The book Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo totally changed my perception of war. Before I read this book, I was in favor of war whenever it was necessary. But now I realize that war should be the last resort used because of all of the repercussions. This book takes place during World War I, and at that time, people thought the war was a duty, noble, and glamorous. But in reality, it was nothing like that at all. Unfortunately, war has and always will be a part of our culture because of the disagreements between nations. As a society, we have not gotten to the point where we can solve disputes without bloodshed. The world will be a much better place to live in when we finally do because it will be more peaceful.
The young men who fought in wars were told their entire lives that it was their duty to fight for their country. When they were growing up, their families and communities instilled in them that a real man fights for his country. So when a young man came back from the war, he was finally treated like a man. They believed that killing others and putting your life on the line for your country made you a man. This is exactly what happened to Joe; he was told that it was what he was born to do. So he believed everyone and fought in a war that he never believed in. Most of the young men sent to war were only in their late teens to early twenties. Also, a young man who didnï¿½t fights in the war was looked down upon because everyone thought he was afraid.
In society, during World War I, almost the entire country supported the war because they had grown up being taught that war was not a bad thing but instead a necessity. Our society is no longer like that today because now the war is looked upon as meaningless. Now our society is more open, and people can speak their minds without repercussions. Now some many anti-war groups and coalitions are opposed to all war in general. Unfortunately, back when the book took place, few groups lobbied to stop the war.
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To fight for your country was perceived by many at the time to be a noble thing, but there was nothing noble about what happened to Joe Bonham. When he was sent off to fight in World War I, he was full of dreams of victory and pride, but he was severely wounded when he fought in the war, and all of that changed. Joe then awoke in a hospital without his arms, legs, or face. What happened was the worst possible outcome that could have occurred to Joe because he became a vegetable. Once he lost his limbs, he no longer had any dignity because he could no longer interact with other humans. So it was the authorï¿½s idea of the worst-case scenario that could have occurred to a soldier who was injured.
The description of his injuries gave the reader a picture of what it would be like to have lived with no legs, arms, or face. It was a gruesome thought that helped personalize the story by making the reader feel bad for the main character. At this time, many perceived fighting in a war to be noble, but it was anything but noble for most of the soldiers. Television shows, movies, and books had glamorized war, but that was not the truth. This book showed the harsh reality of war that most people didnï¿½t know existed at the time. War is something that no man should ever hope for, but young men were told that it was glorious to fight for their country. The reality was that they put their lives on the line every day to fight for their country. It may have been heroic but definitely not glamorous to kill another human.
In some cases, soldiers in wars had severe mental problems when they returned home from war because of the brutality they saw. When Joe finally became conscious of his surroundings, he realized what had happened to him. Due to his injuries, Joe was isolated from the rest of the world. This made it so that he didnï¿½t even know if he was awake or sleeping. He kept having flashbacks to the war and his life previous to the war. Then when he realized that his life was over, he wanted to end it, but he had no power to. He told others through morse code, but they denied him death. The life that Joe Bonham led after his injuries was glamorous but instead the worst possible way to live.
When I originally started reading this book, I thought that war was necessary for keeping other countries in order. Still, now I realize that war serves no purpose whatsoever. It is just a waste of resources and life that could be better used. I still believe that we should have an army to protect us, but I now feel that we should use more restraint when sending in military force. In most cases, it is not necessary to shed blood in other countries. I believe that our army should only be used in extreme cases when there is no other solution.
In most cases, it would be possible to resolve a problem without fighting, but it is easier to fight over it. Which unfortunately happens far too often in our society. Plus, now, with all of the nuclear weapons that have been created, another huge war could end the world. Obviously, this is not a good solution, which is why we must find other ways to solve our disputes. This book changed my attitude towards war and the men who fight in them.
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