The War Changes People
War can be defined by different meanings. The authors may have their own thoughts, and they do not have to agree with each other. For example, somebody thinks that the war can make tremendous either negative and positive effects on people. It gives us the meaning of the war and tells us the reason we should have wars. It also can impact everyone and all departments that related to the war and the consequence of the war influence so many people for a long time. Such as, it could probably change the relationship between people and create an enormous problem on human properties and psychological.
The quotes “War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling.” from How To Tell a True War Story and “it can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living from War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, both of these two quotes perfectly reveals the significance of the war, even they probably do not agree with each other. It shows that war can show people its diverse aspects and let people or readers have their own perspectives and understandings. We also can know that war has the power to tell us what’s the meaning and purpose of our lives. Hedges said that, “War makes the world understandable, a black and white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one.” It can make us feel more righteous and better than what we expect. In addition, we could find that the war letting people know that staying alive is the most important thing for everyone in All Quiet on the Western Front. When Paul and his friends talked about their plans at the end of the war, they didn’t have certain ideas, but all of them has the same clear answer-stay alive. It illustrated that war brings some many negative effects on people. It can change those young generations easily.
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Secondly, just like the author in How To Tell a True War Story said, “ the old rules are no longer binding, the old truths no longer true.”, we know everything changed. From All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul said that the old generation volunteered to become soldiers in the past few years. However, Paul and his friends were “volunteered” to become soldiers as well, but they were swindled and realized Kantorek lie to them. So everything is different from before, even the truth and war. Therefore, soldiers like Paul and his friends are different from the old generation. The old probably have positive perspectives about the war; however, the young have different opinions, and the war totally change those young people’s not only minds but also themselves. As we know, Paul and his friends were just 19 or 20 years old. They were immature or probably just became adults one year ago. However, they changed themselves immediately because of the war. For example, Paul was a person who loved writing poetries and loved his family. He was a sensitive and compassionate man before the war. Then, he finally became a cold-blooded person. He killed everything that wouldn’t let him survive. For example, all of them killed those rats when those rats were trying to eat their bread. All in all, we discovered that the war changes people a lot and finally changed Paul and his friends to become men, which O’Brien has the same perspective and he said that, “War makes you a man.”
Thirdly, as we know Hedges talked about how people “venerate and mourn their own dead” and do not care about other people’s deaths who come from other countries. He implied that American do not care about other people’s fates. However, in the All Quiet on the Western Front, they have different opinions. Paul and his friends became soldiers because Kantorek tempts them. However, after the met Himmelstoss they realized the plague of patriotism does not make any sense and it is not honored to be killed they all lived in their fears. In addition, during the war, there was a French soldier jumping into the same hole as Paul did. Paul killed him without thinking. However, he felt so sad and regretful when he saw that the person was dying. He realized that they are the same. They are just people but he finally becomes the victims because of the war. When he came back talked with his friends about what happened, they also tried to comfort him. From here we can see that they all still have good hearts and feel sorry for them.
War is a mystery. It can be defined by different people and different meanings, and it hard for us to tell who is right and who is wrong. Nobody can tell what is the true meaning of war but there are two consequences that people won’t suspect, which are death and destruction. In a word, everybody has his or her own true definition of the war and they do not have to agree with each other either. Everything is based on what you think.
- Hedges, Chris. War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. The Perseus Books Group, 2014.
- All Quiet on the Western Front: Erich Maria Remarque. Spark Publishing, 2014.
- Bloom, Harold. Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried. Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2011