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Animalistic Diction in the novels NIGHT and All quiet on the western front

This was a school paper, I got A's all across the rubric. If you haven't read either/both works you might want to skip this essay. I'm putting it in the extended. And you aren't getting the original. I'm correcting what the teacher said needed correcting. For example I didn't know that Holocaust needed to be capitalized. He he.

The World Wars were a period full of horrible acts. World War I was the first with trench warfare; hundreds of thousands died from disease and dysentery,no just battle. In WWI, the Germans first showed their skill at propaganda. In the following war, World War II, there was the Holocaust, an attempt by the German Nazis to commit genocide of the Jews. The holocaust was an attempt by Adolf Hitler to exterminate all Jews; Hilter placed millions of Jews in concentration camps, and killed millions. Many have documented the atrocities of both wars, but none as brilliantly as two men have: Elie Wiesel and Enrich Remarque. These men wrote about the wars in a very descriptive manner that could not help but open the eyes of the world. Wiesel wrote his own memoir, Night, about his time int he concentration camps, and Remarque wrote a historical fiction, All Quiet on the Western Front, about life int eh German trenches, based on his own experiences as a solider. By documenting the wars, both Wiesel and Remarque are able to illustrate, by usage of strong diction the reduction of humanity to mere animals.

In the novel Night Elie Wiesel tells his own story about the Holocaust. Wiesel talks about the loss of his father, his faith, and his innocence. During his experiences he and the other prisoners are consistently faced with attempts to strip them of their humanity and reduce them to mere animals with primitive wants and instincts. Wiesel portrays this dehumanization with his diction such as “Men threw themselves on top of each other, stamping each other, tearing each other, biting each other. Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes; sharpening their teeth and nails” (95). The level of dehumanization these victims face is appalling. At times they fight to the death for mere crumbs of bread. Elie survived the Holocaust; at the expense of his faith and temporarily, his humanity. During the Holocaust, the main goal of the Nazis, beyond exterminating the Jews, was to dehumanize them with the wide spread usage of propaganda. The Germans, in general, were masters of propaganda and used it at every turn; attempting to make the Jews themselves believe their own “impurity”. As Wiesel depicts in his memoir, the Nazis often load the Jew on cattle cars for transport, all the while insulting them, calling them swine, or pigs, and beating them.

All Quiet on the Western Front is placed in World War I, and features a fictional character named Paul Baumer. Paul has become a member of the ‘Iron Youth’ and he, like a Elie, has lost his innocence. Often during highly periods of the novel, there is an increase usage of animalistic diction such as “With one lunge, I shoot as flat as a fish over the ground; there…I crouch… I claw… I groan… I creep…” (Remarque 67). This use of diction emphasizes the horror of war, and the reduction of man’s humanity towards each other when placed in a highly stressful situation. Another such example of animal behavior is when the men “reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animal.” (Remarque 56). The extended use of animalistic phrases creates a mood that forces the reader to feel some guilt about human kind and its actions.

As both novels progress Elie and Paul are forced to become more distant from their fellow beings. With Elie, it became apparent after the death of his father, and with Paul, the death of his companions. These deaths created a cataclysm that was the final point for the characters, where they reached their lowest point. Once at such a low point, it was extremely hard for the characters to continue, often just living because of instinct, not thought. Paul and Elie’s ability to act like animals often saves both numerous times. It often saves Paul because it allows him to dodge bullets and shells without consciously recognizing that they are coming toward him. The ability saves Elie when he is on the 42 mile run; Elie is not consciously aware ofhis body, and allows instinct to take him over. If Elie had been aware of his pain and how tired he was, then Elie would have been just another Jewish corpse on the side of the road whose only use would be as a road marker to lead the Allied forces to the Nazis.
Wiesel and Remarque used specific diction to portray the dehumanization of humans to the point where they were animals. The authors wrote their novels informally, making it intellectually at least, an easy read. By writing in common language the authors were able to pass along their ideas and theme’s to everyone, not just the well educated. The main characters in the novels, Elie and Paul, are in different wars, but both have to face highly emotional experiences and go through intense emotional trauma. Another similar aspect of the two characters is that they are only boys, both of which are very young, Elie only 15, and Paul barely 20.The two characters are similar in their struggle for survival; the biggest difference being that Paul dies, while Elie lives. Both men also must face horrible situations where their will and strength are tested, almost to the breaking point. The way Elie and Remarque illustrate war in the novels Night and All Quiet on the Western Front make it impossible for the horrors to be lost, or dismissed. These two authors have proved to mankind, that war is not glorious, happy, or romantic, it is not, not in the least.


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Good essay rach, it doesnt suprise me that you got A's across the board, I ve read both even though i dropped pre IB... cause im a dork i guess... but thats not the point, the essay make a good point towards Remarques greivances with the war, it really points out some of the points he makes about the use of war propoganda to encite the youth to rally 'round the nation. It truly shows you how far a nation will go to win a war... to strip it own future of their innocence...


"These two authors have proved to mankind, that war is not glorious, happy, or romantic, it is not, not in the least."

No it is not. Let's hope it never will be. There does come a time though when only war will do what needs to be done.


this is a bad essay