Essay On Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In All Quiet On The Western Front

1284 Words 6 Pages
World War I, also known as the Great War, has transformed the lives of millions of people, leading to new innovations, and different forms of government. But along with new innovation, a lot of violence erupted, causing millions of lives to be lost. War is a transformative event for individuals because the deaths caused by war impacts people in a negative way, causing witnesses to have physical and/ or mental disorders, along with a feeling of helplessness and loss of faith in government. The novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is an example of the impact war can have on soldiers. It is about Paul Baumer, a soldier in the war, and the reader follows him through his tragic endeavors fighting in the war on the side of …show more content…
This is a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a mental illness that affects those who have witnessed a traumatic event. Soldiers, along with PTSD, can suffer from depression. For instance, 18.3 percent of soldiers that had returned from Afghanistan and Iraq experience PTSD and depression, so it isn’t hard to see that the soldiers who fought in the Great War experienced this mental disorder as well. (Invisible Wounds). The protagonist of All Quiet, Paul, becomes desensitized, and he realizes how he can no longer relate to anyone back at his home while he is on leave. He says, “I do not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world,” and “No one feels it with his whole essence.” (Document A). He feels an emotional detachment to his surroundings, and his inability to live life normally, his disassociation. His mental health was sacrificed for the good of the war, no doubt just like the rest of the soldiers. However, witnessing the terrible events of the war can be just as bad, like Mary Borden in her novel The Forbidden Zone, where she was a nurse working in a field hospital in France. An excerpt of the story shows her being desensitized to her surroundings, simply working and helping injured soldiers. She handles the injuries with no problems and even didn’t seem to care about a soldier who’s brain came off in a bandage. A few moments later she is called to a now blind man who …show more content…
This can be the result of indoctrination, a governmental system used to mold the minds of citizens so they believe what the government wants them to believe. This shows, in a way, racism between countries, like Germany against France. In All Quiet, Paul had killed a French soldier, and after, he realized that the French soldier was a person just like him. He says, “You were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response.” (Document B). His realization begins to scare him, and how the soldier he killed had a wife and family at home that he needed to provide for. The silence on the front takes away his distractions as he learns how terrible the war is. This realization is similar to what had happened in a movie called “The Wave”, where a teacher conditions his children into being disciplined and doing what he said. Two characters in the movie realize how wrong this is halfway through, how wrong it is to have their thoughts and ideas taken away from them for the better of the group. And that’s exactly what the war did to those fighting it, and even those who did not. It removed people’s own ideas and thoughts and replaced them with these robots, just pawns fighting in the war. Paul’s epiphany had been too much for him to handle, as he began to talk hastily to the

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