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All The Light We Cannot See: How Werner Has Lost His Soul

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The novel by Anthony Doerr named all the Light We Cannot See was published in 2014; this novel has portrayed the time of World War II. The main characters of the novel are Frank Volkheimer, Marie-Laure, Dr Hauptmann, Frederick, Jutta, and Etienne LeBlanc (Doerr & Zach). These characters have lost their relations or another aspect just due to the suffering of war. This paper will mainly focus on the phrase that is said by Werner that he has lost his soul in war, but regardless of war he lost his soul in many ways quite earlier than war. These words are interconnected to the relationship of Werner with each of the characters in the novel.

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All the light we cannot see is the story based on two teenagers called Werner Pfenning and Marie-Laure, the novel has portrayed the time of WWII. Marie is described as the curious, French girl who is blind and her father is the locksmith in the museum of Paris (Doerr & Zach). Werner is interested in mathematics and science and therefore he got enlisted in the Nazi army for the purpose of busting the radio broadcast of terrorists. Both Marie and Werner run away at Uncle Etienne’s house for hiding a priceless diamond. But they both are somehow separated due to the impact of war and met in the end when Werner saves the life of Marie and scarifies his own life.

This novel is unexpected as it doesn’t show the experience of wartime but it’s about the choices that are made by the characters of novel regarding the souls that are lost in the living and the dead (Doerr & Zach). They all have been through many of the situations and circumstances that have made them lose their souls. As Werner wanted to use his skills of math and science for making the world a better place and to make people benefit from the knowledge he has but instead of these he has to made himself so all the wrong things because he was being forced and the way Werner was tested in schools and his decency has snuff out the light that has resulted in making him a good and special boy (Doerr & Zach). He is saying that he has lost is soul many times and in many ways, because he lets himself get seduced by the power that was bestowed upon him newly. Even he was so much of the selfish or helpless that he was unable to stop the system that was elevating him to ruin his own best friend.

At one of the occasions when Fredrick was demanding to throw the freezing water on the Soviet prisoner who was dying, he looks straight and thought that the stars are burning, and the prisoners are swaying and the boys helplessly watched as the commander while tilting his head pour the water on the ground instead stating that he will not. This was the cruelty and there was also the demand for the blind obedience from Werner, in the Nazi training school Fredrick was physically abused by his own classmates to the extent of the neurological damage and after this he was sent home from school and after this incident Werner became desperate to make Fredrick open up and to allow him to for being enlightened at the basement of the bombed hotel, as well as it made him realize his own convictions (Doerr & Zach). Werner was been suffering because of his friend’s suffering. He has felt relief. Fredrick always had perused love but ended up in being physically crippled but still, he was pure at heart. But in contrast, Werner was having personal convenience and gain. This in return causes him to have loosened the sense of self this leads to hurting his relationship with his beloved sister Jutta, he has been risking his beloved and therefore kit feels like he has lost his soul several times before while making his decisions for personal interest and gain.

Jutta was the only one who had challenged the unruly ambition of Werner. He was ignoring his heart and when he follows the advice of Jutta, he finally ended up in love with Marie-Laure, this was what his soul was calling for earlier that he was not listening and he realizes that it was the light that was within. When Werner was being trained at the Nazi school he was thinking that he is succeeding and doing what is loved by every individual but somewhere his soul was not satisfied he felt that something or some aspect is missing, he kept on continuously asking himself that he is was rejecting the innermost cry of the soul and that was wrong because he was being brutal to humanity.

In the end, Marie was saved by Werner as he didn’t deny that saving her according to him will make his soul feel contented and satisfied as he wanted to die as a soul free of burdens and regrets. The love that is showed between Marie and Werner is not the romantic one they both have supported each other in making them direct on the right path especially Marie had made Werner realize that he was not accepting that his soul was not satisfied there was something missing for he was on the wrong direction. She instructed him and supported him the right way to let him die as a free soul with no burdens.

The things and actions due to which Wren was just suffering even though he was thinking that he is making right decisions with his friend Fredrick, sister Jutta and love Marie but he was making all suffer as he was not taking all the steps and decisions for his own convenience and gain, therefore, he felt like he has lost his soul many times before the sufferings of war because he was ignoring that cry of his soul and felt something is missing. At the time when he wrote the letter to his sister for describing the view of ocean he was very much haunted by the killing of the little girl in Vienna and he really felt much of relief in that ocean that his soul was burdened with the damage of German war machines and the beauty of the ocean made him to put all the human problems to put in perspectives. This shows that every time he was exposed to all the damage and sufferings of humanity his soul becomes restless.

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While he kept on perusing the inhumane activities he kept on losing his soul with certain guilt and regret but as soon as he realizes that what he was been ignoring and making wrong. Marie made him realize what was wrong with him and what he really needs to listen to and concentrate on (Doerr & Zach). He knew when he was sacrificing his life for Marie that he is now following the correct direction and this doesn’t make him lose his soul as he was on the path that has satisfied his soul.

Work Cited

  • Doerr, Anthony, and Zach Appelman. All the light we cannot see. London: Fourth Estate, 2014.

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