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Looking Through a Soldier's Eyes

Dialectical Journals
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All Quiet . . . Study Guide
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qUOte fRom All qUIeT oN tHE WEsTeRN FroNt
mEAniNG iN TeXt
uNIVerSaL ResPoNCe
1. "Strange to say. Behm was one of the first to fall. He got hit in the eye during an attack, and we left him lying for dead. We couldn't bring him with us, because we had to come back helter-skelter. In the afternoon suddenly we heard him call, and saw him crawling about in No Man's Land. He had only been knocked unconscious. Because he could not see, and was mad with pain, he failed to keep under cover, and so was shot down before anyone could go and fetch him in." Brutality of War (pg. 12)
3. "'Roughly speaking it is,' says Kat, and prepares for a long speech; 'but the root of the matter lies somewhere. For instance, if you train a dog to eat potatoes and then afterwards put a piece of meat in front of him, he'll snap at it, it's his nature. And if you give a man a little bit of authority he behaves just the same way, he snaps at it too. The things are precisely the same. In himself man is essentially a beast, only he bitters it over like a slice of bread with a little decorum . . . '" Animalism (pg. 43-44)
4. “Earth with thy folds, and hollows, and holes, into which a man may fling himself and crouch down. In the spasm of terror, under the hailing of annihilation, in the bellowing death of the explosions, O Earth, thou grantest us the great resisting surge of new-won life. Our being, almost utterly carried away by the fury of the storm, streams back through our hands from thee, and we, thy redeemed ones, bury ourselves in thee, and through the long minutes in a mute agony of hope bite into thee with our lips!" Words, Words, Words (pg 55-56)
7. "'Was it very bad out there, Paul?'  Mother, what should I answer to that! You would not understand, you could never realize it. And you shall never realize it. Was it bad, you ask. - You, Mother, - I shake my head and say: 'No, Mother, not so very. There are always a lot of us together so it isn't so bad.'" (161) The Young Solider's Alienation
8. “Some time ago there was an army theatre in these parts. Coloured posters of the performances are still sticking on a hoarding. With wide eyes Kropp and I stand in front of it. We can hardly credit that such things still exist. A girl in a light summer dress, with a red patent-leather belt about her hips! She is standing with one hand on a railing and with the other she holds a straw hat. She wears white stockings and white shoes, fine buckle shoes with high heels. Behind her smiles the blue sea with whit-horses, at the side is a bright bay. She is a lovely girl with a delicate nose, red lips, and slender legs, wonderfully clean and well cared for, she certainly baths twice a day and never has any dirt under her nails. At most perhaps a bit of sand from the beach.” (141) The Young Soldier’s Alienation
9.  “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.” Unity Among Soldiers (pg. 212)
10.  “Parting from my friend Albert Kropp was hard. But a man gets used to that sort of thing in the army.” Brutality of War (pg. 269)
1. This quote shows the harsh reality of war. Behm really didn't want to come to war and was ironically one of the first to be hit. Behm also didn't believe the Romanism lies he was told while in training. Behm is shot in the eye on the battle field and is left for dead. He was actually unconscious and wakes up. He calls out for help. In his blindness, he neglects to seek cover. The opposing side then kills him.
3. Kat compares humans in and out of war to animals. He tells that those who are given a chance at authority take it and that man is essentially a beast.
4. Paul is enfolded in his own thoughts of the front of the war; trying to keep alive; trying to make it safely back or to the other side; hoping you live to see tomorrow.
7.When talking to his mother, Paul realizes things will never be as they were before. He also understands that she will never understand what he is going through right now and will never understand as long as she lives (which he also knows is coming to a close).
8. This shows how the war has affected Paul and his comrades. He didn’t even get the chance to experience girls in this way.
9. Before Paul is reunited with his friends, he has been out wandering No Mans Land. He has been terrified that he might die and is over-joy to see his friends again. He realizes that’s where his home is and that is where he feels safe.
10. This is when Paul has to leave Kropp at the hospital with his leg amputated. It is very hard for him becuase he and Kropp have been such good friends all their lives and they have become even closer in the war.
1. I think this is sad to show the brutality of war. It is such a horrible, horrible thing that I cannot even imagine what it must be like on the front lines. It would be very hard to witness. And men have "Kill, Kill, Kill! Win, Win, Win!" drilled into their heads, whatever cost it might come at for them or the opposing side. That men don't care about the opposing side and will just leave a man for dead with out taking a second glance. And then to have the opposing side shoot a man with no specific intentions, it shows the inhumanity of war.
3. It is sad that man is compared to animals. For some men are; some are greedy, power-hungry, and horrible. However, human nature is inherently good. We have a conscious that nags at us when we do something wrong, especially something we know is wrong. And though some people do not like to admit it, we like to do good for others. I do know there are the exceptions like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. They spread havoc and mayhem where ever they went. There are the animals, those that kill out of the pleasure of power and all that comes with it.
4. Words, words, words can sometimes be horrible. In this case they show the harsh reality of war. Those boys and men are just trying to survive the day and unsure of each step they take, for each one could be their last. I would be very scared and unsure. I’m sure, at some point, your instinct just kicks in and takes over; leading you in all the right spots, saving you countless times. Paul talks of the Earth and how they cling and hold to it, for it is their protector. I’m sure I would be more than thankful each time I could find refuge from the ragging storm around me, wherever that maybe.
7. It would be hard to be in Paul’s shoes, knowing that this was one of the few times very few people could help you. I can not imagine how hard it would be for one to keep all of your emotions, thoughts, and images locked away as Paul tried to do. I kind of know how hard it is for no one to fully understand what you are going through. However, I think this would be much different, having a brain full of things you couldn’t express and that no one could ever possibly understand. Then I thought it was ironic how others outside the war thought they knew more than those inside the war when they are very far removed from such situations.
8. I could not imagine going to war and being alienated from the world as Paul and his friends were. You would be so incredibly lost when returning; not being updated with current events, slang, music, clothing, what people do for fun, and just what everyone likes. It would be like you were an alien from another planet not knowing what to do, how to act, what to say, or anything that used to seem normal to you. I would be very afraid and feel extremely alone. You would be so lost and feel like you completely don’t belong.
9. It is wonderful to have friends. With friends I am truly able to be myself and let go and have fun outside the world of school, work, and stress. My friends are like my sanctuary from the world, just as they are for Paul. I don’t have the everyday threat of my friends being taken away from me as Paul did, but I do understand the loss or void that is felt when a friend moves away and, in a sense, is lost. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my friends in a war. However, like Paul, I would hope it had been quick and painless.
10. I could not imagine having to leave so many dear friends behind, or in Paul’s case, having to put their deaths behind you in order to keep sane. When reading this book, I was honestly amazed how long these men were able to stay alive in the face of all the horrible things going on around them. You think they would eventually break down and not care anymore what happened to them. I think this is part of the reason Paul dies at the end. He has no one else to keep him company and doesn’t really have anything to live for (in his mind).
1. The Universal Response to this quote might very well be "That sucks." We live in a time that has little sympathy for others. Some view it as a hardship of life and you just have to deal with it until you die or it's finished (meaning the war). Many soldiers would respond this way because of how they have been trained to lose those they have companionship with in war. The world views it as "another one dead. Less people to populate the world." Other people, however, view this as I do and actually have compassion towards others. :)
3. In history, we learn of war and the effects it has on people. Those effects have an emotional, physical, and mental impact. For those fighting on the front lines, they had to endure all of these. They have to mentally grow-up as they see their best friends and family members die before their eyes. They have to physically prepare their bodies for a limited amount of food, wounds, and exhaustion. They emotionally have to stabilize themselves as others die, as gruesome a sight as it may be. This has been evident throughout history, as we have experienced World War I and II.
4. It is common knowledge that people seek for shelter and want to be protected. People want to be protected how, when, or wherever they can. People want to be protected emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is a part of life, and most honestly think we could not survive or keep our sanity without it. In All Quiet on the Western Front, the soldiers seek all of these forms of protection. Here the soldiers are clinging to the Earth and praying it will let them live. The trenches were open target practice, and people would be trying to become one with the Earth, as they are.
7. The world would be as the man who thought he knew more of the war than Paul did. Worldly people would try to elevate themselves in status and in the moment. The moment is what they live for and when it is grabbed away from them, they try to grab it right back. People always want to be the center of attention and have the spotlight for however long they can get it. They are also more than willing to fight for it. People will do whatever it takes to get to the top, no matter what it takes.
8. The War in Iraq relates to Paul and his comrades by the isolation they suffer from. At least our troops have the luxury of limited television and radio stations to keep updated. However, when over seas, the men are kept out of the scoop for possibly a month, a few months, up to many, many months. They also differ from World War I soldiers in that women are allowed to participate in the military. So men aren’t quite as alienated as they used to be in World War I. However, they are just as alienated from our world, current events, and pop culture.
9. Friends play an important role in everyone’s lives. They might help shape who people are today and what people will become tomorrow. For most people, friends are the most important thing in their lives. Many teenagers will tell their friends things that they will never tell their parents or eventually tell their parents. Friends are a huge source of confidence and can also be a source for incompetence. Friends will shape what people become and how people act, so everyone needs to choose their friends wisely. People need to realize their goals and then pick who best will help them achieve what they want.
10. Over in Iraq, things like this happen every day. Men and women have to leave behind their friends in order to continue in their life and their sane mind. People are watching their friends die in their arms and having to say good-bye to friends and people they might never see again. Like Shakespeare said “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Sweet in the fact that people will able to move on in their lives. The troops in Iraq are forced to deal with these depressing tasks. People don’t really understand the gravity of what Paul says in this quote. People think that this still doesn’t happen. However, it really does.