Examine how have the young mens' attitudes towards war changed.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Over the course of the narrative, it becomes clear that the young men begin to see the true horrors of war.  The patriotic fervor that adults like Kantorek inject into the young men are radically challenged by their experience in World War I.   War is not seen as patriotic or nationalistic.  It is not seen as romantic idealism.  It is not seen as a heroic experience of triumph.  Rather, the men see war for what it is.  War becomes a brutal experience, one in which basic rations are absent, unsanitary conditions exist, and the most horrific of sights are experienced.  War transforms these men from creatures of hope and promise to ones of forlorn despair.  The young mens' attitudes towards war changes because they are able to see the World War I experience from a first- hand account.  This transforms them, changing them from ones who would openly accept what is being presented to one that no longer believe in either the cause for which they supposedly fight or those in the position of power who seek to continue the senseless slaughter for something so little.  In this, the young mens' attitudes have fundamentally changed over the course of the narrative from a hopeful embrace of the conditional to a brutal acceptance of what is.


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