|Made possible by Many Painstaking Ours|
Modern war is a battle won by greater weaponry, not the greater will to live.
All Quiet on the Western Front shows us these words are true. The novel describes the battles Paul Baumer must go through to keep his will to live and his sanity amidst the horrors of war that surround him. But in the end, the weapons win out.
The author, Erich Maria Remarque uses a writing style that describes Baumer’s battle by creating powerful mental images for the reader. Remarque’s words cause us to cheer for Paul while he tries to survive, even though Paul is on the side our history teachers tell us to shun. As I read, I could feel the inner turmoil that Paul went through by trying to choose to stay and fight rather than just give up and die.
In the beginning of the book, Paul started out thinking that he would be some type of a hero marching into battle. But when he first steps on to battlefield of the Great War he realized that he was just another speck who could die at any moment. This realization becomes clearer as the book progresses, until the bitter end. To help Paul try to mask all the horrors he goes through, he tries to find the beauty in the war. He creates friendships that he cherishes, until those friendships end with the thing that ends all, death.
For me, All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel about history. When I started reading, I didn’t understand what was going on. Once we started to study World War I in Social Studies, everything became much clearer. I realized this is not a book a person can just pick up and read. The reader will have a greater appreciation for the action in the novel if they know something about the history of World War I.
I also felt as though the book could have ended sooner. To me, the perfect place to end the book was when Paul was seriously injured and nearly dead. At that point it is clear the weaponry has won out over Paul’s will to live. Instead they fit him with a prosthetic limb, and the book continues for a couple of more chapters without really adding much to Paul’s story. Remarque does have a purpose, with some of the other main characters dying in these last chapters, but he could have done the same in earlier passages without the story dragging on.
My opinion of All Quiet on the Western Front is that it gives an inside look into the muddy trenches of World War I. I would say it’s a must read for those that have an understanding and appreciation for that period. For those that enjoy the history of war, I would definitely devote some time to it.
Sunday was Easter and when I slowly moped down the staircase and walked into the Kitchen it was a pleasant surprise to find an Easter basket packed with candy. My mother cheered “Happy Easter!” as did my grandparents. It only took about five minutes for my dad to get downstairs, but by then I had already started to indulge myself with Lindor Truffles.
After we had all become completely awakened by the wonderful effects of coffee, it was time for cards. I opened my first card, which was from my parents. It was the usual funny card with an awful pun. The next card I opened was from my grandparents.
Although it still had a godawful pun, it had an image on the front of an egg getting dyed. This one image brought me the “egg-citement” Easter had brought me when I was a child not so long ago. It reminded me of the fun times I had with my grandmother dying eggs with me every Easter. That type of feeling puts a smile on your face and reminds me about the happiness of those small things. Things like dying eggs or putting the stockings up for Christmas. All of these things for me are a pleasant surprise each time I do them.
Happy Patriot’s Day! Today was so cool, I went to the Revolutionary War reenactment, watched the parade (great job Fenn Marching Band), and hung around with my grandparents. Now I’m feeling a sense of emptiness because the day is almost over and my grandparents went back to New Jersey. I almost feel as though I need to vent my feelings through art or music. Maybe I should do it with poetry? Maybe we should all vent our feelings through poetry? And I might just know how to do it all together, a poetry society.
I recently watched the incredible movie Dead Poets Society which sparked an idea in my head “I should make a Dead Poets Society at school.” And so I have decided to start a poetry club next year for the ninth grade only. It will be a place where you can share your own creations and read other poet’s work.
If you are interested please comment.
Today when I entered the gym I saw that there was a Hi-Chew candy sale. When I glanced at the line just a couple yards away and saw the little fourth graders trying to make their way through the line, I thought of something - we used to be those little fourth graders. After receiving my Hi-Chew and going on my way, I thought to myself that I’ve grown a lot mentally and physically during these five years. I’ve had good times and I’ve gone through hell, I’ve felt like I was the king of the world, and I’ve felt like I was at the bottom of the sea.
I’ve found that I have remembered the bad times clearer than the good ones. But one instance I can remember as clear as a flawless diamond - my first day at Fenn.
Before Fenn I had lived in Connecticut which wasn’t all that different from Massachusetts. What was different was the school I would be going to. I was leaving the school I had been going to since I was three years old. That can be just a little bit scary for a nine year old. But I did feel that I was going to leave with memories such as the book of poetry my classmates had written for me. This book felt as if it were a scrap book or a time capsule from my days back in third grade and before.
When I arrived at Fenn for my first day I realized something that I hadn’t before experienced - I didn’t know anybody! I felt like I was the only person in the whole school who didn’t know at least one person. But as soon as I walked into the small ILP room I felt like I was going to fit in perfectly. Ms. Star introduced me to the other students and I felt very much at home and in a safe environment. I went on through my day, getting to know my teachers as the day went on till the last class where I could only think about one thing - how the heck will I be able to do this for seven months? I was exhausted! When I got home I just plopped onto the couch and watched TV with my two cats, and quickly fell asleep.
Lately I’ve noticed something, our teachers are assigning a lot less homework. I love it! Today I got home, had Latin tutoring, then have been chilling for the past couple hours. I wonder what the reason is? I realize that it’s the first full day of Passover, but it hasn't just been today, It was the day before that and a good part of last week, too!
I've also noticed that enforcement of the AUA has been relaxed lately. I've been told that kids are walking right by teachers and administrators with their phones out, and nothing has been said. People have even started bringing in their own computers, which I jumped all over! It’s great!
Viva La Personal Devices!
Recently I got the video game Titan Fall. I’ve been addicted to it ever since the first match I played. It has so many great features including parkour, first person shooter, and strategy all in one game. What I really love is the fact that you get to call down a giant freaking mech suit and go on an utter rampage! That’s how you make a game fun!
Here is a trailer for the game and I definitely recommend getting it as soon as possible.
Sorry for this post being a couple days late, I meant to post this on Thursday but forgot to.
Today was a good day, I actually found that study halls can be useful! Let me rephrase that, study halls can be useful if you REALLY put your mind to it. If you don’t feel like working in a study hall then absolutely nothing will get done, that’s probably why their getting rid of them next year.
Also I have been studying like a madman for the Latin test that I have tomorrow. It is going to be like a prep-exam and I don’t want to take it at all. It seems as though school is just test after test which is just not needed. I feel as though I’m getting less sleep every night because of the anxiety of these tests.
Lastly today I found that math homework can be a lesson to learn. For homework Ms. Shiffler told us to finish the previous night’s homework since it was extremely time consuming. Since I had already finished it I have no math homework for tonight. I learned the lesson that you should keep working until it’s done.
What does 1928 have to do with 1982, besides the last two numbers being transposed? 1928 is when Erich Maria Remarque wrote All Quiet on the Western Front. 1982 is when Michael Morpurgo wrote the novel War Horse. Our generation knows War Horse better as a 2011 movie directed by Steven Spielberg. I didn’t know when I saw the movie that it was going to help me to better understand a book from Eighth Grade English class. Every visual that impacted me in War Horse, I'm seeing in All Quiet on the Western Front. In Chapter Four of the book, when Paul and his squadron go out to set down barbed wire, I remembered the horror of the horse getting trapped in barbed wire in the movie. When Kat accurately predicts the shelling, with three bombs falling nearby and scattering bodies, I can recall similarly impactful scenes in the movie. The movie and the book both depict the horrors of war. World War I was 100 years ago. We should never forget that war is a horrible time and we should do everything we can to avoid it.
As I read Chapter Four I couldn’t help but feel as though I was standing where Paul was and feeling the complete terror that he had felt throughout the shell storm. The visual images from War Horse helped me to better grasp the written images Remarque created. Luckily, unlike Paul, I can go back to my safe reality of life in quiet Carlisle. Paul, on the other hand, had no such choice.
The events happening right now in the Ukraine are extremely similar to the events that started a flame that grew into World War I. Russia in the past several months has become a much more aggressive country that sees the Ukraine as their “Western Front,” a passage to the economic riches of Western Europe that can improve its standing as a nation. This power-hungry nature was the same mindset that drove Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm to invade Belgium and Luxembourg, which led to the complete chaos Paul Baumer found himself in. The chaos of shells flying every which way, bodies soaring into the air and back to the ground, and Paul watching and hoping he’s not next.
Am I enjoying the way All Quiet on the Western Front depicts World War I? Did I enjoy the movie War Horse? Yes, to both questions. Both pack powerful imagery that leaves me with the feeling that I’ve been able to experience a bit of what it was like in the trenches. Enough that I pray to God that I never find out for myself.
I've posted my Epic Poem Project Cape May as a page on my site. For those that aren't as familiar with New Jersey (my parents are from there and my mom's parents still live there), Cape May is at the very bottom of the state. Once you can't drive any further south without going into the Atlantic Ocean, you're in Cape May.
I would really like to hear what you guys think, and maybe what you thought about the project. Did the words flow? Or were you counting the lines?
I think I found the editing as hard as writing the 656 lines! Commas, periods, capitals, lower case!