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Questions of Victorian Ideas of Masculinity and Femininity By: Conlan Shiono Due: 3/14/08 Both All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Sofia Petrovna by Lydia Chukovskaya raised questions and formulated new ideas that concerned Victorian ideals about masculinity and femininity. Remarque’s descriptions of the German soldiers in World War I as emotional and timid being part of the “Lost Generation” contrasted Victorian masculinity that concerned men who formed the background as strong supporters, financially, to their families. Not only that, but Chukovskaya’s depictions of women facing the terrors of the Great Purge as aggressive and courageous problem-solvers independent of men contrasted Victorian views on femininity. The impact of terror and war during twentieth-century Europe erased all views of Victorian ideals of masculinity and femininity and showed that middle-class differences between women and men happened to be obsolete. Remarque’s portrayal of the German soldiers in World War I greatly contrasted the Victorian ideals in the middle class. Around the middle of the nineteenth century, men had considered themselves as the wage earners in factories and also the main supporters of their families. Remarque contrasted these ideas by describing Paul Baumer and his fellow soldiers as part of the “Lost Generation” due to the fact that the youth of the military did not have anything to return to back at home while the older soldiers had past jobs they could resume and look forward to. Work to the middle-class towards Victorian ideals of masculinity became important to judge one another and find status among others. When the young teenage soldiers of World War I returned home, the lost years of the war they sadly became apart of and the ideal of being a soldier first further
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hurt the young men’s status to assimilate themselves back into Victorian models of masculinity. Paul and all the soldiers who fought in World War I grew up knowing only of the strong presence of war and little of anything else. Remarque’s description of the
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