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.