All Quiet on the Western Front-Paul and the Enemy

Paul and the enemy- Essay

In war the soldiers have to fight for their country, they fight with their comrades and against their enemies. In All Quiet On The Western Front from Erich Maria Remarque, Paul, the narrator of the novel, makes these experiences every day. But he gets to a point of view, where he asks himself what the difference is between the soldiers of the different countries and about the human being of them. While he can discover similarities between them and himself and notices the identity of the enemy he is now able to see the humanity in the enemies.

During Paul's stay in the training camp (chapter 8) he is always confronted with the Russians. While spending so much time next to them, he gets known to them in a more personal way and sees that they are similar as every other soldier, even from another country.
Paul goes trough a development of perception while he guards over the Russians. First they are more or less just objects for Paul and“separated by wire fence”(189). They are very near to each other, but the wire fence claims a uncomfortable, cool and denying mood meaning that they have no really contact and do not want contact. After spending more time next to them Paul gets by and by the possibility to see them better and find out more about them. He describes them as having “childlike faces ” (194). As Paul is still very young, he is like a child sometimes too. A child would not be able to destroy as much as the war does. This quote claims that the feelings the Russians and Paul have for war could be very similar and they are alike each other in their hearts. When Paul finds a few German speaking Russians, a few play on their instruments, “mostly folk-songs”(195). Paul also played an instrument before the war-the piano. The music represent that there is still live in the worn-out, hopeless bodies and the hope of live after the war shared by both Paul and the Russians. Paul realizes that the Russians cannot have a lot of differences...