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.