Describe a challenge faced by a character or individual written text you have studied. Explain how the character did or not overcome the challenge.
Paul Baumer, an 18 year old German student, enlisted in the war. He faces many challenges throughout his life in the war in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. In this novel Erich Maria Remarque shows the challenges faced by Paul and how he overcomes them.
The first challenge faced by Paul is being dehumanized in the training camp. “We have no feelings for others,we are dead men with no feelings”. This shows how the men were treated like animals and also taught to be driven by animal instincts. Paul faced the challenge of being dehumanized and having no feelings for the people he had to kill in the front. He had to overcome this challenge as if he did have feelings and emotions towards the people he was killing he would be slow and end up being killed himself. He took a while to overcome this challenge as living with no feelings or emotions towards others is nearly impossible,he was driven by the wish of surviving. He could only do that if he kills others with no feelings or emotions before they kill them.
Another challenge faced by Paul was killing Gerard Duval (French soldier) face on. Duval was faced with Paul’s dagger and was not killed, instead suffering for hours before dying. “He has a dagger to kill me with, the dagger of time and my own thoughts”. Paul regretted killing Duval and found how they have more in common than not. When he got back to his comrades and told them about the incident they had told him to not think much of it as he was his enemy and he would’ve killed Paul if he hadn’t killed him first anyway, they told him this is how things are in war. Paul overcame his challenge and didn’t think much of the incident as he has been brainwashed to think this is how war is and that these incidents are normal. This shows how many innocent lives are lost in war and not even acknowledged instead thought of as another enemy soldier down. They are degrading the rights of their life.
A challenge faced by Paul was when he had a visit home and he felt as if he didn’t ‘fit in’. “Suddenly a feeling of isolation wells up inside me”. When he visited home he didn’t feel at home, and in his bedroom and his books- everything he used to love, everything he thought was important, no longer has any meaning. He is no longer the same person - war has changed him. His bedroom and books are symbolic who he used to be. He feels more at home in the front than his own home. This challenge Paul was faced with shows how the war changes people and how they are scarred for the rest of their lives.
In conclusion Paul Baumer, an 18 year old enlisted in the war and faced many challenges. Visiting home and feeling he wasn’t fitting in, killing Gerard Duval and being dehumanised in the training camp. He overcame some challenges but some stayed with him till the very end. All Quiet on the Western front shows the challenges soldiers are faced with in the war and how they overcome them or stay with them till the very end.