Dehumanization in All Quiet on the Western Front

1211 words 5 pages
Dehumanization in Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front Winston Churchill always said, “You ask: what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, no matter how long and hard the world may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” In Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, victory is seen as the only option. The soldiers in the novel do whatever it takes like acting before thinking or ignoring any possible consequences in order to emerge victorious. Paul and his comrades are exposed constantly to violence, jumpstarting a dehumanizing process that forces them to rely on animal instinct. This necessary instinct is the only thing …show more content…
He has been so dehumanized that he has come to enjoy killing others. Dehumanization causes the soldiers to think differently when it comes to death. They see so many people dead all the time that they begin to care less and less. Paul thinks, “When a man has seen so many dead he cannot understand any longer why there should be so much anguish over a single individual” (181). Internally, the soldiers are losing many things close to them because of being on the front. These things are written by Matthews, “Love they have not known, patriotism and all the other abstract virtues and vices have vanished away in their first drum-fire” (2). Due to being on the front, the soldiers find difficulty in some of the simplest things in life and losing other things they have already been taught. About this Matthews comments, “These youngsters whom the War is swiftly making unfit for civilian life (though many of them will not have to make the change) have cast aside, of necessity, all that they have been taught” (2). This dehumanization changes the soldiers, leaving with them with the consequences and wondering if the life of an animal is really worth living. When Paul returns home on leave, he is struck with the feeling of homelessness. He can take no comfort there, and begins to realize that this is not because his home changed, but himself instead. When Paul tries on ordinary civilian clothes, he feels awkward and doesn’t recognize himself. He also finds it

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