“We’re during the Great War can cause feelings

“We’re telling lies; we know we’re telling lies; we don’t tell the public the truth” (Lord Rothermere 1917). Many occurrences in one’s life may change them in a profound way, but the result are not as familiar. For example, settings of false hope and despair such as the Western Front during the Great War can cause feelings of uneasiness and emotional numbness to develop in an individual. In the novels All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Remarque, and The Wars by Timothy Findley, the effects that war has on an individual’s consciousness are clearly displayed. In All Quiet On The Western Front, Paul Baumer slowly starts to learn how the effects of war are changing the way he views himself and his life in the present, but also the way he views what has taken place in his past and what his life will be like in the future. In The Wars, Robert Ross is on an undecided journey, questioning the apparent loss and dignity of humanity in the environment around him. This immersion into the relentless and foreign conflict of the Great War led both Baumer and Ross to develop symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as they battled the internal and external conflicts that surrounded them. As a result of the horrors and tragedies around Paul and Robert, the characters go through the stages of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which include a change in reality, turning point, and an ultimate acceptance as they question and reflect on their sense of worth and their dignity in the war.    Once the Great War began both Baumer and Ross were sent to the Western Front. As they spend more time in the trenches they had to alter their view on reality and open themselves up to realize that death is common and the loss of human life should be expected. Paul Baumer joined the Great War as an innocent young nineteen year old boy. He was too inexperienced to understand the impacts that war had on the soldiers, especially himself. The Great War forced Baumer to face the new reality that death is now a frequent and driving force in his life, and that each human life is no longer revered and adored. He learns this lesson when his close friend, Kemmerich dies a slow and painful death in his arms. The only way he is able to show his emotions is by saying “I become faint, all at once I cannot do any more. I won’t revile any more, it is senseless, I could drop down and never rise up again” (Remarque 32). The death of Kemmerich dealt an emotional and physical blow to Baumer. This gives Baumer a new perspective into the Great War, that hidden cost not described when enlisting such as death come with every war, which can affects each and every soldier in different ways. Death is becoming a common event in Baumer’s life and he is accepting it without question. However, Baumer started to experience problems such as emotional numbing after this tragic event which is an early sign of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it made him suppress his feelings of sadness and anger ultimately altering how he sees reality and destroying his feelings and relationships towards the other soldiers around him. Robert Ross was seen as a gentle, loving and caring person. However, after the death of his sister Rowena, he became unable to cope with all the situations taking place around him and he had to adapt and change his view on reality. The easiest way for him to do this, enlist in the war. This put stress on the already tense relationship he had with his mother since she believed he was the one to blame for Rowena’s death. Robert’s mother kept on pushing and abusing Robert mentally by making critical and hateful remarks towards him about the death of Rowena. This eventually let to Robert’s mother saying “Funny, she said, how most people fall down and nothing happens. Some people bruise like apples. But most people – nothing! Yes. While others die “(Findley 23). This led to Robert enlisting for the Great War so he could try to escape the memory of Rowena dying and extinguish the guilt and pity he had for himself. Beginning the early development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that has intensified the internal and external conflicts he has been having with himself about the death of Rowena, his mother and enlisting for the Great War. In war, men like Paul and Robert have to change how they see reality and adapt to their new way of life. However, it comes at a cost and often leads to the repeated exposure of events much like these and injuries that have a significant impact on the deterioration of both Robert and Paul’s mental states. As the novels continue, both Paul and Robert consistently must face the intense exposure and conflicts that come with the horrors of war on the Western Front. Paul and Robert often had to face the different “Brutalities, traumhaus, and violences that were common themes throughout the history of war, and they were especially prominent during the First World War.”  (Joseph Zeppetello and Steven Pearlman) These brutalities, traumhaus, and violences from the Great War often took a heavy toll on both Paul and Robert’s conscious and how they viewed the changing world around them. The repeated exposure to these issues created individual turning points that put heavy strain on the mental and physical tasks required to survive in this treacherous environment. Only deteriorating their mental state more and more due to the immersion into the relentless conflict that was the Great War. Paul’s changes occur almost simultaneously when he gets to experience the ammetities of his childhood home again compared to the years he has spent on the Western Front. Paul’s leave from the front shows himself that the war has undisputedly changed his own life through his immersion into the conflict that was the Great War. As Paul reminisces with his family in his old house he feels dissimilar to the way he used to live. The books surrounding him are a symbol that he left for the war a young innocent nineteen year old child and came back a hardened war veteran with a deteriorating mental state and images of death and despair nobody would understand. He can no longer function in a place without conflict, which is why Paul feels so disoriented at his own home. The symbol of the books and his family represent his own turning point in the novel as Paul talks to himself and wants to “Speak to me – take me up – take me, Life of my Youth – you who are carefree, beautiful – receive me again” (Remarque 172). This quote describes how Paul is finally realizing that it is impossible for him to return to his old life. The Great War has reduced him to a numbed creature that he believes is only being used as a pawn in this conflict. His own mental state has deteriorated so much that he no longer can live a civilian life. The only place he feels truly at home is on the Western Front.