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The Horrors of War
War will cast a dark shadow over any man; but is it a surprise? In the novel All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, the dreadfulness of war has all been conceived and there is nothing but pure agony in the head of all soldiers. Every common soldier will see countless horrors in his time on duty. It’s not about the horrors of war, it’s about how they respond to them. For some, the worst part of being a soldier is life outside of war. Some feel that outside of war is merely pointless. In Chapter Six of All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul is reflecting on how his previous trenches, where all prior to now seemed to be peaceful; yet, were blown to smithereens and dug up.
It is just as much a matter of chance that I am still alive as that I might have been hit. In a bombproof dug-out I may be smashed to atoms and in the open may survive ten hours' bombardment unscathed. No soldier outlives a thousand chances. But every soldier believes in Chance and trusts his luck.
Paul feels that chance is the reason he is still alive. That his fate is in the hands of another, sheer chance. Perhaps in a soldier's mind, coming into the war, a common misconception may be that they feel as though they control their fate: when in actuality, it is just luck. “The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully whatever may happen.” The uncertainty of not having control of your fate may be the most daunting horror that any soldier will face. The most unyielding part of war is the fact that it’s never in your hands.
In war, you don’t fight for yourself, you fight for your family, your country, but most importantly, the men who stand and lay alongside you. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, comradeship plays a major role as Paul and his company have nothing but their comrades to rely on. Comradeship is vital for anything, in particular, war. Wars are not fought alone, rather fought with the brothers beside you. In Chapter 8, After a bombardment, Paul hears his closest comrades talking in the distance and instantly becomes calmed. Paul realizes how much he really needs them in times of distress:
I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness;—I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life, we are nearer than lovers, in a simpler, a harder way; I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these words that have saved me and will stand by me.
Paul reflects on how he and his comrades are so conjoint and that they have been through the thick of it hand in hand. Paul feels like he owes something greater than life to his comrades. War has brought Paul and his company so close together, his comrades' voices are more than motherliness to him. The war has decayed Paul so much, that his comrades are really all that matter to him, their voices are more to me than life. War forces opposites to hate, and equivalents to love.
Trail of Beauty
“What is that? It blinds me.”
“Jay, come hither.”
“What, what is it?”
“Just come here!” “Glance just above the summit”
“Okay” “I cannot see it, is it off on the horizon?”
“Aye, just past the old worn down chapel.”
“Say, Arthur, shall we alter our route northbound towards it?”
“Undoubtedly, but do you know what lies ahead?”
“Nay, unfortunately, I do not. May you enlighten me?”
“Ah Jay, for the road that lies ahead, no man has ever dared to cross.”
“Well, if life is a game, you might as well play it, what do you say Arthur?”
“Granted, it may be dangerous, but at least we have each other. Let’s ride.”
“I’ll be right behind you Arthur.”
Hey, it’s your old friend Paul Baumer. As you probably know, I am fighting in the war right now. I have changed so much that I barely recognize myself anymore. I have seen the horrors of war and what it can do to people, I have seen massacres, explosions, and many killings. Seeing all of those things has made me a different man. You know what Zach, I am going to tell you like it is, I am scared, really scared, my comrades have died right before my eyes, I am severely hungry, and I want to go home, but I can’t, without the war, it feels like something is missing inside of me.
“The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.”
The enemy is human too. In Chapter Eight of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul gets to see the enemy Russian troops incarcerated in a nearby POW camp. He comes to the conclusion that these enemy troops are not as bad as they were thought out to be, for after all, they are human. When Paul identified the Russians troops in confinement, he says: “They look just as kindly as our own peasants in Friesland.” Paul realizes the other side is just like him and his comrades, but “How little we understand one another.” Just because the Russians are the enemy, even though they are human too. Paul realizes after the carnage and destruction that his company has inflicted upon the Russian soldiers, the sole way he may be able to live with himself after all is said and done, is to give the Russians an act of kindness, in the form of a cigarette:
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. I take out my cigarettes, break each one in half and give them to the Russians.
Paul has noticed many compelling things about the Russians in his days at the camp on the moors. When Paul is describing the Russians, he notes: “It is strange to see these enemies of ours so close up. They have faces that make one think — honest peasant faces,” Throughout the story Paul feels as though the Russians are this unspeakable enemy, that they simply cannot be in relation with; however, he is quick to realize that these Russian troops are quite similar to him. Once Paul sees humanity in these troops, he feels as though he needs to do a good deed to make him feel less remorse for all the havoc that his company has wreaked. Oftentimes Paul watches over the Russians at night. Even though Paul can only catch a glance at their shadow, he is still able to grasp the fact that they are still human, and if his role were reversed, they could have even been his comrades. “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends.” Paul realizes if he was not enlisted as a soldier for Germany, he could have even befriended the Russians. Paul also comes to a more broad conclusion, if the one command which split these two sides apart was never put to action, the Russians would have never been the horrendous enemy they were thought to be. In war times, things can get rather frantic; however, humanity will always prevail.
“Wars don’t bring lasting peace, only lasting death.”
War is fought internally and externally. In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul must deal with what war does to someone emotionally and physically. Chapter 6 shows the horrors of modern war and the true amount of physical bloodshed; nevertheless, Chapter 7 illustrates the aftermath of war and what it can really do to someone. In Chapter 6, Paul and his company are chasing the French down through the battlefield, they keep pushing forward, and Paul and his company advance even more through the trenches when Paul trips and falls on a limb:
The next throw whizzes obliquely over the corner and clears a passage; as we run past we toss handfuls down into the dug-outs, the earth shudders, it crashes, smokes and groans, we stumble over slippery lumps of flesh, over yielding bodies; I fall into an open belly on which lies a clean, new officers cap.
Chapter 6 is filled with gruesome scenes and many fights; however, Chapter 7 is a reflective period when Paul returns home and tries to relax. In Chapter 7, when Paul goes home, he realizes the traumatic experiences on the front have had major effects on his mind. He feels a distance between his family and himself because of the traumatic scenes he has witnessed:
I breathe deeply and say over to myself:—“you are at home, you are at home.” But a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there my case of butterflies, and there the mahogany piano—but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us.
In Chapter 6, Paul at least had something to do and keep his mind off of what was actually happening, but in Chapter 7, Paul had all the time in the world to mourn and reflect on what had happened on the front. In Chapter 6, Paul is suffering from the war physically, and in Chapter 7, Paul is suffering from the war mentally. Paul is faced with daunting challenges in both Chapters 6 and 7, but now we are left to see what he does when he faces the biggest challenge of all: going back to the front.
The Workplace Battle
People always have such a hard time believing that robots could do bad things.
It is 2055, all there is to be seen are robot workers. They fill the streets, and there are no humans to be found outside. That’s because in 2022 we introduced the use of robot workers. Now, humans don’t get up from their virtual world, and the human race has virtually died off. This was virtually impossible to avoid after switching to robots in the workforce. But, it is not 2055, it is 2022 and we have a choice of whether we doom man-kind forever, or we realize how lazy humans would get if we stopped working, and realize that the human brain is superior to the robot brain, and realize that these robots would only benefit big companies.
The Road Not Taken
By: Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Zipoli Haiku Portfolio
“Haiku is not a shriek, a howl, a sigh, or a yawn; rather, it is the deep breath of life.”
Great Books, Great Experiences
A great experience alone can overcome the nuisances it may come with. The Call of the Wild by Jack London opened a new experience of reading for me. It made me think critically about what I was reading, but the writing was so beautiful that I could get past the intense level of vocabulary easily. Reading The Call of the Wild opened a new gate into more advanced literature for me. The book challenged me to think clearly about every little detail written. Because I was thinking about every little detail of the book, it gave me a better experience reading, and I was ultimately always invested in the story and knew what was happening at all times. Before I read each chapter, I studied the vocabulary on vocabulary.com which helped me learn a tremendous amount of new vocabulary and added to the further understanding of the book.
Getting Lost In An Athletic Activity
“Getting Lost is not a Waste of Time.”
Sports are a way to get away from the troubles of life and have fun. Whenever times are tough in my life, I try to step away and go play sports. Stepping away from the hardships of life for a day or two is something everyone should do once in a while. When I choose to step away, I like to play sports to get my mind off of things. It is so easy to get lost in a sport, and that is the bliss of it.