An Analysis Of Erich Remarque 's All Quiet On The Western Front

1185 Words Feb 29th, 2016 5 Pages
Death by Instincts: An Examination of Soldiers Turning Towards their Animal Halves
Out in the wild animals rely on their instincts to survive, either escaping from a predator or fighting for their lives. In WWI, humans often turned over their consciousness to these animal instincts to keep alive and win their fight. While this exchange seemed to keep them alive, it actually killed the soldiers internally. These soldiers’ mental undoing were documented after WWI in All Quiet on the Western Front, which narratives the lives of Paul Bäumer and his classmates fighting in the war. Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front shows that animal instincts are not as valuable as human consciousness in the battle to survive due to the mental destruction it inflicts on the soldiers by making them treat the enemy as inhuman, taking away their own humanity, and failing to protect them from random chance.
Paul and his friends turn to their animal instincts on the front, causing them to mindlessly kill, only to be haunted by their actions after regaining their consciousness. When the enemy starts attacking, and the Germans take heavy hits, Paul notes that the soldiers dehumanize their enemies and savagely attack whoever they see: “We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs… if your own father came over with them you would not hesitate to fling a bomb at him” (113 -114). The soldiers become so…

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