The Horrors Of War
“The trench was a horrible sight. The dead were stretched out on one side, one on top of each other six feet high. I thought at the time I should never get the peculiar disgusting smell of the vapour of warm human blood heated by the sun out of my nostrils. I would rather have smelt gas a hundred times. I can never describe that faint sickening, horrible smell which several times nearly knocked me up altogether.” - British Captain Leeham
Fear is fleeting, horror is internal. As I turned the pages of Chapter Six, I was fearful of what would happen next, but I would never expect the horror that came. Every page of Chapter Six of All Quite on the Western Front, brought me a new awareness of the horrors of war, and vivid, often frightening passages that showed those horrors in gruesome detail. When I began to read Chapter Six, I began to experience the most descriptive, although horrendous, writing. The writing flowed throughout my head, setting off my emotions. Reading the book in class with audio was a helpful exercise which I liked and plan to use again in the future to further my learning. Having the audio play while I read was unnatural at first, but after the first pages I was able to get into the flow; it was different but also beneficial. This process led to a productive reading and annotation of themes while still exploring new ones. This process furthered my understanding of all themes and also allowed me to uncover horror and its undeniable role in the chapter. I researched themes while reading, and no theme has been more obvious than “Horror” in Chapter Six. The theme of horror was woven throughout the writing and shaped my experience reading. Horror in the chapter influenced the emotions I felt as a reader, The horrors of their injuries and the young troops in melancholy, having forgotten all of their training in the excitement, disgusted me. Horror affected my emotions, my empathy was immense towards the soldiers, especially the young ones who quickly learned the front isn’t a parade ground, that it’s what some consider h*ll and the only thing they will march to is a horrible death. The front is a beastly horror. I quickly learned this and the lesson that in your worst times you may uncover the best of you or the worst. Fear is sometimes a dying man’s last thoughts on the Western front, or the horror of the face in the trenches. It dies with all of them all in memories haunting their crippled bodies.