Beyond The Lines: Meaning Of The Paper Men

“Being a soldier requires more than just courage. It is sacrificing yourself for something greater than yourself.”

The soldiers swiftly raced through the battlefield with a valiant effort to keep going. It was World War II. The paper soldiers plummeted one by one on the battlefield. Their faces covered with random letters and paper. Gunshots cracked into the air as thunder but without the raw power of a storm. The ground was burnished with entrails and a slicky odor rose up from it. The sky was full of tumultuous, dark and ragged clouds, flying around were the letters of the restless soldiers. Berry-red blood squirted from their wounds like a stepped-on-juice box.

These were the paper men.

In the short animated film, these paper men represented the gritted soldiers who sacrificed themselves for others. I think the reason why they are called the “paper men” is because of the ripped, and half-burned papers covering up their faces. The animated story was told from this aged grandfather sharing his dreadful experience of war with his grandchildren. I think the reason these soldiers appeared as paper men was because the grandfather used to be the quartermaster. At the end of the story, when the scene switches to the grandfather, his wife, and his grandchildren, you will notice that on the old army-green box’s side, it says “Quartier-Maitre” which is french for Quartermaster. So if he were to actually be the quartermaster, then those letters were probably left with him by the soldiers. The soldiers went to fight in this hazardous war and were killed. And so, all that was left of them were the letters that they have written to their families and friends that they sacrificed their lives for.


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