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The Earth; Our Comrade.

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Greg Reynolds

Mr. Manville

Lit. Forms Hrs.

May 9, 2002

The Earth; Our Comrade

        Who do you think is your best friend?  Did you ever think that something besides another person could play this part in your life?  The earth has qualities that you may not think of to make it a good choice as a friend.  In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque uses the earth as a character to show how the element of chance brings about comradery between the soldiers and the earth.

        The character of the earth shows us this comradery by acting as a source of comfort for the soldiers.

“To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier.  When he     presses      himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs   deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother…”(Remarque 55).  

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        The earth as a character also shows fear by becoming a victim of the war and suffering with the soldiers.  “The brown earth, the torn, blasted earth, with a greasy shine under the sun’s rays”(Remarque 115).  Every time a bomb hits or bullets are fired at men hiding behind a hill, the earth’s pieces fly apart and it is tormented with pain. “It’s unendurable.  It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning”(Remarque 62).  The earth expresses its grief through the creatures that are part of it.  It tells the soldiers of its suffering, but the soldiers cannot react in ways to help the earth, for they cannot think of their actions in times when the violence is present.   This is how the earth as a victim shows us comradery.

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        It is hard to see the true violence of the war and fear in the soldiers without the comradery in the presence of chance.  As a comforter the earth becomes a friend and caregiver of the soldiers.  It comforts them from the fear that they are confronted with.  The earth joins their side by suffering with them when the violence is being presented.  It also gives the soldiers life to persevere through the war, but in the eye of chance can symbolize the fate and taking away of life from the soldiers.  This is how Remarque uses the earth as a character to show comradery with the soldiers.

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