All Quiet On The Western Front : Typed Revision In times of war and destruction, it is difficult to keep a clear conscience. It is hard to remember the things you should do and the things you should not do. There are many ways differentiate a hero from a villain. Erich Maria Remaque’s novel, All Quiet On The Western Front how the war can bring the best and worse out of people. Some are seen as heroes, and others are seen as villains. When thinking of war, we think of heros that serve our country and win. We think that everyone fighting for the honor of their country is a hero. But not every soldier is a hero. Paul Baumer is one of the heros in this novel. During the war, many new boys get recruited to join the war. They are young and do not know what is ahead of them. Paul treats the new soldiers with respect because he was once new like them. He shows leadership when after surviving the bombardment by the British, he tries to comfort a new soldier. “Had his pants full after the first bombardment” (Remarque, 60). Rather than making fun of the soldier for having an accident, he make sure that no one else knows what happened so he does not get embarrassed by other comrades. This shows a sense of brotherhood because he is looking out for someone that is newer than he is. He gives his comrade advice. Another heroic act shown by Paul was when he sacrificed his life to go into No Mans Land to try to spy and retain information about what was happening but instead of successfully getting information, a bombardment erupts and he has to stay where he is or else he would die. When he is in a shell hole, an enemy soldier from the other side jumps in. Pauls first instinct was to kill him with his blade, and after stabbing the enemy multiple time he realizes that he is dying. Paul stays and tries to take care of the fallen soldier until he is dead. “Forgive me comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death , and the same dying and the same agony – Forgive me , comrade; how could you be my enemy?If we threw away these rifles and this uniform you could be my brother just like Kat and Albert. Take twenty years of my life, comrade, and stand up – take more, for I do not know what I can attempt to do with it now” (Remarque, 223). This text shows that Paul realizes that the man that lies before him is no different than himself. Paul feels guilt and regrets what he has done. He is a hero because in war, the enemy is not someone to get along with, yet despite of everything happening around him, Paul sees this man as someone that is not an enemy but a companion. A hero is not just a soldier, a hero is someone that looks out for someone whether it is the good of the bad. The villains of All Quiet On The Western Front are the people that are supposed to look out for the soldier. They are the doctors that treat patients when they are wounded and they are teachers that are supposed to being knowledge and lead us to the right direction. Kantorek is a school teacher that taught Paul and his other classmates. He convinced the boys to join the war through a propaganda saying that they should fight for their German country and make it proud. He symbolizes a deeper meaning to the war through blind nationalism. He is so proud of his country and got the boys to volunteer for the war but he did not volunteer himself. With the young boys joining the war, Kantorek refers to them as the iron youth. He means this because the iron youth is what strong men in Germany should be. Kantorek is a villain because he mislead Paul and many others into the war. Another villain in the novel are the doctors and nurses. There was no 21st generation medicine to help with fevers and wounds. When a soldier is wounded he puts his life in the doctor’s hands to be fixed and mended. When Paul and Kropp are in a Catholic hospital, they got operated on. “I am operated on and vomit for two days. My bones will not grow together, so the surgeons’ secretary says. Another fellow’s have grown crooked; his are broken again. It is damnable” (Remarque 259). This quote shows that rather than getting better, Pauls bones are worse than they were when he first came in, and he had started to vomit. When Paul and Albert are in the hospital, they meet a man with a shooting license names Josef. He tells them what the doctors actually do. “As soon as he is gone, Josef, who knows everything, warns them: ‘Don’t you let him operate on you! That is a special scientific stunt of the old boy’s. He goes absolutely crazy whenever he can get hold of anyone to do it on. He operates on you for flat feet, and there’s no mistake, you don’t have them anymore’” (Remarque 259). This shows that the doctors of the war see operation as an experiment to test new things and the soldiers are the guinea pigs. The soldiers go the the hospitals to get treated for their wounds not to get their feets fixed. Many doctors of this time period make soldiers lives harder and not better. They make problems worse. When Kropp had his leg wounded, he claimed that he would gather shoot himself than go living his life as a cripple. After he got his leg amputated, he grows into a depressed state. He is not the same person he once was because apart of him is missing and the one thing he did not want to happened happened. We can only imagine this happening to other soldiers and imagine how many lives were lost due to the mistreatment of soldiers. In the novel it is quite simple to depict the heroes from the villains. It is easy to compare Paul to Kantorek or Paul to all the other doctors. A hero helps everyone around them regardless of who it is. When Paul was helping the enemy soldier, he knew he was the enemy yet he still helped him. The doctors are not heroes because although a doctors job is to fix someone, they usually make matters worse. In the novel, everyone is dying around him. He comes back from leave and he hopes that all his friends are still there and luckily they are. Paul manages to try to stay positive. Rather than fighting for his country, he is fighting for his mother, Kemmerich, and all the people that have died . This shows true heroism because he now dedicating his fight for them. It is a motivation for him to keep going until the end of the war. Kantorek is not a hero because he hyped up everyone for the war to serve for the country. He spoke as though the boys should feel guilt if they did not fight for their country. In my opinion, a hero would fight for their country because they do not want to see their countries fall out of place if the enemies had one. I would not want to see businesses destroyed or homes broken down because another land is taking over. A hero looks at the bigger picture, rather than what is just in front of them .
Table of Contents