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Character motivation is what motivates a character to do what he / she does. In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Baume r changes a lot due to the war and its hardships. Instead of being a na ve boy, because of what he faces, he becomes hardened and grows up a lot. Some of the more influential motivators are the death of the young recruit, Kemmerich s death, the way Corporal Himmelstoss treats him, his mothers cancer, when he kills the Frenchman, and Katczinsky s death.
The war itself deeply influences the way Paul sees life. Most of the social traits Paul has are lost, and his new society becomes his fellow soldiers, and the battlefield. Paul loses a lot of respect for things important to him in his former life. He loses his respect for his parents, teachers, and elders.
He no longer cares about what school has taught him, and he doesn t seem to care much about religion any more. When he joins the forces, he sort of realizes that he needs to make his own decisions and be a man, instead of a boy. Kemmerich s death also has a great impact on Paul. Franz Kemmerich is the first one of Paul s friends to die. Franz gets placed at St.
Joseph s after getting a bad flesh wound in his thigh. Soon after being there he has to get his leg amputated, but when the boys visit him, he doesn t know it, and talks about how his foot hurts. Although Paul, and the others know that Kemmerich will most likely die, they tell him that he will be going home soon, to try to cheer him up. When Paul visits him alone for the last time, Franz knows that his leg is gone, and that he s going to die. While Paul is still there, he starts making noises, and dies. This death is very important because it s the first one that greatly affects Paul, because it is the first death of a friend of his.
Soon after Kemmerich s death, Paul and Kat find a fair headed young recruit who was shot in the hip, and is dying. Paul gives him rum and tea, as Kat tries to dress his wound. After they wrap it the best they can, they tell him they are leaving to get a stretcher, and the man asks him to stay there. They decide that they should probably just kill him and put him out of his misery and when look around there are a lot of other soldiers watching, so they get a stretcher, and he gets taken away. This changed Paul, because although he and Kat both know that the boy will die in much more pain than he would if they had killed him, they can t because there are others watching. They both know that the boy would be better off being shot while he was numb.
Kat says Such a kid — . Young innocents— , knowing how much pain the boy will be in when he gets to the hospital up until when he dies which will most likely be a day or two after Corporal Himmelstoss is really mean to Paul, Kropp, Muller, and Kemmerich. They get put in his group to train, and he makes them clean boots for 20 hours, and sweep up snow. Paul has to make his bed 14 times before it is acceptable. Although he treats the boys like dirt, he also teaches them how to survive as a soldier. Later in the book when Paul thinks of him, he thinks of him as harsh, but a good leader.
Himmelstoss is a big motivator in Paul s life, because he gets him to do things he normally wouldn t. He might be hated, but he does his job. Paul s mother s cancer also motivates him. When he gets leave and goes home to visit his mom, they go awhile without talking at all. When she finally asks him if it s really bad there, he lies and tell her its okay. He doesn t want to worry her, and couldn t explain it if he tried to anyway.
She motivates him to protect her, and when he tries talking to her, she makes him realize that the experiences he has overcome cannot be explained in civilian language. A huge influence on Paul is when he kills the Frenchman in the shell hole, during a bombardment. After killing the man, he gets his wallet out, and loots at his name and family pictures. He then realizes that the man is a lot like he is, and starts making promises to him. He promises that he will take his place. He also apologizes to the body.
This motivates him strongly because he feels so guilty, and would probably be more careful before he killed again. Katczinsky s death affects Paul a lot also. It s more than Paul can take. It s kind of the final straw. After Kat dies, Paul seems to wonder when his turn is. Also when he does die, it says he has a peaceful calm expression on his face, as if he was glad it was finally over.
Character motivation is what motivates a character to do what he / she does, and feel as he / she feels. Motivation is an important part of every character. Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front is influenced, and motivated by many different things. His motivators made him do what he did, therefore influencing not only what he does, but what happens throughout the entire book.
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