Unexpected Guidance

Dying is one of the few things in the world that humans have trouble understanding. Everyone always asks the question, “Where do we end up after we die?” Some people believe one thing and some people believe others. Many of them hope that those who have passed away will look over them and help them through the hardships in life. In class this week, we created “found” poems about specific scenes in the novel All Quiet On The Western Front. One of the scenes that really stood out to me was when Paul and his friends were being bombarded in a graveyard. They were forced to take cover in graveyards that had been torn up from the flying bombs. Paul crawled underneath a dead body to protect himself, and that image made me think about how a “guardian angel” would protect its loved one.
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It is kind of odd to compare such a violent and gruesome scene to something that is generally a sign of protection and comfort, however the dead soldiers reminded me of angels.They were like signs of safety to the people not fighting in the war like women and children. Usually, when someone thinks of an angel, they think of things like halos, white robes, and magnificent wings. But overall, an angel is someone who has died and is now looking over his or her loved ones. The deceased soldiers were similar to angels in that way. Those soldiers had fought till death and they still hadn’t been able to escape the horrors of war. Although they had died, they were still able to make a difference for the ones who were still alive. That soldier that Paul crawled under provided him a shelter from the terrors of flying bombs and poisonous gas. Without it, he probably would have died. This also reminded me of a movie that I watched when I was little called Angels In The Outfield.
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It is about a young foster boy, Roger, who wished for a real family of his own. His widower father sarcastically says that he’ll get a family only if “the Angels win the pennant.” At that time, the Angels were playing terribly, but Roger took his father’s words literally and prayed for a miracle to happen. Hearing Roger’s prayers, a group of angels were assigned to make his wish come true. He was the only one who was able to see the angels because he was the only one that truly believed in miracles. I think that believing in something is very important, because it allows for hope in the worst of times. Like Roger, Paul and his friends have a wish. Their wish is for the war to end and for them to still be alive to see it. But if they do die, they will hope to be an image of a “guardian angel” to other soldiers fighting in the war, so that they will be able to continue fighting to live another day.

-Lina

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