Recently I watched the movie, Paths of Glory, an anti-war film that stirred many emotions in me. I had an epiphany when reaching the end of the story. And it was the fact that war is real. Teenagers with no experience in such raw violence tend to forget this fact, myself included. It has always been me and my own little world, oblivious to what is really going on. So after learning more about WWI, and the different fronts the countries fought in, I realized that there was more than one front that soldiers had to fight with.
It’s amazing, truly, to see how resilient soldiers are. They had the stamina to fight both physically and mentally; in the west and eastern fronts they fought, but also with their outward front – how they expressed themselves. In All Quiet On the Western Front the author describes the pain of regaining a life outside of being a soldier, and it is exactly the kind of “front” I am talking about. Some who fought in WWI maintained a calm face just to retain sanity, and this facade is the only thing keeping their consciousness together.
Now looking at a modern perspective, people enforce the idea of taking off the mask we wear or to “be ourselves”. But what if that takes away our sanity? Our moral? The general idea is: humans has such a large emotional capacity that when it is overwhelmed, we mask ourselves to maintain order. In Paths of Glory, the men in the tavern cry when hearing a woman sing. To them, the song took off their stoic mask towards war and brought them to tears. If there ever is a facade a person is putting up, wait for them to finish their own battle before trying to do anything. Because him/her could be fighting more than one front.