Horrors Of War Poem Analysis

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Wars create death and destruction for the countries fighting and its citizens, causing physical and mental agony. Soldiers suffer not only during the war, but also after the war because of the traumatic events that they witness. These soldiers can even include teens. Erich Maria Remarque highlights these problems in the perspective of nineteen-year-old Paul Bäumer in her novel, All Quiet on the Western Front. She shows life as a teen fighting for Germany in World War I and showcases the horrors of war, the loss of innocence in young teens, and the loss of humanity in order to survive. The effects of war is also represented in poetry, usually through real, first-hand experiences that the writer faced. Similarly, the poem “War Trauma” by Curt…show more content…
Curt Bennett writes about men forcing themselves to shut down their emotions and the repercussions they face from doing so. The poem begins with, “War drags men to the very edge, // Where they must shut completely down // All emotion, all caring, all feeling // Just to survive the experience” (ll 1-4). The only way for men to face war is to cut themselves from feeling emotion. This implicitly shows the awful, traumatic events that the soldiers encounter, yet still face and attempt to overcome. Their emotional barriers are unnatural, yet needed, to survive the war; the lack of emotion shows the lack of humanity. This is similar to Chapter 1 of All Quiet on the Western Front when the Second Company was happy to receive extra rations. They did not have the ability to mourn the deaths of seventy men because their emotion would cause their deaths. The poem continues saying that soldiers take in the horrors of the war and “continue on as human shells // Who have experienced too much death // Who have seen too much destruction, // Old men in young boys bodies” (ll. 6-10). The soldiers have to see the death and destruction caused by war, explicitly stating the horrors that the soldiers have to face. Bennett also references “Old men in young boys bodies” (l. 10), showing the lack of innocence in the boys. They started as young boys, but the war transformed them into old men because of the traumatic events. An old man in a young boy’s body represents a young man that has lost his innocence. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Baumer refers to the Iron Youth as old men, even though they are actually still teenagers. This is because of the traumatic events they have already witnessed, which makes them old men in a teenager’s body. These themes are evident in both the novel and this poem; however, there is still a difference between the two. The
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