the morality of human nature Brady Zickel

Symbolism of Need and Desire

In "All quiet on the western front" symbolism is used heavily to reflect to reality of the war and the importance of some topics. The novel is an accurate representation of the horrors and experiences men went through during the first world war. It is told by the narrator and main character Paul Baumer. Paul and many of his friends from school enlisted together and the story follows their actions in their company in Germany. World War 1 was a very deadly war and many men died on both sides. Supplies and food were short especially for the Germans. In the trenches a good pair of boots made a huge difference. In this book Pauls friend Kemmerich find a good pair of boots on a dead airman. When Kemmerich dies all of Pauls friends try to get the boots first despite their friend being dead. As Pauls friends die off the boats get passed from person to person until they end up on Pauls feet when he is the last surviving member of the group of friends from school. In the context of the story these boots represent someones need or desire for something. It show that people will go to great lengths in order to get what they want or what they need to survive. The boots are the only symbol of this in the book it is also represented by cigarettes and food which were both things that were highly sought after. In the other book "Lord of the flies" something all of the boys need is fire to survive. In order to make fire the boys must have Piggy's glasses to magnify the sun. Throughout the book many shocking acts are committed in order to gain possession of the ability to make fire. These two examples from different texts share similarities of symbolism. In both cases the characters did something that they would normally do. They did this because of the situations they are put in. It shows that in times that people are desperate and need of something they will act immorally and impulsively. A certain scenario can change how a person acts completely.

After Jack took the glasses it was said that "The chief led them, trotting steadily, exulting in his achievement. He was a chief now in truth; and he made stabbing motions with his spear. From his left hand dangled Piggy’s broken glasses."
In the book "Lord of the flies" Piggy's glasses are extremely important because they are need to make fire which in turn brings power.
After Kemmerich dies Paul states "Muller stands in front of the hut waiting for me. I give him the boots. We go in and he tries them on. They fit well." . This is minutes after Kemmerich died and they are already taking the boots.


The themes in "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Lord of the Flies" are very similar. They both address people who have been put in situations that test their morals and what they believe in. In "All Quiet on the Western Front" there are themes of horrors of war, nationalism and the effects of war but what it has in common with "Lord of the Flies" is that it also has a theme of peoples morality and willingness to do the right thing. Throughout "All Quiet on the Western Front" Paul questions the actions of the military and wonders if he is doing the right thing. In both books there are ordinary people who are put into extraordinary situations and shows readers how that effects "Lord of the Flies" it was the boys getting stranded on the island and for "All Quiet on the Western Front it was the reality of world war 1. These special situations that people are put into remove many aspects of their previous self. In these settings of law of nature the men are stripped of their morality and act much differently than they would in normal life. In the circumstances provided the characters do shocking things that you wouldn't expect from them in a normal environment. In "All Quiet on the Western Front" Paul kill an enemy soldier with his bayonet and later discovers that the soldier had a wife and child. In "Lord of the flies" an action similar to this was when the boys beat Simon to death. There are also major themes of fear in both books. The men in the trenches of world war 1 were extremely frightened at an unknown enemy. the couldn't see the enemy because they were all in trenches and didn't know when they would attack. This is similar to the theme of fear in "Lord of the Flies" because they are both afraid of the unknown and don't know what they are afraid of.

After the group savagely attacks Simon it says "Surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon's dead body moved out toward the open sea"
When Paul kills the French soldier he says "Comrade, I did not want to kill you. . . . But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. . . . I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony—Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?"

Character Analysis

In the novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" the main character and narrator, Paul, does a lot of thinking about the purpose of the war. He can be compared to Piggy from "Lord of the Flies" because they both question the actions of others. From the beginning of "Lord of the Flies" Piggy has been a silent leader and often questions the morality of others actions. He is one of the only boys who realize the change of the rest of the people on the island. He understands that the boys are slowly becoming less civilized and ritualistic. He also questions the barbaric nature of the hunt and other activities. Piggy also realizes the power of certain of objects like the conch or his glasses. Many of these aspects can be compared to Paul from "All Quiet on the Western front". He sees the importance of many things and their influence on the men. As the story progresses Paul also questions the legitimacy and morality of the war. He establishes that the people on the other side of the trenches are just like them and they shouldn't be the enemy. He also sees the pain, suffering and inhumanity of the war. This can also be compared to Piggy because he too questions the harsh actions of others in their forced environment.

During a meeting of the conch Piggy shouts “Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”. This shows Piggy's understand of whats actually going on
The conch shell in "Lord of the flies" is used to call meeting and is therefore a symbol of power within the group


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