War, the waging of armed conflict against an enemy, (as described in the dictionary), made the world a time of major destruction from 1914 to 1918. World War 1, aka The Great War, was a time of bloody battles. The problem being, those that were killed were never really recognized beyond having fought for their country. One of the most memorable characters in the story All Quiet On the Western Front is a French soldier named Gerard Duval, because he symbolizes the millions of good people that lost their lives during the Great War.

All soldiers in the war were trained not to care about anything but war itself, and to only pay attention to the main objective they must complete. The French solider Gerard Duval was a looking glass for Paul. Gerard Duval was a key part of the story, he allowed Paul to witness the terrors of the war first hand. Before Paul had his encounter with Gerard, he was basically making opinions based on things he saw, and heard.

This man helped Paul see the darker side of the war he found himself in.Paul and the other soldiers could care less as to whom they were killing with their guns, as did the rest of the soldiers on the OTHER side of the battle. Every day of the war, thousands of men and women died; whether they were participating or not. The soldiers in the war were trained to not pay attention to the horrible things happening right under their noses. The first hand account that Gerard provided Paul was very key in the change of Paul’s perspective on the war as a whole.

This made him feel extremely emotional for the time he spent in the shot hole after Paul had killed Gerard. If Gerard had not fallen into the hole, and Paul hadn’t stabbed him 4 times in the chest, Paul’s outlook on the war would have been exactly the same as it was before; he would have been one of the carless men running around with a gun. This French soldier was a man with a wife and child back home, and more than likely was the sole provider. In Paul’s family he was the man of the house.

He was responsible for bringing home the hard earns pay everyday for is mom and his sister.Gerard and his family were poor, as were about 90% of the other soldiers in the war. When the news of Gerards death reached their town, it put the families home in danger and put his family on the street. In those times, women very rarely owned homes on their own.

Killing Gerard was in Paul’s mind, killing a mirror image of him. The most memorable character in the story All Quiet On the Western Front by far is the French soldier Gerard Duval. He truly stands for the millions of good people that lost their lives during the Great War.He, as countless of others, were put into this war unwillingly, and fought not for their country, but for their lives.

The amount of disrespect soldiers are shown in war is unjustifiable, and this one scene proves it. It takes Paul into another mind frame, and it’s why this moment in time is truly significant. This is the moment when Paul finally realizes what he has done. Soldiers are trained to become emotionless robots. Paul briefly breaks that conditioning and sees the true terror, thanks to Gerard Duval, the French solider he did not want to kill, but had to.