"All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque.

Essay by tay11High School, 10th grade May 2003

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Death is a scary thought. No body really wants to die, and no body can honestly admit they are not at least a little bit scared of it. Paul Baumer was. He was terrified of it. Death was an end for him, as it is for everybody, but death was not only an end, it was the end; the end to troubles, the end to blood, screaming, tears, and the end to war. Death is what changed him and forced him to be a man apart from his emotional side that wanted to burst any second with endless tears. Death showed Paul how to live. How ironic that Death can show a man how to live. Paul realized how to change into an animal with the instincts to survive. Death made Paul change from the schoolboy to an animal of war.

Throughout his life as a schoolboy, Paul Baumer loved to read.

He loved to think about the future and entertain himself with his own imagination. Since the war had begun, he wanted to "feel the same powerful, nameless urge" (171) that he used to feel when he turned to his books. Throughout the war, Paul had evolved slowly from day one, into an animal void of any emotion or sensation other than those of his animal instincts brought on by the war. Paul wanted the desire to read and imagine to fill him once more and "melt the heavy, dead lump of lead" (171) that is the war. The burden of war lays heavy on Paul's heart. So heavy, that he will never be able to return to the days of imagining and reading. Paul's initial state of being was lost forever the second he went to war.

At the beginning of the novel, Paul witnessed the death...