"I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow." Paul can hardly be blamed for his negative outlook on life. Thankfully, many of us know nothing of war and therefore have a better outlook on life. What could be featured in a paragraph describing what you know of life at your young age?

Expert Answers

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I think that what can be done here is to express how Paul's emotional experience can be universally appreciated.  Certainly, few could say that they "get" what Paul is talking about.  His experience in war and what he witnessed puts him in a different place and a different setting than anyone else.  However, part of his experience is rooted in betrayal.  Like so many others, he was led to believe something that was not true.  He was deceived and his revelation is a part of his war experience.  Another aspect of his emotional experience is the sense of hopelessness in his condition.  Paul recognizes that the condition of war is one in which there is little in way of hope and redemption, causing him to embrace such a bleak outlook on being in the world.

The experiences of betrayal and hopelessness are emotional experiences that can link to Paul's.  Our experiences might not be on the same level as his or any soldier that had to endure what war presents.  Yet, in writing about what we know of life at our (relatively) young age, we can talk about the same emotional experiences that we share with Paul.  In being able to talk about moments in our lives when we were betrayed and when we were left without hope, our outlook on life can find some reverberations with Paul's.

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