help but I trusted a friend and in the end, it was a great decision. In choosing my friend as a confidant, I was turning to the one person left, and they helped me get through the extremely emotional time. The one person I needed, the one person I got, my friend.
What I learned about reading and the horrors of war
A work of literature can be terrifying and leave you wondering how scary a book can really get. Chapter 6 in All Quiet on the Western Front really showed me how petrifying a book can be if the author can describe gore in such fantastic but terrible detail. This chapter was very scary in the way the author described all the detail and gore. Every Adjective he used to tell the way all the chunks of flesh flying and people walking around with their heads off made me wonder how I could get so terrified by a book of all things. Making someone fear something that is just words on a page is a terrifically hard thing to do, but I think the author pulled it off really well with this chapter. This book is mainly about war, but this chapter focuses on describing the horrors of war. The chapter starts with them in a dugout being rained on by French artillery shells. When the bombardment finally ceases, the French begin an attack which is effectively snuffed out by the Germans. The scenes described in this chapter are so unbelievably gory and gruesome that you realize only someone who had suffered through these times could describe it in such terrific detail. A good example of this is, “I see one of them, his face upturned, fall into a wire cradle. His body collapses, his hands remain suspended as though he were praying. Then his body drops clean away and only his hands with the stumps of his arms, shot off, now hang in the wire.” Reading this chapter really gave me a new insight on the terrible hardships the soldiers had to go through and the amount of suffering they went through. This chapter also helped me determine that book can be so powerful and so horrifying by just suing some extra thought and detail. This chapter, aside from being written in a spectacular fashion, showed me many things, not only about myself but about how reading can affect my emotions. I really liked this chapter and am eager to continue reading this book.
A Prominent Theme
“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.” - Kalpana Chawla
The best quality for a soldier is durability. In the book, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, all soldiers—no matter there age—must find it in themselves and within each other to endure the hardships and tragedies of WWI and terrible trench warfare. Paul and his comrades have gone through a lot of pain, both mental and physical. Many of Paul’s comrades may be young, inexperienced in warfare and even in life in general. However, they must dig deep down and find the will to keep pushing through all the agony and torment they experience—once again both mentally and physically. Paul and his comrades are tasked to go to the front to lay down barbed wire, and they do expect to lose some men. After hours of hard labor on the front, they begin to walk towards the lorries(trucks) when all of a sudden the British begin their artillery barrage. Paul and comrades begin to search frantically for protection from the blasts and shrapnel, when suddenly, Paul comes in quite close proximity of a blast:
The earth bursts before us. It rains clods. I feel a smack. My sleeve is torn away by a splinter. I shut my fist. No pain. Still that does not reassure me: wounds don’t hurt till afterwards. I feel the arm all over. It is grazed but sound. Now a crack on the skull, I begin to lose consciousness. Like lightning the thought comes to me: Don’t faint! I sink down in the black broth and immediately come up to the top again. [All Quiet on the Western Front-Chapter IV]
Paul is almost knocked out by the blast of a bomb, and for a second he himself thought it was all over. However, he finds it in himself to persist, so as to avoid certain death. He shows great determination, a quality which any soldier must strive to embody if he or she wants to just stay alive. He knows that he still wants to return home, not the barracks, but home, we know this because he reflected on the fact that the older soliders/officers have wives, children and jobs, and Paul would like to return to Germany and create a life for himself. We know that Paul and his comrades will suffer through many times; however, if they want to live, they must persevere through these terrible times. Their only way of making it through the unspeakable events of the terrible war alive will be to find more grit and resilience in themselves and each other.
This chapter not only raised quite a few questions for me in some of the questionable behaviors between the different soldiers but it also clarified quite few in the themes that are continuing arise as the book develops. In coalition with the great struggles Paul and his team are going through on the front, they now have to deal with new recruits who are much less experience and almost soft. The team also learns that Himelstoss has been sent to the front and are exetremly happy with this news as Himelstoss terrorized them at camp although when looking back on it, there is a sense of thankfulness as Himelstoss prepared them only a little for the terrors that come from the trench fighting which are exponentially worse than the camp and the way in which the men were treated by Corporal Himelstoss. One question I had from this chapter as the characters reflect on Himelstoss’ abusements of power is that does war help to bring out the more primitive man who greatly abuses the power given to him and fuels a fire of hatred in those on who it is being abused? I also can see how the abuse of power can be detrimental to the success of a team if you have a team where coexistence between members is so incredibly important and you have hatred between two team members or more, that hatred could be the most contributing factor to the fall of said team.
I like to run and jump
And sit down on my rump
I like to sing and dance
And travel off to France
I like to have much fun
And play out in the sun
I like to play football
And hang out at the mall
I do not like homework
It does not make me smirk
I really like balloons
And gazing at the moon
I like to shoot some hoops
And kick it with my group
All these things are great
I’ll like them till I’m late
This poem, I felt, was somewhat easier than writing the dimeter poem. It was extremely fun like the last one and I actually am somewhat warming up to possibly writing more poetry in the future.
I Hate This Suff
Huge Waste Of Time
I’d Rather be locked up in cuffs
Or out enjoying the day it’s fine
Homework is tough
Can’t stand this crap
It has turned my brain to fluff
I have sudden bursts of anger I give the desk a rap
These poems are very hard to make, balancing the rhyme scheme with the Iambic beat. I learned a few tricks that I will continue to use only my next poem. These are; however, extremely fun to write.
My favorite sport
It’s fun to play
Each play is short
And when you score they yell hooray
Football is fun
It can’t be beat
You have to stop the pass or run
And hand your opponent defeat
I met a sort of mental block in writing this one, I didn’t really know what to write about. So I just wrote about the one activity I love most, football. It was much easier to write these hard poems about something I enjoy doing so much, this was a valuable lesson I will take with me in future writing.