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Comparison between All Quiet on the Western Front and The Things They Carried - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Date: Comparison essay between ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and ‘The Things They Carried’ In the short story The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien reveals and critically elaborates the fears, horrendous physical conditions a man may be willing to be exposed, to salvage his reputation…
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Comparison between All Quiet on the Western Front and The Things They Carried

Download file to see previous pages... On the other hand, All Quiet on the Western Front is novel discussing the experience of young men in the army, during World War I in Germany to salvage the country. Though the war stopped and a few of them survived the war, they were mentally destroyed by the effects of the war. In both the novels above, the soldiers suffer mentally and emotionally by the effects of the war, and though they joined the war voluntarily, the things that they carry emotionally and mentally are too much to bear, and destroy them emotionally. In the things they carried, the soldiers are mentally disturbed and hallucinations are common among the army. “One soldier carried a rabbit’s foot while another carried a thumb that had been cut from a dead VC body” (O’Brien, 287). Such superstitious items being carried by such soldiers portray a case of mentally disturbed people, mainly deep in superstitions. In addition, “some carried items of emotional comfort such as a bible or a pair of girlfriend’s pantyhose” (O’Brien, 287). These items are significant of people trying to escape from the reality by seeking comfort and attention in the bible, or the love that they once had in life. By seeking emotional comfort from these items, the soldiers portray a case of emotional breakup in the war; they struggle to have consolation by shifting the attention form the battle front. On the other hand, in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul narrates of events that torment him psychology, and lead to emotional disturbances. In one instance, as the enemy soldiers fall, Paul narrates, “We recognize the smooth distorted faces, the helmets……. His face up turned, fall into a wire cradle” (Remarque, 112). These horrendous images of dying humans as they look face to face with Paul are great emotional torment that would affect him later. The emotional disturbances are observed in another case where Paul comes face to face with the enemy soldiers. “The moment we are about to retreat three faces rise from the ground in front of us…….. I raise may hand but I cannot throw the grenade into these strange eyes…” (Remarque, 113) Paul emotional disturbance is clear from this narration. As they look face to face with the enemy, Paul is deeply affected and though he rises his hand to throw the grenade, his hands cannot simply let it go. Eventually Paul has to do it; because the moment defined their survival or death. Paul is emotionally affected by the killings going on, and though he is a soldier, he is reluctant to kill. The conditions endured by the soldiers in The things that they carried is tormenting not only physically but emotionally. The terrain in Vietnam is hilly and difficult; the solders are in great trouble to move in the heavy monsoon rains. The soldiers are simply like mules, “they plodded along slowly, dumbly leaning forward against the heat, unthinking…… just thumping one step and then the next….” (O’Brien, 288) The soldiers sometimes covered with mud and sometimes in great heat have to undergo difficult terrains with heavy loads, making it impossible for them even to walk as the precise description by O’Brien portrays. They were being tormented in facing the enemies in dangerous circumstances, and having to carry these heavy loads. In fact, to ease the strain “they would sometimes throw away rations and blow their claymores and grenades” (O’Brien, 288). These actions clearly portray a group of soldiers who are tormented ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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