Thoughts on the novel

I just finished the book and I have to vent a little.

Paul sacrificed almost everything he had for his country, his friends, his possibility of a normal life, his mind.  And for what?  Because high up people decided it was time to go to war then sent out the young to fight it for them.  This novel had a real impact on me that I honestly didn’t think was going to happen at the start of this novel.  The horrible hospitals and the good ones, the experiments on wounded soldiers, the friends he made, the friends he lost, the uncaring nature of many people, the good hearts of those who have kept their humanity, the self centeredness of the Sister who wouldn’t close the door favoring prayer or necessary sleep, shell shock, the god-awful warfare, the lies to authority figures (the inspection), The death and destruction of so many people and places.  This novel showed us the good and the bad of WWI, and I can’t believe I never saw before how truly bad it was.

In the end, like many people, Paul doesn’t have much but his soul to hold on to after the war.  This war didn’t have to happen.  But it did and the effects of it were monstrous.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on the novel

  1. I’ve really enjoyed this novel and I am not the type of person who gets really into war timey things, but I thought this class might change that and it has. I felt like I connected more to this book even though it is not the genre of book I would find myself picking up to ready for fun. However, it did expand my view on the war and the people that went through it. For me, this was a good book to start out on and really got me interesting and more invested than I already was in the course. I was pleasantly surprised and also very saddened by this work but that is the harsh nature of these stories. It is a hell we have never experienced and hopefully never have to, but it is something we have to learn and understand in order to try to prevent it from happening.

  2. Like you guys, I was also emotionally taken aback by this book. It really makes me question how men and women are used as pawns. I also became frustrated, along with the characters, when the men discussed how futile the war was and how the men in power were using them simply to advance forward as though for their own agendas. This is the nature of war, but it never really sunk for before. I also thought it was interesting because the soldiers seemed to understand the big and the little pictures of the war–everyday combat, but also questioning the nature of war itself.

  3. You guys have read my mind exactly. This entire last section of reading completely opened my eyes to war. It makes me sick to my stomach to think we were pushing our own people to go and live in the conditions that they were in. We made it sound so glorious. The lives of these soldiers that fought in these wars were lost whether they died or not. I do understand though that freedom is not free, and comes at a cost. I cried for majority of the last two chapters and felt pain for the characters I read about. Each comrade had such a respect for each other no matter the conditions they were in. So incredibly heart breaking..

  4. I was also emotionally invested in this book. As I was reading the part about how Paul’s old school teachers and higher-ups were telling him how to fight the war and that what he was doing wrong really angered me. They spoke with so much enthusiasm yet never experienced the harshness of war like he did yet they had the nerve to tell him what to do. This book was extremely heart breaking for me especially at the end where he dies. I’m sure the author wanted to be realistic but I wanted it to end with the hope that he could get better. I wanted the author to show how Paul’s resilience would help him get through a tough time. I just love happy endings so the fact that it ended with him dying even after all he has been through made me super upset.

  5. War is awful. To have a character we have been rooting for the entirety of the book die at the end drives that point home for me. It reminds me of that scene early on in the book of one of the characters wishing that only the people in charge would fight so we can prevent an unnecessary loss of life.

Leave a Reply