How does propaganda affect child soldiers?
The Marleyan military selects children to inherit the titan’s powers. These children are called warrior-candidates. Warrior-candidates are brought up to engage in conflict and destroy the enemies of Marley when called on. Raised to believe that Eldians are inherently evil and a race that must be destroyed, these child soldiers must prove their loyalty to Marley and show the world that they are good Eldians.
Putting to one side how problematic having to prove to someone that you are a good person is (it’s impossible when it’s being used for manipulative purposes), these child soldiers are pushed to their limits. They face more stress then the normal Eldians locked away in Marley to begin with. The weight of expectations put on them is enormous. They are in an impossible position, where any notion of self determination cannot be made.
If they do not fight they cannot prove they are good Eldians.
When Eren attacks Marley it comes as no surprise that Gabi snaps. She loses the ability to rationally engage with the situation at hand. If the Eldians on Paradis island are all devils, Eren Jaeger is the most evil of all the Eldian spawn. Picking up the rifle of a fallen soldier Gabi stupidly tries to engage the airship that the Scouts are using to escape. She manages to climb aboard, and shoots Sasha. This in turn leads to a fatal wounding from which Sasha dies from.
Gabi thinking she has won a huge victory for Marley isn’t worried about the consequences in the slightest. This is what she has been raised and trained for. If she doesn’t take this moment, when will she take the moment? It’s now or never to prove she is a good Eldian, as opposed to the Eldian devil she has just killed.
Gabi cannot accept the idea that Eldians on Paradis island are just normal people.
Consumed with the idea that the people on Paradis island are going to kill her, Gabi uses every method available to her to escape and somehow return to Marley. She bludgeons a prison guard who seems concerned about her well being. She escapes and plans on stealing a horse to get further distance from prison and her would-be pursuers. She is living in a fantasy she has created in her mind, pushed onto her by the Marleyan military brass. Escape, evade, survive and kill anyone who gets in your way.
She refuses to remove her armband that identifies her as an Eldian. She doesn’t want to eat food with or acknowledge the kindness that the Eldians at the stables provide her with. The idea that she has to live under the same roof as these devils plays into her mind over and over again. She refuses to let go of that mentality, despite the reality in front of her. Nobody here wants to hurt her, they only see a lost child in need of help.
Of course it’s only a matter of time that the cat is out of the bag, and we discover that the people she had been living with were the parents of the soldier she killed. She doesn’t show any remorse for the actions she has taken. She is only more convinced she did the right thing and killing Eldians is still the right thing to do. She is only more surprised when the Eldians around her seem to forgive her for what she has done, with a few exceptions. Her mind is so warped she can only see the world in terms of kill or be killed.
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