All Quiet On The Western Front

This essay has a total of 1451 words and 5 pages.

All Quiet On The Western Front

Decline of Morality
The novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque shows that
war destroys more than just the physical level; the decline of morality has taken place
through various circumstances in the novel such as: then incident where Paul Baumer is
forced to kill a soldier in a shell hole, when Paul lies to his mother and the mother of his
dead friend Kemmerich and when Paul and Kat must beat a recruit unconscious to stop
him from leaving the trench; these incidents can be compared to events in the 1990's such
as: rise in the abortion rate, Columbine High School shootings, and the incident between
President Clinton and Monica Lewinski.
In Chapter 7 Paul is granted a leave from his duties for about a month and in this
time he plans on going home and visiting his family. When he arrives his mother asks
him questions about how he is and about the war. More specifically she asks, "Was it
very bad out there, Paul?" He thinks to himself how that is a bad question and that
nobody realizes how bad the soldiers actually have so he is forced to lie. He says "No,
Mother, not so very. There are always a lot of us together so it isn't so bad." Here the
author proves that the war forces some to lie to their parents whom they have always been
honest with and this demonstrates the decline of family life that the war causes. Later in
the chapter he goes to visit the mother of his dead friend, Kemmerich. While there he tells
her that he died instantly and she doesn't believe him, "You lie. I know better. I have felt
his anguish-tell the truth, I want to know it, I must know it."(159) He again lies to her,
"No, I was beside him. He died at once" (159). But yet she tells him, "I know you want
to comfort me, but don't you see, you torment me far more than if you told me the truth? I
cannot bear the uncertainty" (159). He sticks to his story telling her, "He died
immediately. He felt absolutely nothing at all. His face was quite calm" (160). Again this
incident shows that war has a major affect on family life, if he is able to lie to his mother
about the war easily, that makes it easier for him to lie to Mrs. Kemmerich about her son.
These incidents can be most closely related to the confrontation involving the President
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. In this case President Clinton is preaching about how
family life is so important and how parents need to get involved and how a healthy family
can lead to productive lives. By saying things of this nature, President Clinton is a
hypocrite. Some of the things he does are almost the exact opposite of what he is
preaching. When he had an affair with Monica Lewinski he basically destroyed his family
because he cheated on his wife Hillary. This shows how the President himself can have
an affect on the decline of family life through his own family.
In Chapter 9 Paul is caught in a shell hole during a bombardment, while there a
Frenchman jumps into it, while attacking the German lines, and he is forced to kill him.
This does not settle easily with Paul mainly because he is horrified at his action. He says,
"This is the first time I have killed with my hands, whom I can see close at hand, whose
death is my doing" (193). This states that his part in the war has changed greatly because
now he can actually see the face of his enemy. While he is still upset Paul searches the
dead man for information so that he can find out the deceased's name and family
situation. He finds out that the man's name was George Duval, he had a family, and is
actually very much like Paul himself, then Paul begins to make promises to the Duval's
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