Create a 5 pages page paper that discusses literature about war. Aside from the physical harm that they have to endure, these soldiers have to bear with the emotional stress brought about by fear and longing for the families they left at home.
“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a novel based on war stories as told by the author. It tells of how the protagonist, Tim O’Brien got himself into fighting during the Vietnam War and what his experiences on the battlefield were. He confessed that his reason for joining the army was not because he believed in the war’s cause, but because his fear of shame. Disappointing his family and guilt about trying to avoid that war were more important to him than his own beliefs and convictions. He described how soldiers died their own painful but honorable deaths and how these affected those who were left behind. O’Brien was able to show how the soldiers’ relationships and interaction among themselves were not limited to their profession but have become more personal. Those who fought the Vietnam War had bigger enemies than the ones who held M16 rifles and grenades. They each had their own personal distress, anxiety, and grief to battle against (O’Brien, 1990).
On the other hand, “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque tells stories of the killing and fighting that happened during World War I. The experiences of Paul, the main character, are told as he enlisted himself in the German army after believing that what he is about to do is solely for the sake of nationalism and patriotism. But after having met some of the other enlistees and after going through harsh training under Corporal Himmelstoss, they all realize that what they previously perceived as the glorious rewards of war are nothing but the products of their superiors’ fronts. Nevertheless, Paul had to be where duty calls and, therefore experiences the adversities it entails. As they spent months in the warfare, with only little time spared to share with their families, Paul starts to lose his friends, as they die one by one. In the end, Paul Baumer himself dies on a day when all is quiet on the western front (Remarque, 1928).
An obviously shared theme between the two novels is that both are stories about war and the lives of the soldiers as told by those who have actually been to the battlefield and have experienced all the hardships. Factual or fictional, both stories are based on real incidents and both reflect and mean to show how the true face of war is different from what is perceived by most people.
An issue discussed by both authors is the effect of war on the soldiers or those who fight for their country and countrymen. Again, not only are these heroes confronted with the risks of being harmed or killed but also with the burden of missing those they have left or are waiting for them back home. Not only do they have to think about strategies to stay alive or defeat the enemy, but also how to survive the longing caused by their separation from their loved ones.
Also, as mentioned in both texts, those who go into warfare, especially those who have done so for the first time do not feel any good for killing people.