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April 29, 2008

*Dalton Trumbo - Questioning *Johnny Got His Gun*


Image Source:http://images.broadwayworld.com/columnpic/DaltonTrumbo.jpg


Students . . .

. . . If you are submitting to this blog post for your final exam, remember to add a few comments (after a line separator) at the END of your entry after the works cited (should be the FINAL, not first, revision of your term paper) explaining why this post was one of the most appropriate to your paper's topic/thesis. Don't forget that you need to do this for two blog entries and you need to submit a paragraph informing me of which two blog entries you submitted to and an explanation why to turnitin.com. All of these steps need to be completed to get credit for the final exam.

Good luck,

Dr. Hobbs

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats

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Image Source: http://www.agrayspace.com/posters/polish1/JOHNNY_GOT_HIS_GUN_1971.jpg
From: A Polish Poster of the 1971 film release of Johnny Got His Gun

*FROM an earlier class meeting*

Please put your assignment in the comment box below. The full lesson plan of the meeting follows:

As you came in, I played American patriotic songs from the WWI time period. Of note is the song, "Over There." I urge you to google the song on YouTube--there are many tribute videos--and to look up the lyrics. Why is the title of Trumbo's novel connected to this song?

We then moved into our weekly free-write session. As ever, it is an exercise designed to warm-up your brain for the night's discussion and to give you something to think about as you search for a topic to write about for the final research paper. This time, we were actually able to work your responses into the night's discussion, even if it was for only a few minutes. You wrote on ONE of the following writing prompts of your choice:

1. Liberty – Without consulting your dictionary, what is “liberty”? Explain it as if to a child. Does the child have liberty? Do you? Is it something you want/wish for/believe in? Think about the pure meaning of liberty. Is this something good for everyone? If it were yours to give, would you give it to anyone? Why or why not?

2. Democracy - Without consulting your dictionary, what is “democracy”? Explain it as if to a child. Does the child live in a democratic environment? Do you? Is it something you want/wish for/believe in? Think about the pure meaning of democracy. Is this something good for everyone? If it were yours to give, would you give it to anyone? Why or why not?

3. Decency – Without consulting your dictionary, what is “decency”? Explain it as if to a child. Who gets to decide what is “decent” and what isn’t for everyone? Are you okay with someone else deciding what is decent for you? If you were “king/queen,” do you think others might be comfortable living under your own standards of decency? Why or why not?


We then had our weekly reading-check quiz which was built from 10 questions from “Book I,” chapters 1-10 of Trumbo's novel (1 question from each). There were two sets of 5 questions (staggered) and you answered the questions assigned to your group number (either group 1 or group 2). The questions, which like all quiz questions could find their way back to the mid-term exam, are below:

Group 1's Questions

(1). From Chapter 1:

What was the bell that Joe kept “hearing”?

(2). From Chapter 3:

Why is Joe in the military (fighting in WWI)?

(3). From Chapter 5:

Why can’t Joe scream from his hospital bed?

(4). From Chapter 7:

Does Joe think it is a good thing for maggots to get in a wound? Why or why not?

(5). From Chapter 9:

What was the “terrible thing” that happened with Bill Harper on the rowboat?

Group 2's Questions

(6). From Chapter 2:

Who or what was “Lincoln Beechy”?

(7). From Chapter 4:

What do Joe and Howie have in common regarding Glen Hogan?

(8). From Chapter 6:

Why did Jose come to California? What reason did he give Joe?

(9). From Chapter 8:

Why does Joe feel that “the nurse” is his friend?

(10). From Chapter 10:

Briefly identify Joe’s position on the group of words “liberty, democracy, and decency.”


As usual, the quizzes are pass/fail, counting 1 point (if you got a pass) toward the total 10 points/10 percent of your final grade. For this quiz, you needed to answer three questions correctly (the majority) to get a "pass."

I then demonstrated, on the doc cam, one technique of how to “read” a book, usually for the second time around, with a highlighter and pen, taking careful note to circle/highlight words you don't know and writing your thoughts in the margin. This technique is very useful later when you will need to consult your text, for example, for a research writing assignment. We will, as you know, be writing a final research paper for this course. If you aren't comfortable writing in your book, I recommend the smaller version of the "post-it" notes.

I then lead a whole-class open discussion on Chapters 1-10 of Trumbo, as an example of what I just told you, relying solely on the notes scribbled in my book. We didn't get through all 10 chapters, but I think you got the point of the exercise as class discussion was very participative. We will try different things in different meetings to shake things up a bit. Since you are adults in a once-a-week evening course, I will expect that you have done the readings before you come to the class meeting and that we don't always have to do pair-work or group-work to discuss the novel.

During the break you collected your quizzes while I set up a DVD to show clips from the 1970s film adaptation of Trumbo's novel. You also signed up for one of the remaining chapters (11-20) both on the marker-board and on a sign-up sheet at the front of the class room. Assignment details are repeated at the end of this blog:

After the break, I demonstrated where the database of questions we have developed for the course so far are located online on J-Web. I have reminded you about these several times, so you have every reason to perform very well on the midterm exam

I then showed some selected Film Clips from the film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun. I wish we would have time to see more--there are some interesting scenes. But, we can only get so much done in 2.5 hours.

During the screening, I wanted you to think about and take notes on the following concepts: How are things portrayed differently in the film adaptation than in the original novel version? If I don't say this in the future, this is something that I'd always like you to consider if and when I screen film-clips

I then formed groups out of the four big tables and asked you to participate in one more discussion question, one that helped fulfill one of the goals of the course and, hopefully, also answered the question of one student: "why did you have us read this book?"

Discussion Question: One of the goals of this course, as stated in the syllabus, is to be able to identify “multiple perspectives.” What multiple perspectives can we find demonstrated, so far, in Johnny Got His Gun? One table, discuss perspectives of "War"; another, "Democracy"; another "Decency"; and another the usefulness of invalid/paraplegics (especially as represented by Trumbo) to society.

Reading Response Instructions:

*Each person will write four questions about "their" chapter (the one you signed up for--two per chapter).

*One question should be a true/false question;

*the second should be a multiple choice question;

*the third should be a short answer question (think short, like fill-in-the-blank short, e.g. “Why is Dorothy trying to reach Oz?”);

*and the final question should be a discussion question. Discussion questions are ones that take a little thought and, at least, a good paragraph to answer. Look at the kinds of discussion questions we have been working with so far in the course for examples.

*Finally, you should provide the correct “answer” for each question. For the discussion question, you can start your answer with “In my opinion” but provide page numbers from the text as evidence to support your theory.

*This is your “reading response” for the week. Be sure to post first on Turnitin.com and then the English-Blog.

*This time, I will try to “release” the comments on the blog for public view as they come in. So, be sure to check the whole post (comments are on the bottom) before you begin to write. If you see that someone has already posted for the same chapter you are doing, be sure that your questions aren’t exactly the same (no duplicates).

*Note: in addition to the questions we have already done for this class (they are listed on J-Web), I will also draw from them for the mid-term (remember, we aren’t having a quiz that day). I may also draw from them to discuss in our next class meeting, so be sure they are really interesting. Make the question center on something YOU would like to talk about more. See the samples I put below in the comments section if you need a model to help you get started

Of course, finish reading “Book II” of Dalton Trumbo's novel, chapters 11-20 (AND) read new stuff on J-Web. These include:

* “One” by Metallica (lyrics and video). Print the lyric sheet and
* Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” Print the “Allegory of the Cave” and the accompanying pictures.

First read the lyrics to the song (found as a weblink here and on the handouts page--print) and then watch the video. Its about eight minutes.


Here's a "Karaoke" version, if you have problems "hearing" the lyrics. There's no video footage, but the song sounds clearer and the words are flashed in front of the screen. Watch the other one first.


Remember that there will be a free “Write Aid” research paper workshop Thursday night in the SHU Writing Center (fifth floor of Admin Building). You must RSVP them before showing up. See the group e-mail I sent the class.

Study for midterm which will take place in our next meeting as the first activity – no separate quiz on the day of the midterm. Questions normally asked for that day (on the final bit of Trumbo) will be on the midterm. So, you’ll still have to prepare as if you were going to have a quiz. I’ll choose a few questions from the ones you design. The rest will come from the questions on the database of J-Web (drawn from questions asked by in lectures, quizzes, group and paired activities, and homework, etc.). You can expect a variety of question "types." This is what has been posted on both the turnitin.com site and J-Web form for weeks now (those of you who actually check it, don't need to re-read it):

Midterm Examination will be administered in class on March 12. Please note, per the terms of the syllabus, that it will count towards 10 percent of your final grade. Be prepared to answer any quiz questions, in-class discussion questions, and concepts/vocabulary presented in lectures and group work activities from the FIRST HALF of the semester. One scenario would be a quiz with 10 questions counting 1 point each. Another could be a quiz with 20 questions counting .5 points each. Questions could be short answer, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, or a combination of all types.

Happy writing, happy studying, happy reading.

See you in our next meeting,

Lee Hobbs

*NOTE: As with all reading responses submitted to the English-Blog for EL 267, you must first submit the response to the proper space on www.turnitin.com (the date for which it was assigned). To get credit, the response must be present in both places by the deadline. Submissions to only one will not receive credit, so beware!

Posted by lhobbs at April 29, 2008 11:53 PM

Readers' Comments:

SAMPLE Questons--Note: You are working with Trumbo's novel, not The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Question 1:

True or False. In Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's last name is "Storm"

Answer:False (Her last name was "Gale")

Question 2:

Multiple Choice. In Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodsman would like the great Oz to give him:

(a) a brain
(b) courage
(c) a heart
(d) all of the above
(e) none of the above

Answer: (c)

Question 3:

Short answer. In Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (I am referring to the book, not the film adaptation), what color were the special shoes that Dorothy inherited?

Answer: Silver

Question 4:

Discussion. In Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy makes both a literal journey and a symbolic journey. There may be more than one symbolic journey and each may be interpreted different ways. Briefly describe the literal journey (in approx. one sentence or more), and then suggest ONE symbolic journey for Dorothy.

Answer. (NOTE: answers may vary in a discussion question, but I will be looking for evidence of critical thinking and and "engagement" with the text)

After a Kansas tornado relocates her house to another world, Dorothy, with the help of some friends she meets along the way, wants nothing more than to find her way home. To do that, she must first find the "Wizard" of Oz and ask him for his help.

In my opinion, one metaphor for Dorothy's desire to "find home" suggests that she is "lost." Perhaps, not as lost as "The Lost Generation," but she can't quite find her way in life. She is lost emotionally or, at least, temporarily disoriented emotionally. She is a young girl but she is facing the prospect that she must soon grow up--a "scary" proposition. On this adventure, Dorothy fnds herself alone, perhaps for the first time, and without the hand-holding of her "real" family and friends; to move forward, she must figure out how to both survive and find her way on her own. Along the way, she learns the importance of wit, sensitivity, and bravery, as well as perserverance, as "notable" pro-survivial traits that can get her through most any mess she finds herself in. Like a knight searching for the grail, several aspects of her character are tested. Her previous role as an immature young child normally doted on and looked after by the farmhands, etc. is transformed into one of a nurturer, where she, in effect, becomes a substitute mother or caretaker to not only her helpless little dog, but also to her three friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion, all very pure and "child-like" in their own ways. The Wicked Witch, who stands in the way of her literal journey, may also represent all of her fears: fear of failure, fear to reachieve the sense of balance and harmony in the world she felt BEFORE the whirlwind "gale" that disrupted her initial sense of security. The Good Witch, who only pops up when needed most, may represent either her conscience or survival instinct or both; she reminds Dorothy that the answers can be found within not without. Along the road to Oz, at times, she must assume a leadership role: stand up to/tell off the witch, take down the scarecrow, oil the Tin Woodsman, and either shame or encourage the Lion when necessary. In effect, Dorothy's symbolic journey is one from childhood to either adolescence or provisional adulthood.

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See how easy that was?

Ok, I look forward to reading "your" questions. You see the standard I'm looking for, so come up with some good ones. My only stipulation is that you don't insult me or the class with joke questions. Try to imagine that you are a teacher and designing questions that will challenge your student to really think about what he or she has read and demonstrate that he or she has effectively done so.

Good Luck!

~Lee

Posted by: Lee Hobbs at March 7, 2008 09:31 AM

1. In the beginning of chapter 4, Joe feels hot because of a memory of being at the beach with his family.
FALSE: he has a memory of working on the railroad in the desert

2. In this chapter, Joe’s memory reveals that during that summer, he lost his
(a) girlfriend
(b) family
(c) best friend
(d) a and c
(e) b and c

3. After Joe sees Diane and Bill Harper kiss on her porch, what does he do?
ANSWER: cries in his bed

4. What is the literary significance of using Joe’s memories as a means of narrating the story?

Initially, it is difficult for the reader to determine what is really happening, and what is just a memory or dream. “It was hot. So hot that he seemed to be burning up inside and our…He and Howie were working there in the hot sun laying that railroad straight through the Uintah desert” (Trumbo 40). This is significant for it gives the reader a sense of what Joe is going through; he also can’t determine what’s reality and what’s a memory. Not only do Joe’s memories serve to give the reader vital information that they wouldn’t get otherwise, but it makes the story more realistic. Joe literally has nothing else to do. At this point, he has no way to communicate with anyone. He has no ears, no eyes, no arms, and no legs. His memories provide an escape from his current state of nothingness.

Joe’s memories serve to evoke sympathy in readers. Through his depiction of Joe’s memories, Trumbo makes sure that the reader understands that Joe is a real person; he has had a past, a family, friends, and girlfriend whom he loved very much. He is not just another soldier lucky to be alive. He is not just the “dead man” who lives. He makes the readers angry that something so horrifying happened to a man who didn’t deserve it. Sure readers know that these things happen, but what are the chances that they’ve ever come in close contact with someone who it has happened to? What are the chances that they got the opportunity to go inside the head of someone injured at war to the extent that Joe has been injured? It makes something very impersonal like war in other countries, seem a little more personal.

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Thank you Chera!

~Lee

Posted by: Chera P. at March 8, 2008 08:23 PM

T. Wineland
American Literature 1915-Present
Professor Lee Hobbs
March 5, 2008

Johnny Got His Gun – Chapter 11

1. True/False.
While testing his memory, Joe was able to recall all eight of the planets.

Answer: False. He could only recall five: Earth, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury.

2. Multiple Choice.
To whom does Joe compare himself in his current condition?

a. a slave
b. a baby
c. a helpless animal
d. his father

3. Short Answer.
How does Joe use his skin to tell time?

Joe is able to feel the warmth of the sunrise on his neck and know that it is morning.

4. Essay Question.
Explain the significance of time in relation to Joe’s outlook on life?

In my opinion Joe believed that if he didn’t know the time he was lost and that knowing time would keep him in the world (126). He felt that time was his last tie to other people and if it were gone he would be all alone (126). When he was able to grasp the general time of day he praised God (139) and was then able to relax and lose himself in peaceful thoughts of mornings back home (138). I think time gave Joe a place in the world in the sense that he knew it to be concrete and not a dream. Joe proved that he was not worthless in the world but very much a part of it.


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Good questions. I really like 3 and 4!

~Lee

Posted by: T. Wineland at March 10, 2008 04:54 PM

Chapter 20:

Question: 1. True of False.
Joe has not found a way to communicate with the outside world.

Answer: 1. False, Joe has found a way to communicate with outsiders and doctors.


Question: 2. In chapter 19, Joe poses a very important question to someone that doesn’t answer him until Chapter 20, who is it?
A. The Nurse
B. The Doctor
C. The Morse Code Man
D. Kareen

Answer: 2. C, Joe asks the Morse Code Man if they could use him as a freak exhibit, “the dead-man-who-is-alive… the-live-man-who-is-dead”, in hopes of showing people essentially what really happens when you go to war.


Question: 3. What do the doctors do to Joe, that makes him quit asking questions and trying to talk?

Answer: 3. The doctors sedate him


Question: 4. Explain the conflict(s) that Joe is feeling in this chapter.

Answer: 4. In chapter 20, I believe that Joe is experiencing two types of conflict. The first conflict consists of Joe vs. the Morse Code Man. The reason for this is because Joe feels that he should have a say in what is done with his body, and he also feels that he should be allowed to make an exhibit of himself, but when morse code man tells him “WHAT YOU ASK IS AGAINST REGULATIONS WHO ARE YOU?”, all of Joe’s fait and hope is crushed and he finds himself no longer paying attention to them (Trumbo 234-235). The second conflict consists of Joe vs. the war. Joe feels that the war’s perception is so drastically different then the actual reality of being in war. He wants people to realize that it is not all about showing liberty and serving your country, but rather the dark, violent, grotesque realities that war actually entails, and he struggles to deal with his reality of not being able to warn and share his war experiences with others.


Thomas A.


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Great job Thomas. I can tell you put some thought into this!

~Lee

Posted by: Thomas A. at March 10, 2008 06:03 PM

1.) True or False (Please write out the word true if the answer is true or false is the answer is false).
The woman in chapter sixteen is crying for her lost boy who Joe identifies as “Christ”.
Answer: True (Page 189)
2.) Please choose the letter that best answers the question.
The man who looked as though her were a Swede in chapter 16 told Christ he wished he had a drink. What drink does Christ make appear?
A. Beer
B. Wine
C. Whisky
D. Scotch
Answer: C (Page 190)
3.) Please complete the statement below with the correct word.
“He threw himself into the hot sand at the feet of Christ and began to ________.”
Answer: “Cry” (Page 194)
4.) Briefly discuss whether you agree Joe’s fate is worse than death, why or why not?

In my opinion, Joe’s fate is worse than death. He may still be technically living; he cannot walk, touch things, speak, or hear. What kind of life would it be if no one could understand you or your pain? You wouldn’t be able to do much with your life but lie around and hope that someone would take the time to see you. It is like you’re permanently stuck in the same place, where as in death you can at least move on.

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Nice work. Sounds like your final question could be worked into a paper idea that stretches across several books--think about it.

~Lee

Posted by: Samantha G. at March 10, 2008 10:27 PM

Amanda Farabaugh
English Blog (4 Questions)

Q: Does Joe struggle with the phrases “lie & lay”, “whom & who”, “between you and I & between you and me”?
True/False
A: True

Q: Joe thinks if you can keep track of something, you can get a hold on yourself and keep yourself in the world. What is he referring to?

A. Thoughts C. Time
B. Ideas D. Knowledge
A: C. Time

Q: What “fight” did he win?
A: He recaptured time, knew when it was day and night

Q: What was he struggling with all through chapter one?

A: He was struggling with the idea of time. He tried counting the seconds, minutes and hours, although those numbers would get too large and he would forget what number he was on and how many minutes and hours had passed. When he finally understood when day and night was by the touch on his skin from the sun, he was able to figure out the days. He soon then started to count how many times the nurse came into the room. He figured out that she would come to his room at eight, twelve, four, eight, twelve, and four and so on. She would change his bed clothes and sheets in the morning at eight. He finally understood time again.

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Excellent discussion question.

~Lee

Posted by: A Farabaugh at March 11, 2008 12:16 PM

English Blog Post 3
Questions

Chapter 17:

Question 1:
True or False. Joe notices early in chapter 17 that he has a new day nurse.

Answer: True. Joe imagines her as much younger than his previous day nurse.

Question 2:
Multiple Choice. What holiday greeting does the new day nurse in chapter 17 “spell out” on Joe’s chest?

A) Happy New Year
B) Merry Christmas
C) Happy Birthday
D) Happy Thanksgiving

Answer: B) Merry Christmas. Joe is very excited about knowing what time of year it is, and even more excited that this new nurse had attempted to treat him as a person and communicate with him.

Question 3:
Short Answer. What poem does Joe remember his mother reciting every Christmas Eve to his family when he was still at home?

Answer: Twas the Night Before Christmas

Question 4:
Discussion. In your opinion, why does Trumbo recite the story of the birth of Christ in its entirety and how does it relate to Joe’s current situation?

Answer: There could be many arguments as to why Trumbo recited the story of the birth of Christ and how it relates to Joe’s situation. I believe that, like with every other seemingly strange statement in this book Trumbo was trying to make a point. Christ was a very present idea in Joe’s mind at this point in that, he even admitted to praying and talking to God due to his silence. Also, Joes was, in a sense, stuffed back into the womb. The only thing he had left was feeling and thinking much like the unborn Christ. However, it is also true that Christ was a sacrifice for the betterment of mankind and to forgive sins. Therefore, Joe is sort of the same except that his point is never made due to his hushed death in the end of the book. This is, in a way, an example of irony, as Joe will never have the opportunity to have an immortal story like Christ. It is also interesting how Joe recites the story in his own words, like he is internalizing the tale as his own as if to say that he is going through the same thing.

Posted by: Candice S. at March 11, 2008 02:02 PM

Heather Stull
Professor Hobbs
EL267.01
3/11/08


Chapter 14 Questions


Question: True or False

Ruby is the name of Joe’s old friend from school who has become a prostitute.

Answer: False (167)

Question: Who is Laurette?

A. a friend from school

B. a prostitute

C. Joe’s sister

D. The first girl Joe had sex with


Answer: B She is a prostitute from Stumpy Telsa’s (168).


Question: What happens at the American House in Paris? Why is it significant to Joe?


Answer: Joe meets Lucky, one of the few American prostitutes in Paris. They form a

friendship that is comforting to Joe. Spending time in with an American presence like

Lucky helps Joe escape the alienation he feels from being in Paris (173-175).

Question: How does Dalton Trumbo use internal parallel imagery to communicate Joe’s sexual release?

Answer: Trumbo juxtaposes Joe’s sexual tension with the tension of wartime violence. Sexual language is used to describe the production of the bomb that is meant for Joe and its journey to him. The German girl is handling the shell just as the nurse is handling Joe (176). As Joe’s excitement builds, the bombs journey to its final destination is described (177). The hidden bomb is symbolic of Joe’s buried sexual tension (178). Joe’s union with the bomb parallel’s his sexual release (179).
Trumbo also relates Joe’s emotional turmoil by alluding to the same form of writing used when Joe is at the train station in the beginning of the novel. The author creates a montage of different voices, this time, they are the memories of past interactions with prostitutes, the sexual promiscuity that pervaded Paris during the soldier’s leave, and the building and journey of the bomb that will permanently alter Joe’s existence (175-179). In both instances, these montages are meant to illustrate Joe’s emotional confusion. At the train station, memories of Kareen interspersed with political propaganda relate that he is torn between his newfound love for Kareen and the sense of duty he has been convinced he owes his country. In chapter fourteen, his dizzying memories of Paris and the romanticism with which he describes the bomb explain his confusion over the nurse’s reaction to him. He appreciates that she is willing to do that but is also ashamed of the fact that his life has come to the point of receiving pity from her in this way. He is also angered that she believes him to be nothing other than an animal with primal needs and not an intelligent being who is instead trying to communicate more advanced ideas with the tapping of his head(166-67,179).

Posted by: Heather S. at March 11, 2008 02:46 PM

True or False:
At the start of chapter 18, Joe is overjoyed that he has a nurse that can communicate with him.

True

When the nurse leaves the room after having a “tap” communication, he feels how?
Happy and risen from the dead
Sad that she left
Upset that he has no arms to hug her

A

What did the man who returned with the nurse “tap” to joe?

What do you want.

How did Joe feel in this chapter going from joy to sorrow and relate this feeling to a personal story?

Have you ever experienced such joy that you wanted to share with the world but when you tried to, they asked you what you wanted as if annoyed by you? That pretty much sums up that feeling. Joe had it hard enough with no limbs, or any other sensing mechanisms other than nerve endings in his skin that allowed him to feel pressure. One event that occurred several times throughout the story was that the nurse would come in and either feel sorrowful and cry or horrified and leave. Although treated like a child, he was happier than ever that the nurse was able to communicate via tapping to him (Trumbo 273). After thinking of all the wonderful things he could do, being the official speaker of the dead, telling the story of what really happens in wartime, his dream was soon shattered; a crushing blow as if all his world was lost. A man came into the room, the one that the nurse had summoned, and tapped back on Joe’s head and asked what is it that he wanted (Trumbo 279). After all of this excitement and potential glory and pride, received nothing.

Posted by: Robert D. at March 11, 2008 09:03 PM

Chapter 12

Question #1.
Please answer the question with a word, or group of words.
“How could Joe keep Kareen age 19 forever?”
Answer-In his mind she would always remain 19( pg. 145).

Question #2.
Please answer true or false.
“Joe thought that he was in an American hospital.”
Answer-False. He assumed he was in an English hospital( pg 146)

Question #3.
Please choose the correct answer.
“What holiday did Joe celebrate in his mind?”
A. Christmas
B. Easter
C. Halloween
D. New Year’s Eve
Answer –D (pg 140-141)
Question #4.
Please discuss the following…
“Is it ironic that Joe is comparing himself to the young “limey” who instead of losing his senses and limbs, instead lost his mind? Which is worse-to be trapped inside the body with no mind, or trapped inside the mind with no body?
Answer-It is ironic that Joe compares his situation to that of the young man who went AWOL after his encounter with “Lazarus” (pg 152) Joe states that “the young limey had legs and arms and he could talk, see and hear. Only he didn’t know he couldn’t get any fun out of it if there was no meaning for him.”(pg. 153). In my opinion, and Joe seems to echo the sediment, it would be better to be trapped in a body with no mind, than in a mind with no body. Joe states that “lying in another English hospital was a guy who wasn’t a bit crazy but who wished he was.”(pg 153). Ideally, a mind swap would be the answer, as the text suggested. If Joe had suffered brain damage, in addition to his other injuries, there is a possibility that he would never have known what he lost. He could have lived inside his own mind forever. The “limey” who lost his mind, is probably happy in the world that his brain has created for himself. He isn’t forced to deal with what he has lost, as opposed to Joe who must face it constantly.

Posted by: Jodi S. at March 11, 2008 09:55 PM

1) True or False? In Chapter 19 does Joe feel like he is a prisoner?
Answer: True

2) How did Joe want to raise money for him to get out of the hospital?
a) File charges against the government
b) Turn into a side show in the circus
c) Turn himself into an exhibit to educate people on the war
d) None of the above
Answer= c
3) What nursery rhyme character did Joe compare himself to in Chapter 19?

Answer = Humpty Dumpty

4) As an exhibit, does Joes really feel that he would be encouraging American’s to support the war?

Answer = Joe’s sarcasm when he talking about being an exhibit speaks to the reader as his resentment towards the war. Joe speaks about showing himself to children to encourage them to save their country, when realistically he would scare children into nightmares. Joe speaks about exhibiting himself at a church, which people at a church would not embrace war and would not embrace the concept of this man lying without life basically. Joe’s idea of exhibiting himself is his want to show people what war brings to an individuals life.

Posted by: Erin at March 11, 2008 10:04 PM

Ryenn Micaletti
American Lit (1915-Present)
Professor Hobbs
Chapter 11

1. Joe tries to exercise his brain by singing songs in his head and telling himself jokes, true or false?

False: Joe exercises his brain by trying to remember multiplication problems and different uses of grammar.

2. In chapter xi Joe wants to accomplish knowing _____? a.) the time b.) where his body parts are c.) who the nurse is that takes care of him d.) his birthday

Answer: a.

3. Joe realizes that he can sense different things even though he does not have hearing or vision. He can sense things with his skin. The first thing he tries to sense is the ______.

Answer: Sunrise

4. Throughout the book one, Joe has flashbacks during different times of his life. What do all of these flashbacks have in common. Explain and give an example.

Answer: Joe has many flashbacks in book one. I think all of the flashbacks he had in book one all had one thing in common. Joe lost something or someone. For example, when he was working in the bakery. He was working with a man named Jose. Jose was a good man and ended up getting a job somewhere else. Joe never saw him again. In another flashback Joe loses his love Diane. She cheats on him in Shale City with Glen Hogan.

Posted by: Ryenn Micaletti at March 11, 2008 10:54 PM

Chris King Chapter 12
1. T/F: Joe can keep track of the days, months, and year.
Answer: True.
2. Every Sunday, Joe experienced:
a. Fall
b. Summer
c. Spring
d. Winter
Answer: C (spring)
3. Joe had a ______ and _______ Nurse.
Answer: Day, Night.
4. Describe the word choice of “happy” during the beginning of the chapter. Also, explain some of the happiness Joe is experiencing.
Answer: I feel that the word “happy” is used many times – twice in a row multiple times. It is really ironic how Joe has been in this state of unhappiness and distress yet now he is talking about happiness. Not only just talking about happiness, but the word happy is used quite often in the opening pages of the chapter. In particular, “happy new year” is stated many times (140-141). It is also interesting how Joe reflects on the time he has been spending in counting the weeks and days. It almost seems as if Joe is content with his situation, or perhaps he just accepts it. Earlier, Joe was going through his crisis of the situation, now I feel he is dealing quite well. He describes his “walks” through the woods (144). This is particularly interesting how he really has no legs to do such things, yet, he is happy “dreaming” about it. Joe is also happy knowing that he can celebrate New Year’s although, as far as he knows, it could be The fourth of July (143). And finally, he finds satisfaction in knowing the difference between the nurses that are caring for him (142). He can tell them apart and also describe each one in what they do and how they act.
Overall, I feel the word happy could be the change in how Joe views his life. He is now realizing that he still has his mind. His mind can do pretty much anything just by itself which is what will work towards his benefit.

Posted by: Chris King at March 12, 2008 01:15 AM

Chapter 20:

True of False. (233)
Question: 1. The nurse who is able to communicate with Joe gets a doctor to help once she figures this out.
Answer: 1. True, the nurse leaves and returns with a doctor who knows Morse Code.

Multiple Choice (234)
Question: 2. The doctor
A. lets Joe go outside
B. Moves Joe near a window
C. Tells him it’s against regulations for him to go outside
D. Talks with him for hours
Answer: 2. C.

Short Answer (240)
Question: 3. Who did Joe see himself as once the sedative kicked in?
Answer: 3. a Christ-like figure, the new messiah of the battlefields.

Discussion (241)
Question: 4. What was Joe’s conclusion on war?
Answer: 4. It seems that Joe sees war as a necessary evil. He says that those who are in charge of the country must do what is needed to ensure democracy and if he is told to carry and gun and go off to war, then he will do it. He seems to have no regrets for his situation and he has no apologies for what’s happened.

Posted by: Vivian Lee C. at March 12, 2008 09:34 AM

1. T/F Joe’s first time having sex was with Kareen.
Answer: False. It was with Ruby.
2. What would Lucky do when Joe came to visit?
a. Cochet and talk
b. Get drunk
c. Beg him to stay with her
d. Cry about the war
Answer: a. She would sit at the foot of the bed and talk while crocheting on a doily.
3. What did Laurette do for three months of the year?
Answer: Lives in a fancy hotel, meets men, and dances.
4. Why do you think Trumbo spent so much time describing each of the prostitutes?
Answer: Just as Trumbo’s story tries to put a human face and human emotion onto a former-soldier, it’s just as important to emphasize the humanity of the prostitutes. For that time, girls like Bonnie (172) and Lucky (174) would have been similar to the soldiers in the affect the war was having on their lives and the danger they lived in. Prostitution is present in most wars, so in some ways the girls are female versions of the soldiers. Lucky and Bonnie can connect with Joe because of their mutual involvement in the war. Likewise, just as Joe candidly recalls the actions and horrors of the war, he also very honestly describes the girls and their lives, like the fact that Lucky has a son or her story about the earthquake in San Francisco (174-175). It seems that Trumbo is trying to emphasize that the war did not just affect soldiers, or even just men, but everyone.

Posted by: HGeary at March 12, 2008 02:48 PM

Chapter 13 Questions

Short Answer:

Q: In Chapter 13, what was pinned on Joe’s left breast?

A: a medal (p.159)

Multiple Choice:

Q: What was the first word that Joe tapped?

a) H-E-L-L-O

b) S-O-S

c) M-E-R-R-Y C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S

A: S-O-S (p. 163)

True/False:

Q: Joe felt “all in a hub-bub” (p. 155) because he got an unexpected fresh change of linen.

A: True

Discussion question:

Q: Explain why Joe gets furious with the generals who come into his room.

A: Joe becomes angry with the men who come into his room when he realizes that they have come to visit and give him a medal (159). He is furious because the generals that give him the medal have their arms and legs and can see, talk, smell, and taste (160). He knows that these generals have never really been seriously injured in a battle because all they have time to do is go around and give out medals to people that have got hurt. He is upset because they don’t know what it is like to be injured, but yet they are giving out the medals to people they feel are deserving.

Posted by: C. Bell at March 12, 2008 03:24 PM

Chapter 13 Questions

True/False

Question: Joe was moved to a new room during the third year. True or False?

Answer: True (p. 154)

Short Answer

Question: Joe realizes that ____________ are a very important way of communication and it is what he uses to tell the height, weight, distance, and time.

Answer: Vibrations (p. 161)

Multiple Choice

Question: What does to nurse do to stop Joe from tapping?

A. Give him medication

B. Put her hand on his chest

C. Put her hand on his forehead

Answer: C (p. 164)

Discussion:

Why do you think Joe wants the generals to see his body and how is Joe’s body a symbol?

Answer: Joe wants the generals to see his body because he wants them to see how badly was hurt. He wants to show them that war is not the best answer to problems because men get hurt and even killed. This is used as a symbol of how the new war technology is inhumane. Men are getting severely injured and killed in battle because they are fighting for something that Joe cannot even define.


Posted by: Michelle E. at March 12, 2008 03:33 PM

Yichuan Sun CP.19

T/F Question:
Johnny thinks that he can be taken outside the hospital.
Answer: F

Choice
Why Johnny’s body still can communicate have to be the secrete.
A. for the research of science
B. for the generals can still recruit men for fight wars.
C. for his health
D. for the nurse.
Answer: B

Short Answer
Jonny is trying to use the _____ to connect others.
Answer: Morse code.

Discussion
What make this tragedy happen?
War totally destroyed Johnny’s life. Even he lost his 80% of his ability to doing anything. Because the war was still going, Generals need more men for the war, the war don’t allow Johnny to die.

Posted by: Yichuan Sun at March 12, 2008 04:05 PM

Questions for Ch. 15 of Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Questions by Shayla Sorrells and Melissa Lingsch

True of False:
Q:Joe uses a method of tapping in hopes that someone will understand him?
A: True, Joe taps in hopes that someone will understand him.

Multiple Choice:
Q: What does Joe realizes as he slips into unconsciousness from the sedative?
A. Everything is going to be okay
B. The doctors are trying their best to help him get better
C. They gave him the sedative to shut him up and they “have won”
D. The doctor is giving him the sedative so he can sleep better

A: C. They gave him the sedative to shut him up and they “have won”

Short Answer:
Q:As the doctor approaches the room, how does Joe try to make him understand he does not want a sedative?
A: He tries to shake his head to let the doctor know he doesn’t want one.

Critical Thinking Question: (individual answers will vary)
Q: Joe compares himself to different slaves through history, because he has nothing else to do while he waits. If you were in this situation, would your thoughts be like Joe’s or do would your thoughts be different? Would you compare your situation to that of a slaves or would you try to think in a more positive manner?

A: Whatever the student responds about how they would feel

Posted by: Melissa L. at March 12, 2008 04:27 PM

Questions for Ch. 15 of Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Questions by Shayla Sorrells and Melissa Lingsch

True of False:
Q:Joe uses a method of tapping in hopes that someone will understand him?
A: True, Joe taps in hopes that someone will understand him.

Multiple Choice:
Q: What does Joe realizes as he slips into unconsciousness from the sedative?
A. Everything is going to be okay
B. The doctors are trying their best to help him get better
C. They gave him the sedative to shut him up and they “have won”
D. The doctor is giving him the sedative so he can sleep better

A: C. They gave him the sedative to shut him up and they “have won”

Short Answer:
Q:As the doctor approaches the room, how does Joe try to make him understand he does not want a sedative?
A: He tries to shake his head to let the doctor know he doesn’t want one.

Critical Thinking Question: (individual answers will vary)
Q: Joe compares himself to different slaves through history, because he has nothing else to do while he waits. If you were in this situation, would your thoughts be like Joe’s or do would your thoughts be different? Would you compare your situation to that of a slaves or would you try to think in a more positive manner?

A: Whatever the student responds about how they would feel

--------------------------

Shayla and Melissa,

Why do you two have both of your names on the same assignment?

I didn’t give permission for “team” answers. You are the only two in the class who did this. In fact, I specifically told the class that if you had the same chapter as someone else, I would expect a completely different set of question from each person.

I can’t give you credit for the assignment as it is.

Make some suggestions (by e-mail) for what you can do to rectify the situation.

--Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Shayla Sorrells at March 12, 2008 04:33 PM


Chapter 16

Question 1. True or False: Joe feels his muscles relaxing because he has just been drugged.
Answer: True (p. 185-186)


Question 2: Please choose the letter which best answers the question:
What number could Christ never hit in blackjack?
A. 21
B. 7
C. 12
D. 13
Answer: 12 (p.190)


Question 3: Fill in the blank with the word that best completes the sentence:
“ She stared right through the wise men who had come with presents. She hugged her baby closer. Her eyes were filled with ____ and ____ for the little baby.”

Answer: pain and fear (p. 208)

Question 4: Briefly discuss the similarities between the Virgin Mary’s reaction towards baby Jesus and Joe’s mother (or mother‘s of soldiers in general).

Answer. On page 208 we can see that Mary knows the fate of Christ before he is even born. She holds him with fear, pain, and sadness in her heart because she loves her son and knows what he shall endure. However, she must do God’s will and raise him, all the while knowing she must give him up to death but maybe not knowing how gruesome it would be. Similarly, Joe’s mother and mother’s of all the soldiers gave their sons life but knew their children would face hardships. Even though they are aware of hardships I’m sure they never imagined giving their sons up to almost certain death for the military, yet, they know they must endure this because it is their “duty” as American citizens and mothers.




Posted by: Natasha Hill at March 12, 2008 05:31 PM

Shantavia B
Chap. 19
1. Joe never finds a way to communicate
False
2. The first question Joe hears:
a. What’s your name?
b. What’s wrong?
c. What do you want?
d. None of the above

3. What “things” does Joe wish to ask for from the hospital?
He wishes for limbs, to be outside, and to be in an exhibit.

4. Is it truly cruel for them to try to communicate his wants?
It is cruel because he can’t have the things he wants so it serves as both a positive and a negative.

Posted by: Shantavia Burchette at March 12, 2008 06:10 PM

Amanda S.

1) Question: True or False: Joe finally communicates with one of the nurses.

Answer: True- Page 213

2) Question: What does Joe feel he is trapped in?

a) a closet

b) a casket

c) a mask

Answer: B-Page 214

3) Question: What were the Morse codes man's first words to Joe?

Answer: "What do you want?" - Page 217-218

4) Question: Discuss some of the steps the new nurse took to figure out what it was that Joe wanted. What would you have done differently to communicate with Joe?

Answer: She began to do things. She slipped the urinal and bed pan one at a time under the covers and touched it against his body. She adjusted his breathing tube in his throat and she touched his bandage which covered the hole in his side. She rubbed his body and his forehead. She scratched his scalp and loosened the cord which held the mask over his face. All of these things she tried and Joe shook his head "no" after each incident. - Page 210-211

Answers may very. Add own ideas.

~Amanda S.


-----------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise/assignment.

Posted by: Lee at March 12, 2008 11:04 PM

C. Bell
Lee Hobbs
EL267.01
American Literature: 1915-Present
30 April 2008--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Direct and Indirect Effects of War:
Johnny Got His Gun and The Painted Bird------------------------------------------------------------
Throughout reading the The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, I have noticed a commonality between it and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. Both of these novels involve war and dramatically develop the consequences that come with war. More specifically, each of these novels describes a person’s fight with war. Johnny Got His Gun involves an adult male who has fought in the war and suffered extreme consequences. The Painted Bird is about a young boy who is not fighting in the war, but does face cruel consequences because of the war. In each of these novels, war is represented as a violent and destructive monster that affects all people, whether they fight in the war or not. The outcomes of war are represented in each of the novels, whether it is a direct consequence from fighting in the war or an indirect consequence that is felt outside of the battle itself.
Johnny Got His Gun is a story about a character named Joe. Joe has definitely faced severe consequences from war. The story begins with a ringing sound. Joe wants the phone to stop ringing. Soon enough, he realizes that he no longer has sight and hearing and the phone ringing was all a dream. This is very disturbing to Joe. Joe then realizes that he no longer has arms, legs, ears, a nose, eyes, or a mouth. He is a stump. He figures this out because he still has feeling where his arm used to be. The doctor comes in to give him a shot in his left arm, and he realizes that it was too close to his head. From this, he concludes that he no longer has a left arm. Joe gets very upset because he does not think that the doctors should have the ability to just cut off a man’s arm. He also wonders what they did with his arm. He thinks that they should have buried it in the ground as though they were burying a person because his arm was once part of him.
Throughout most of the first half of the book, the reader listens to the conscious of Joe. Joe is wondering what his life will be like now that he no longer has any of his limbs or facial features. He gets upset because he realizes that he will never be able to do daily tasks anymore that he used to do without even thinking. He will never be able to run again or even walk down the street. He wonders if he will ever even leave the hospital again. Joe also gets worried because he does not even know his location. He is not sure if he is back in the United States or over seas still. He also does not know if his family knows he is injured and in the hospital. So not only did the war take his limbs and face away, but it also took away his family to his knowledge.
During the second half of the book, Joe discovers ways to tell time and then realizes that he can communicate to the outside world. He tries to perform Morse code to talk to the nurses and doctors. He realizes he can tell time based on when he can feel the warmth of the sun on his body in the room. He realizes that the temperature in the room rises during the day, so when the room cools down again he knows it is night time. He calculates how long the night lasts based on how many times the nurses come in and out of the room. Since Joe no longer can communicate the way he used to, he figures out a way that he can so that people will understand him.
In Johnny Got His Gun, Joe was directly affected by the war. Joe had fought in WWI. He was injured during the war and did not remember anything when he woke up in the hospital. Joe suffered a major consequence by fighting in the war. He lost most of his life. He still had his mind but he had no way to communicate to the rest of the world. He lost his sight and would never see his family again. He lost his hearing and would never hear his family again or hear himself talk. He lost smell and taste and would no longer taste or smell his mothers cooking. He would no longer walk or use his arms. Joe basically had no real life, although he could still use his mind.
While Joe lays there in the hospital, he remembers moments throughout his life. At certain points throughout the story, Joe wants to kill himself, but he cannot even do that. He explains that he can not even tell when he falls asleep or even when he is going to, it just happens. Joe is tortured throughout the whole story. He is tortured by his thoughts of being trapped inside his body for the rest of his life. He doesn’t understand why they are letting him live like this. He hates that he had to go to war. He wishes that he could speak to the rest of the world and explain his story to them. He wants to warn them about the war. He does not want anyone else to end up like him. Even in the end of the story when Joe finally communicates with the outside world, he is put to sleep by the doctors. They do not want him to be able to talk to the outside world. His story would cause too much trouble and indifference about the war. In his last chance to communicate and live an actual life, it is taken away and he is put to sleep. Knowing that you cannot live a normal life with communication, sight, hearing, taste, legs, and arms has to be the most unbearable thing to deal with.
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski is a story about a young boy who is about six years old, who is sent away by his parents in the first few weeks of World War II. This story explains an indirect affect of the war on the young boy. During his journey from village to village, the young boy meets and lives with many people. In the villages, the boy is known as a gypsy or a Jew and many of the people are afraid of him. The people who take him in usually use him for work. The boy lives with people who teach him techniques that ultimately help him travel on his way after escaping from village to village. One of the main effects of the war on the young boy is his life on the run. He is constantly trying to stay alive and escape the people who want to kill him. Besides just avoiding the Germans, the young boy has to beware of the peasants or inbreeds that live in the villages through which he passes. Many of the peasants cannot even look the boy straight in the eye because they truly believe that the boy is a gypsy.
One drastic event that the young boy had to witness was a murder. The boy was living at the miller’s and the miller suspected his wife of having an affair with the plow boy. The miller invited the plow boy to dinner one night and the miller and the plow boy got into a fight. The young boy had to witness the miller plunge a spoon into the plow boy’s eyes and then twist the spoon till his eye popped out. (Kosinski, 38) The young boy could not believe what he had seen. After this event, the young boy decided to leave the house.
The next house that the boy ends up at is Lekh’s house. Lekh is a bird catcher. He caught and sold his birds for food. Lehk is in love with Stupid Ludmila who is a peasant girl that is a prostitute and is hated by the villagers. The young boy has to witness her getting raped and killed by the peasant people. First Stupid Ludmila is raped by the men from the village and then, when the men notice the women coming, they run and hide. Then the women came and held Stupid Ludmila down and began to hit her with rakes, scratch her skin with their finger nails, and ripped out her hair (Kosinski, 54). After all of this abuse, a woman came and shoved a glass bottle of manure into her. The glass shattered inside of Stupid Ludmila and the women kicked her to death. Lekh and the young boy witnessed the women do this to Stupid Ludmila. Lekh did not get there in time to save Stupid Ludmila and the young boy was hiding from the peasants. Once again, the young boy had to witness extreme violence even though he was not involved in the war. After this event, the young boy moved on again.
Another terrible event that happened to the boy was when he was thrown in the manure by the peasants. The peasants grabbed the boy and the crowd shouted “Gypsy Vampire” (Kosinski, 138). Then the peasants swung the young boy in the air and tossed him in the manure. The young boy could not breathe and was suffocating under the manure. He tried many times to kick himself out of the muck but he could not. Finally, he grabbed onto some weeds and pulled himself out of the manure. As the boy came out of the manure, he realized that he could not speak, he was mute.
All of these events and many more were because of the war. If the war had never begun, the boy would have never had to go through all of the events that he did. He would have never been sent away by his parents. As a young boy, around the age of six, he witnessed many events that could drastically affect him later on in life. He did not have the normal life of a six year old boy. Witnessing violence, murder, rape, incest, and taking physical abuse could have psychological effects on the young boy. He could develop a phobia in the future, or maybe an anxiety disorder. He could develop dissociative identity disorder or maybe even a borderline personality disorder. The possibilities are endless. For example, the boy went mute when he was tossed into the manure. That proves that the young boy had been through much more than he could handle.
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo and The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski both had representations of war in them. Johnny Got His Gun showed the consequences one may face going into war, whether they volunteered or were drafted, like Joe. Government officials may find war to be necessary for a country because they make the decision to enter the war. However, soldiers, like Joe, find it to be detrimental because they can end up severely wounded or even dead. The Painted Bird represented the effects one can undergo from war even if they did not fight in the war. The boy experienced several different events throughout his journey that severely affected him in many ways. All of this happened because of the war and his parents having to send him away. If it was not for war, neither Joe nor the boy would have lived their lives the way they were forced to by the wars.


Works Cited

Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. New York: New York, 1965.

Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York, 1939.


--------------------------------------------This analysis has been submitted to this blog because it analyzes the effects of war on the main character in "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo.

Posted by: C. Bell at April 30, 2008 10:45 PM

Michelle Eaglehouse
American Literature 1915 to present
Professor Hobbs
30 April 2008
War: Physical and Mental Effects portrayed in Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo and The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
Although the decision to enter or begin a war is in the hands of people in power of nations, those that actually fight in the war or live in the countries involved with the war are greatly affected by the war both directly and indirectly, while those that decide to enter a war are not affected in the same ways. War affects so many people in a variety of different ways. Those that fight in the war are affected physically, mentally, and emotionally. The people that live in the countries that are involved with war are affected in several ways as well. Their lives can be completely changed whether the war is fought in their country or their soldiers are away fighting the war. The government officials or people in power that originally decided to go to war in the first place seem to have the least affects when the war is done. They do not have to go and fight in the war; they just stay in their countries and make sure the war goes the way they want it to go. They send commands to the Generals of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other branches of military and then are not the ones that have to carry out those demands. Those that fight in the war and those that live in countries that are involved with the war are greatly affected by the war, which is portrayed in both Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo and The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski.
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo has the best representation of the affects war has on those that actually go into battle and fight. Joe, the protagonist of Johnny Got His Gun, did not make the decision to go to war, but was drafted when the President decided to enter the war. He did not think it was fair for him to have to fight in a war that he did not think should be happening in the first place. War is fought so that people can gain “liberty,” “honor,” and “decency.” Joe does not understand how men can risk their lives for such abstract words. Men go into war and are not even fighting for something concrete. He thinks that the only people that can actually define those three words are the men who lost their lives in the war and even they cannot define them because they are dead. Joe did not think that is was right that he was expected to fight for something that no one could define (Trumbo 110-119).
Among all of the mental affects Joe had from the war, he also suffered innumerable physical affects. In Chapter 3, Joe realized for the first time that he has been wounded in battle. When he finally regains consciousness, he quickly recognized that he could not hear or see (Trumbo 26). Also, he felt the doctors pinching him in his left arm, or what he thought was his left arm. He then realized that he actually did not have a left arm at all; it had been amputated (Trumbo 26-27). Joe was upset because he said that the doctors did not consider how this was going to affect his life. He had no right arm, so he was not going to able to work anymore. He said they were not concerned though because they still had both of their arms, which they used to cut off his (Trumbo 27). As the chapter progressed, Joe realized that the loss of his left arm was not the only injury that he has from war. Not only did he not have a left arm, but he also lost his right arm (Trumbo 38). Joe quickly realized that he did not have either of his arms, so he would never again be able to hold his girlfriend again. (Trumbo 38-39). As if losing his arms was not enough to deal with, Joe also wandered what they did with his arms that they cut off. He did not think that it was right for them to be able to decide to just throw them away. Joe thinks that they should have buried them in the ground because his arms were once a part of his body and now they are dead (Trumbo 28).
As Joe lay in his hospital bed, he would have flashbacks from war. He could hear explosions and see rockets and bombs flash in front of his eyes even though he could not actually hear or see at all (Trumbo 58). This showed that war had a great effect on Joe mentally. In Chapter 5, Joe also discovered that both of his legs had been amputated (Trumbo 60). This was devastating for Joe because he knew that he would never be able to walk or run again and it was all because of the war (Trumbo 60). As if losing both of his arms and both of his legs was not bad enough, Joe found that this was not the end of the injuries that he had. In Chapter 7, Joe felt a cloth over his face. He was unsure why they put a cloth over his face, but then he knew it was because he actually did not have a face. He had no eyes, nose, or mouth. Joe knew that his life would never be the same. He would not be able to tell the difference when he was sleeping or awake, he would never smell anything again, and he could never communicate with anyone ever again. (Trumbo 80-93). Once Joe realized he was nothing more than a stump in a bed, he tried to figure out a way that he could commit suicide. He thought that if he moved enough to move the tube that fed him, then maybe it would kill him (Trumbo).
In Chapter 13, Joe receives a pin from the military. Although this is a privilege and is something that Joe should be proud of, it upsets him. He is angry because he does not think that these men should be able to walk into his hospital room and pin a medal on his chest for fighting in a war that he did not want to fight in to begin with. He is upset because they are still able to walk, even though they are the ones that initially decided to enter the war. He does not think that it is fair that these men did not have to go to war and fight at all, but they are still able to walk in the room and pin a medal on his chest. He knows that he will never be able to walk again, but these men took part in making the decision to go to war and were able to walk into his hospital room and pin a medal on his chest. (Trumbo 158-159).
In The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, the main character, referred to as the boy, was removed from his family at the young age of six years old. His parents sent him away during World War II. They did this because they were Jewish and Jewish people were being killed during this time. His parents thought that the only way to keep him safe was to remove him from the situation. They sent him to Poland where they thought he would be safe. The boy lived with a woman by the name of Marta (Kosinski 3). After two months, Marta died and the boy was left to fend for himself (Kosinski 13). The boy was taken in by a farmer who treated him very poorly. The farmer beat the boy and the boy was not happy there. The farmer did not want the boy anymore, so he put him up for sale (Kosinski 14-16). The boy was bought by Olga the Wise. She took him to her house and taught him many things. Olga taught the boy many life survival skills. The boy was comfortable with Olga even though the other people of the village would often set their dogs on him because they were threatened by him. Because the boy had dark hair and dark eyes, they were afraid of him (Kosinski 17-27).
The boy was finally comfortable after several moves since his parents sent him away. All of this changed one day when the villagers threw him in the river and he floated far away from Olga. The boy survives because of the skills that he was taught by Olga (Kosinski 27). After this event, the boy goes to another family. He is exposed to some traumatic events while he is with this family. He watches the miller gouge out his plowboy’s eyes during dinner because he thinks that the plowboy is interested in his wife. After this event, the boy decided to run away from this family too because he was traumatized (Kosinski 34-38). His life was changed several times throughout the book. All he wanted to do was find a place that he fit in. He was always fighting for his life and was never accepted by any of the people that he lived with. All he wanted to do was be reunited with his parents.
The boy eventually moved to a village that is mostly occupied by German soldiers. The boy lived with a blacksmith who is accused of helping “enemies of the Fatherland.” The boy was turned over to soldiers at a German outpost and was taken away to be killed by one of the soldier. The solider let the boy go (Kosinski 66-76). He then moved to another village where he saw trains of Jews headed toward concentration camps. He was eventually captured by Germans. He was then taken in by a priest and studied to become an altar boy. He made a huge mistake during one of the ceremonies and was thrown into a pit of manure. Once he emerged from the pit, the boy was mute. Being mute greatly affected his life.
Eventually, the boy is taken in by the Red Army. They taught him many skills that he lacked. One of the soldiers, Gavrilla, taught him to read and introduced him to the ways of the Communist Party. From the teaching of the soldiers, the boy decided that he wanted to live by the communist ways. Also, he realized from the actions of the soldiers that revenge is a responsibility that you have to take on sometimes.
At the end of the novel, the boy’s dream of being reunited with his parents finally came true. The soldiers took him to an orphanage when the war was over. His parents eventually found him at the orphanage and took him home. His reunion with his parents did not go the way he expected at all. He did not like being back at home. He did not like the rules and guidelines that he had to follow now that he lived back at home now. Also, he did not like the other child that his parents took in after the war. He was so irritated by him on night that he squeezed his hand until it broke. He got mixed in with people who roamed the streets at night, gambled, drank, and had sex. Doctors then advised his parents that he needed help. He was sent to the mountains in order to help straighten his life out. He was sent to the hospital one day after he fell skiing. He got a phone call while in the hospital, and decided to talk again (Kosinski 223-234).
Johnny Got His Gun and The Painted Bird are both very different books, but at the same time have a common theme. Both books show how war can greatly affect peoples’ lives in several different ways. Joe fought in the war and was severely wounded. His life was forever changed when he discovered that he no longer had arms, legs, or a face. The Jewish boy did not fight in the war, but was affected in several ways. He was sent away from his family at the age of six. He lived his life on his own for a very long time. He was reunited with his parents eventually, but his life was never the same. War played a large role in the lives of Joe and the Jewish boy, and they were not the ones that made the decision to go to war. Could it be possible that some people need to sacrifice their lives and happiness in order to make the rest of the world to be happy? If this is the case, how fair is this? War is something that greatly affects the lives of everyone, whether they fought in the war or lived in a country that was involved with the war.


References
Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. New York: New York, 1965.
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York: 1939.
-------------------------------------------------
I posted my paper on this blog because my paper was based on the novel Johnny Got His Gun. My paper talked about the effects war had on the main character, Joe.

Posted by: Michelle E. at April 30, 2008 11:23 PM

Candice Shaughnessy
Dr. Hobbs
American Literature 1915- Present
30 April 2008
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo:
The Journey to Enlightenment
Journey is a term loosely associated with a path. A journey can be literal or symbolic, and a journey can also be metaphorical. However, the greatest “journey” that can be traced in both western and eastern culture is undoubtably the path to enlightenment. Enlightenment can have different definitions for different cultures, and enlightenment brings about different results for all those who attempt it. Consequently, they all have the same basic journey and their journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. The universal idea of journey brings many different types of protagonists from both eastern and western literature to their personal enlightenment, and most of these journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Two characters that found enlightenment in this manner were the protagonists in two very different novels, Joe in Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun and Siddhartha in Herman Hess’s Siddhartha. Both of these protagonists try to find enlightenment through their family, their friends, their infatuations with women, and their final peace within themselves.
The first part of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth is referred to as the departure phase. In this phase the protagonist goes from his ordinary life to the life that will lead him to adventure (Hobbs). Both of the protagonists try to use friendship as a catalyst to enlightenment through the departure phase. This idea fails for both of them, but the experiences help them grow as a person and they learn from them. Siddhartha lives with his father, who is the Brahmin in an Indian village, which can be considered his ordinary world (Hesse 1). Johnny Got His Gun is set in Colorado, and later Los Angeles. Joe quotes in the beginning of the novel, “He remembered when he was a kid...thinking that the top of one of his Colorado mountains had blown off...” (Trumbo 9). At this point Siddhartha is searching for enlightenment, while Joe, unknowingly, will be thrown into it. The call to adventure is a change in the protagonists’ life (Hobbs). One of the biggest misconceptions both characters have about enlightenment is that they need other people in their lives that will guide them to enlightenment. While this may remain true for social skills and sanity, as written about in Johnny Got His Gun, it does not necessarily hold true for true enlightenment or any level of self-actualization. Siddhartha’s journey is heavily influenced by his good friend Govinda who comes with him to join the Samanas (Hesse 6-7). In a difference of opinion, Govinda stays with them, and even says to Siddhartha,”Siddhartha it is not for me to reproach you. We have both listened to the Illustrious One, we have both heard his teachings. Govinda has listened to the teachings and has accepted them, but you, my dear friend, will you not also tread the path to salvation?” (Hesse 24). Siddhartha knows this is not his future and leaves the Samanas. Joe has a very similar relationship with his friend Bill Harper, as is exemplified in the story of how Bill looses Joe’s father’s fishing rod in chapter nine (Trumbo 101-108). It is also true that Bill breaks the bond of friendship between him and Joe when he goes out with Diane and, Joe knows their relationship will never be the same again (Trumbo 53). Both of these protagonists, having left their good friends, took their first steps into the world of enlightenment by not relying on peers to help them. This would be their first realization that they are crossing into a different kind of lifestyle.
Campbell refers to the next step as the “threshold of adventure” which is when the protagonist crosses into a different or unknown realm of understanding (Hobbs). This is exactly what happened when Siddhartha and Joe left behind their childhood friends. They began to take the path to enlightenment on their own. In the initiation phase both of the protagonists turn to the temptation of women and peace with the father. This idea, again helps the protagonists grow as people, but it does not aid them in their path to enlightenment. Not unlike the western myths Americans are familiar with, eastern myths usually contain a series of trials. This part of the journey is referred to as the “road of trials” in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (Hobbs). A fair argument would be that all of the events of the living are a road of trials leading to enlightenment in some manifestation. This is the obvious truth for Siddhartha since he is actually actively seeking enlightenment, and admits it to the reading audience. “...And where was Atman to be found, where did He dwell, where did his eternal heart beat, if not within the Self, in the innermost, in the internal which each person carried within him?” (Hesse 3-4). However, the way that these two protagonists are similar is the fact that they both internally find enlightenment. However, as Siddhartha has a choice in his path to enlightenment, Joe is somewhat forced into finding his enlightenment. “I can’t breathe, but I am breathing. I’m so scared I can’t think but I’m thinking” (Trumbo 64). Once Joe realizes the state he has been placed in he also realizes that he is alone and, that he has to find his own way through things, much like Siddhartha’s wanderings after his stay with the Samanas.
Another part of the initiation phase is referred to as “the woman as the temptress’ (Hobbs). There are many different women referred to in each of the books, however the women that are most affective in the story are all physically associated with the protagonist in some way. For example, in Siddhartha the protagonist’s lover in the second part of the book, Kamala, is what he believes will help him find enlightenment. He even asks her when he meets her, ... “if it does not displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend and teacher, for I do not know anything of the art of which you are mistress” (Hesse 44). Joe, on the other hand, had many different experiences with women in his life. The first woman the reader finds out about in Joe’s life is the love of his life Kareen (Trumbo 38-39). The other women Joe speaks of are the nurse, Ruby, and other experiences of physical love in his life (Trumbo 167-175). The discovery that both Joe and Siddhartha make is that physical love, and the joys of the senses will also not bring them enlightenment. In Joe’s case this is obvious as he has lost all of this ability to communicate through the outside world. “He had no legs and no arms and no eyes and no ears and no nose and no mouth and no tongue” (Trumbo 62). With all of these physical things gone, Joe had no senses, and his only aesthetic pleasure was through touch. This was a huge difference in Joe’s journey, and since he had to cope with not having his senses, it forced him to look in another direction. Overcoming not having his senses was one of Joe’s initiations. Siddhartha, on the other hand, experienced the aesthetics of life as an attempt to help his search, and then finds that it was all for not. “ He rose, said farewell to the mango tree and the pleasure garden...He smiled wearily, shook his head and said goodbye to these things” (Hesse 68).
One of the initiations is considered the “atonement with the father” (Hobbs). In both of these novels, the father is the first thing that is focused on. The opening to the first chapter in Siddhartha is titled “The Brahmin’s Son”, which is used to refer to Siddhartha himself (Hesse 1). He seeks advice and permission from his father to join the Samanas in the beginning of the book, and his father is not very happy about the prospect, but Siddhartha leaves with them anyway (Hesse 7). Consequently, in the beginning of Johnny Got His Gun, Joe laments over his dead father stating, “ I won’t forget you and I’m not as sorry for today as I was yesterday. I loved you dad goodnight” (Trumbo 7). Both Siddhartha and Joe had to make their journey without their father. Even though there is not necessarily a textbook version of “atonement with the father”, they are still affected by their father in some way.
After all of the trials and initiations, both of these characters reach a point of enlightenment. Although the definition of “enlightenment” is very different for both of them, it still holds true that they reach a breaking or ending point.
From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with the conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of all things. (Hesse 111)
Siddhartha had reached the level of enlightenment that he had been seeking all along at the end of the novel. Joe, who had been seeking for such a long time to communicate had to be silenced to realize that he would reach a point of enlightenment. “And then suddenly he saw. He had a vision of himself as a new kind of Christ as a man who carries within himself all the seeds of a new order of things. He was the new messiah of the battlefields saying to people, as I am so shall you be” (Trumbo 240). In this way, Joe achieves his own level of enlightenment. As Siddhartha is at peace with his soul and is enlightened, Joe is at peace with his soul and is enlightened.
The path to enlightenment is one of the oldest stories and myths of the world, and it is presented with very different characters with different definitions of enlightenment. However, there is always one common idea and that is to be at peace with oneself. Both of these protagonists, in their own ways, and in a very similar journey, found the peace within. The idea of enlightenment is an idea that spans all the world and joins the ideologies of eastern culture and western culture and is a goal that all humans will forever strive towards.


Works Cited
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Trans. Hilda Rosner. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1951.
Hobbs, Lee. “The Hero’s Journey (or the Monomyth)”. Illustration and definitions of terms based on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Adapted from The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949). Princeton, NJ: Bollingen, 1987. and Warren, Liz and Alan Levine. “The Hero’s Journey: Summary of Steps.” Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI): Maricopa Community Colleges. 19 Nov. 1999. 10 Oct 2007 .
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York: Bantam Books, 1939.

-------------------------------------

I chose to put my paper in this section because it talks about Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun in the context of the journey to enlightenment and how it is compared to a similar journey in the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Posted by: Candice S at May 1, 2008 12:02 AM

Candice Shaughnessy
Dr. Hobbs
American Literature 1915- Present
30 April 2008
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo:
The Journey to Enlightenment
Journey is a term loosely associated with a path. A journey can be literal or symbolic, and a journey can also be metaphorical. However, the greatest “journey” that can be traced in both western and eastern culture is undoubtably the path to enlightenment. Enlightenment can have different definitions for different cultures, and enlightenment brings about different results for all those who attempt it. Consequently, they all have the same basic journey and their journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. The universal idea of journey brings many different types of protagonists from both eastern and western literature to their personal enlightenment, and most of these journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Two characters that found enlightenment in this manner were the protagonists in two very different novels, Joe in Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun and Siddhartha in Herman Hess’s Siddhartha. Both of these protagonists try to find enlightenment through their family, their friends, their infatuations with women, and their final peace within themselves.
The first part of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth is referred to as the departure phase. In this phase the protagonist goes from his ordinary life to the life that will lead him to adventure (Hobbs). Both of the protagonists try to use friendship as a catalyst to enlightenment through the departure phase. This idea fails for both of them, but the experiences help them grow as a person and they learn from them. Siddhartha lives with his father, who is the Brahmin in an Indian village, which can be considered his ordinary world (Hesse 1). Johnny Got His Gun is set in Colorado, and later Los Angeles. Joe quotes in the beginning of the novel, “He remembered when he was a kid...thinking that the top of one of his Colorado mountains had blown off...” (Trumbo 9). At this point Siddhartha is searching for enlightenment, while Joe, unknowingly, will be thrown into it. The call to adventure is a change in the protagonists’ life (Hobbs). One of the biggest misconceptions both characters have about enlightenment is that they need other people in their lives that will guide them to enlightenment. While this may remain true for social skills and sanity, as written about in Johnny Got His Gun, it does not necessarily hold true for true enlightenment or any level of self-actualization. Siddhartha’s journey is heavily influenced by his good friend Govinda who comes with him to join the Samanas (Hesse 6-7). In a difference of opinion, Govinda stays with them, and even says to Siddhartha,”Siddhartha it is not for me to reproach you. We have both listened to the Illustrious One, we have both heard his teachings. Govinda has listened to the teachings and has accepted them, but you, my dear friend, will you not also tread the path to salvation?” (Hesse 24). Siddhartha knows this is not his future and leaves the Samanas. Joe has a very similar relationship with his friend Bill Harper, as is exemplified in the story of how Bill looses Joe’s father’s fishing rod in chapter nine (Trumbo 101-108). It is also true that Bill breaks the bond of friendship between him and Joe when he goes out with Diane and, Joe knows their relationship will never be the same again (Trumbo 53). Both of these protagonists, having left their good friends, took their first steps into the world of enlightenment by not relying on peers to help them. This would be their first realization that they are crossing into a different kind of lifestyle.
Campbell refers to the next step as the “threshold of adventure” which is when the protagonist crosses into a different or unknown realm of understanding (Hobbs). This is exactly what happened when Siddhartha and Joe left behind their childhood friends. They began to take the path to enlightenment on their own. In the initiation phase both of the protagonists turn to the temptation of women and peace with the father. This idea, again helps the protagonists grow as people, but it does not aid them in their path to enlightenment. Not unlike the western myths Americans are familiar with, eastern myths usually contain a series of trials. This part of the journey is referred to as the “road of trials” in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (Hobbs). A fair argument would be that all of the events of the living are a road of trials leading to enlightenment in some manifestation. This is the obvious truth for Siddhartha since he is actually actively seeking enlightenment, and admits it to the reading audience. “...And where was Atman to be found, where did He dwell, where did his eternal heart beat, if not within the Self, in the innermost, in the internal which each person carried within him?” (Hesse 3-4). However, the way that these two protagonists are similar is the fact that they both internally find enlightenment. However, as Siddhartha has a choice in his path to enlightenment, Joe is somewhat forced into finding his enlightenment. “I can’t breathe, but I am breathing. I’m so scared I can’t think but I’m thinking” (Trumbo 64). Once Joe realizes the state he has been placed in he also realizes that he is alone and, that he has to find his own way through things, much like Siddhartha’s wanderings after his stay with the Samanas.
Another part of the initiation phase is referred to as “the woman as the temptress’ (Hobbs). There are many different women referred to in each of the books, however the women that are most affective in the story are all physically associated with the protagonist in some way. For example, in Siddhartha the protagonist’s lover in the second part of the book, Kamala, is what he believes will help him find enlightenment. He even asks her when he meets her, ... “if it does not displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend and teacher, for I do not know anything of the art of which you are mistress” (Hesse 44). Joe, on the other hand, had many different experiences with women in his life. The first woman the reader finds out about in Joe’s life is the love of his life Kareen (Trumbo 38-39). The other women Joe speaks of are the nurse, Ruby, and other experiences of physical love in his life (Trumbo 167-175). The discovery that both Joe and Siddhartha make is that physical love, and the joys of the senses will also not bring them enlightenment. In Joe’s case this is obvious as he has lost all of this ability to communicate through the outside world. “He had no legs and no arms and no eyes and no ears and no nose and no mouth and no tongue” (Trumbo 62). With all of these physical things gone, Joe had no senses, and his only aesthetic pleasure was through touch. This was a huge difference in Joe’s journey, and since he had to cope with not having his senses, it forced him to look in another direction. Overcoming not having his senses was one of Joe’s initiations. Siddhartha, on the other hand, experienced the aesthetics of life as an attempt to help his search, and then finds that it was all for not. “ He rose, said farewell to the mango tree and the pleasure garden...He smiled wearily, shook his head and said goodbye to these things” (Hesse 68).
One of the initiations is considered the “atonement with the father” (Hobbs). In both of these novels, the father is the first thing that is focused on. The opening to the first chapter in Siddhartha is titled “The Brahmin’s Son”, which is used to refer to Siddhartha himself (Hesse 1). He seeks advice and permission from his father to join the Samanas in the beginning of the book, and his father is not very happy about the prospect, but Siddhartha leaves with them anyway (Hesse 7). Consequently, in the beginning of Johnny Got His Gun, Joe laments over his dead father stating, “ I won’t forget you and I’m not as sorry for today as I was yesterday. I loved you dad goodnight” (Trumbo 7). Both Siddhartha and Joe had to make their journey without their father. Even though there is not necessarily a textbook version of “atonement with the father”, they are still affected by their father in some way.
After all of the trials and initiations, both of these characters reach a point of enlightenment. Although the definition of “enlightenment” is very different for both of them, it still holds true that they reach a breaking or ending point.
From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with the conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of all things. (Hesse 111)
Siddhartha had reached the level of enlightenment that he had been seeking all along at the end of the novel. Joe, who had been seeking for such a long time to communicate had to be silenced to realize that he would reach a point of enlightenment. “And then suddenly he saw. He had a vision of himself as a new kind of Christ as a man who carries within himself all the seeds of a new order of things. He was the new messiah of the battlefields saying to people, as I am so shall you be” (Trumbo 240). In this way, Joe achieves his own level of enlightenment. As Siddhartha is at peace with his soul and is enlightened, Joe is at peace with his soul and is enlightened.
The path to enlightenment is one of the oldest stories and myths of the world, and it is presented with very different characters with different definitions of enlightenment. However, there is always one common idea and that is to be at peace with oneself. Both of these protagonists, in their own ways, and in a very similar journey, found the peace within. The idea of enlightenment is an idea that spans all the world and joins the ideologies of eastern culture and western culture and is a goal that all humans will forever strive towards.


Works Cited
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Trans. Hilda Rosner. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1951.
Hobbs, Lee. “The Hero’s Journey (or the Monomyth)”. Illustration and definitions of terms based on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Adapted from The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949). Princeton, NJ: Bollingen, 1987. and Warren, Liz and Alan Levine. “The Hero’s Journey: Summary of Steps.” Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI): Maricopa Community Colleges. 19 Nov. 1999. 10 Oct 2007 .
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York: Bantam Books, 1939.

-------------------------------------

I chose to put my paper in this section because it talks about Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun in the context of the journey to enlightenment and how it is compared to a similar journey in the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Posted by: Candice S at May 1, 2008 12:03 AM

Natasha M. Hill
EL267
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Term Paper
Johnny Got His Gun


When an author begins to write they have a particular vision in mind. Sometimes, years later, a movie is produced based on the book. When this happens, sometimes scenes are added to the movie or removed from a movie that may or may not have been present in the book. At times, the adding and subtracting of scenes can detract from the original storyline or it can enhance the experience and shed a little more light on the story. I believe that the novel “Johnny Got His Gun” was strongly enhanced by the film version of Trumbo’s novel.
I read the novel “Johnny Got His Gun” (Trumbo, 1939) and found the story quite intriguing. The basic storyline is of a teenage boy who volunteers for the Army during World War 1. He leads a fairly quiet existence until then. Around the time of the war’s end, he is hit by a mortar shell and miraculously survives. However, he is lift without arms, legs, a mouth/jaw, eyesight, or hearing. The book was intended to show the horrors of this war due to new technologies not used in previous battles. My imagination ran away with itself imagining the brutalities of World War 1 and how Joe Bonham (the main character) may have appeared after his deformation.
I ordered the movie soon after reading the novel hoping that some of my imaginings would be revealed through cinematic creativity. First of all, the movie was hard to find in America. My copy is in Portuguese, save the movie itself. The movie was made in 1971, directed by Dalton Trumbo. Timothy Bottoms who portrayed Joe Bonham overacted the part in scenes after his “accident”. My images of war were squelched due to the fact that most scenes took place in a foxhole. Those scenes could be fairly graphic, however so I was content. I was disappointed when Joe Bonham’s face was never revealed. I was curious about this man with only half a face. In retrospect I believe not showing the face led to greater drama and suspense. The viewer/reader is aware of the monstrosity of a man lying beneath the white sheet. Each person has their own perception of how terrible Joe Bonham must appear. If the face of our hero were shown, intensity may be lost or it may not appear as terrible as one imagined. This could lead to a let-down among Trumbo’s fans.
Overall, I believe that my experience of reading the book then watching the movie was well worth it. The movie gave me more depth than the book and enhanced the written work completely. Most books-turned-movie fail to do so and fall short of reader’s expectations. I would like to now discuss the points of the movie which I felt enhanced my knowledge of the book and gave me a better understanding of the novel as a whole.
In the opening of the movie Joe Bonham is being transported to a medical facility. The doctor in charge of Joe’s case states that Joe’s cerebrum is severed leaving him without the ability to think, remember, or feel. This state would leave Joe “as living as the dead”. The doctor states that if he were not sure that Joe was completely de-cerebrated, he would not permit him to live. This is a point which is not addressed in Trumbo’s novel. If it had been in the novel, it would have allowed readers to stop wondering why doctors did not put Joe out of his misery ending questions and debates on ethics and morality. On the other hand, maybe Trumbo purposely left this information from the book so readers would question ethics and morality between medicine and war. If this were indeed true it would have been clever on the part of the author.
Secondly, when beginning to read Johnny Got His Gun a reader may find it incredibly difficult to decipher what is currently happening, what is a flashback, and what is an imagining of Joe Bonham. After realizing that Joe went to war it is easier to determine all of these but not always clear. The movie makes a simple distinction between real and remembering/imagining. What is real is filmed in black and white. Everything else is in color. It was a simple fix yet made such a dramatic cinematic effect. I believe this was done this way because what is really happening at that moment is depressing, horrific, inhuman, insufferable, and unimaginable. Joe is in total darkness literally (loss of sight), emotionally, and mentally. He is alone with shadows of things that were and never will be. The black and white filming adds to the air that Joe’s life from this point onward will be bleak and dismal.
Another section of the book made clearer in the movie was the scene including Jesus. There is a part where Joe is talking to Jesus about the rat. It is one that is not included in the book but helps to see. Jesus is trying to help Joe figure whether the rat which crawls on him is a dream or reality. Jesus is thinking of ways to help Joe get rid of the rat but Joe does not have any arms to swing at it, or legs, or a mouth to yell at, or eyes to realize he is becoming drowsy and can ward himself against the dream. Jesus states “what you need is a miracle” and tells Joe to leave him alone, that Joe’s bad luck might rub off on him. Maybe this helps one better understand the feelings of the world towards this war. Jesus telling Joe he needs a miracle is rather ironic but maybe the world and in turn Jesus feels that nothing, not even God can stop this war. Men will not stop killing each other. It is just the way of the world and will always be unless there is some sort of “miracle”. There is nothing anyone can do for Joe. This is the cross he must bear, which leads me to my next point. In the film, Jesus is making large wooden crosses (a nod to his trade as a carpenter). A man comes and takes away a truckload of these crosses which are all white. I believe all these crosses symbolize all the men killed in a senseless war. Many of these men will never be known or identified so they are marked by a single white cross. The fact that Jesus is making the crosses leads one to believe that, although these men were killing other men, God was looking out for them and will still accept them into heaven. Maybe this is so because these men were doing what they thought was their duty. Many were just fulfilling their obligation or obeying orders. There were not many choices regarding matters of war. Not much has changed over time, has it?
Kareen, who is Joe’s girlfriend when he leaves for the army plays a more significant role in Joe’s hallucinations/dreams than in the book. In the movie Joe seems to remember her more and his fears are more prominent. His fears that Kareen has aged, is angry with him for disappearing, or her marrying another man. There is also a section where Kareen is holding a baby and her father is yelling at Joe for leaving her pregnant. This is a scene not featured in the book which leaves a viewer wondering whether Joe imagined he got Kareen pregnant, thought “what if I” got Kareen pregnant, or maybe he received a letter from her that she was pregnant with his child.
At the end of the book someone finally realizes that Joe’s consistent “head-tapping-patterns” are actually Morse Code communication. When members of the military come to ask him what he wants Joe taps out an entire rant about being put in the circus to show the horrors of war and earning his keep at the same time. In the book it is unclear whether he is actually tapping this entire speech or just thinking it and tapping something much shorter or not tapping at all and just thinking. In the movie, Joe is relaying this speech through Morse Code. When the military men deny his request he repeatedly asks them to kill him. They refuse. The doctor who was in charge of Joe realizes that Joe was not de-cerebrated and leaves the room, remorseful for his mistake and for letting this man live like that. The other’s in the room question the doctor’s medical decision. This is also not in the book but goes back to the question of ethics mentioned earlier. Another scene in the movie, but which enhances the book is when Joe’s kindly nurse tries to put him out of his misery. Joe realizes what she is doing and thanks her over and over again through his thoughts and taps. We are then left with a doctor catching the nurse and taking her off Joe’s case. The film ends with Joe lying in a room all alone, left in his shell for eternity. The book only leaves the reader dangling in mid-air, wondering what happened to Joe.
In conclusion, I would like to state that I feel a movie can enhance a written work. Although not true in all cases, it can in fact, be done. This movie did, indeed, enhance knowledge of the book, insight for the reader and a greater definition between real, fantasy and metaphor.

Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York: Bantam Books, 1970.
Johnny Got His Gun. Dir. Dalton Trumbo. Perf. Timothy Bottoms, Diane Varsi, Jason Robards, Donald Sutherland. Aurora, 1971

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My analysis for this paper is in this section because it is about Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun". It is only in one section because I discuss the movie version as well and no other authors.

Posted by: Natasha Hill at May 1, 2008 12:11 PM

Thomas J. Adams Jr.
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Literature 267.01
25 April 2008
Representation of Journey in “On the Road” and “Johnny Got His Gun”

A journey in a story is a process that someone must go through, easy or difficult, to get to a common objective or goal. My objective is to relate the short story, “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, and the novel, “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo, in the hopes of correlating the two by their similarities and parallelism of the representation of journey throughout the two stories. In both of these stories, they display a lot of hidden meanings, metaphors, biblical personification, and an incredible amount of imagery as to guide the reader in the direction that the author would like one to believe is happening. Both of these stories are very similar in a sense that “On the Road,” involves a man that is on a journey through town in hopes of finding shelter and food, and during his journey meets Jesus. This is similar to the novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” where a man goes to war and experiences many hardships in hopes of informing other Americans of the dangers of war. Along his “mind journey,” he meets Jesus and asks him what he should do because of his unfortunate mishap in war where he looses all senses, touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.

In the short story called “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, the main character is a man named Sergeant. Sergeant was a tall black man that did not see color or the snow that was falling in front of his face. The story begins with Sergeant getting off of a train and walking down the street looking for food and shelter. After walking for some time, Sergeant arrives at house, which is that of the town’s Reverend, and decides to knock on the door. He asks the Reverend if he may take shelter there for the night and eat some food. To Sergeant’s surprise, he is quickly turned away by the Reverend and is told that he will not allow him in and tells him to go into town, to the homeless shelter. Before Sergeant can say anything, the Reverend shuts the door on him.

Sergeant then turns around and notices a church behind him. He walks up to the church and finds that the door is locked but still continues to attempt to open it. While Sergeant attempts to open the church door, a couple of the town’s people gathered behind him. Eventually Sergeant is able to open the door, however after he does cops appear behind him. The cops immediately try to apprehend Sergeant, but he grabs onto a pillar in the front of the church and refuses to let go. Even though there are two policemen and a few townspeople behind attempting to pry him away from the pillar, he will not let go. After a lot of tugging, the church finally gives way and comes down in a heap. Sergeant then arises with a stone pillar on his back and can now see the snow.

After Sergeant is able to see the snow he begins to walk down the street and eventually notices that Jesus is walking next to him. They converse for a couple of blocks, where Jesus says that he has been on top of the church for nearly two thousand years. Jesus expressed to Sergeant that was very thankful that he had pulled the church down. After talking, Jesus and Sergeant part ways at the train tracks. Sergeant resides to the boxes and tin on the side of the train track to sleep in and Jesus sets off on a journey of his own to Kansas City. Sergeant arises the next day and immediately tries to jump onto a train going by. He grabs a hold of the side of the freight car and tries to pull himself in, but when he tries to pull himself in, he is greeted by a car full of policemen that are beating his hands. Sergeant pleads for the police to let him in the car, but then he realizes he is not in a freight car, he is in jail.
Throughout the story, Sergeant struggles with the burden of his color. This is a metaphor that is actualized with the appearance of Jesus walking next to him in the snow. Prior to seeing Jesus, he is 'blinded' by his hunger, tiredness, and struggle to survive. It is not until he sees Jesus that he is able to look past his burden, and is able to see the beauty of life.

Sergeant and Jesus are similar in this story because they both share the burdens that society places on them. In the case of Jesus, society ostracizes him due to his beliefs and ideals that he attempts to spread amongst the people. Sergeant is outcast by society due to his color. We see similarities amongst these two because each has the burden of society. This can be seen following Sergeants destruction of the church. He like Jesus carries the cross through the streets as a burden upon himself, much like Sergeant carries the boulders on his shoulders after demolishing the church.

The next story that has a similar representation of journey is “Johnny Got His Gun,” by Dalton Trumbo. The story begins with the protagonist, Joe Bunham, working at a bakery one night when he hears a strange ringing at the bakery. It was his mother calling to say that his father had passed away and that he should come home. Joe obliges, and one of Joe’s co-workers drives him home to Los Angeles. When he arrives home he is greeted by his mother, weeping sister, and discovers his fifty-one year old, tired father dead.

After his fathers’ passing, Joe remembers what his mother used to make for dinner, and has a strange ringing in his head, similar to that of a telephone. Joe suddenly realizes that he is not dreaming about these memories, but rather he is thinking about them; he cannot see. The story skips around; fading from his thoughts to reality, but essentially the next important detail that happens is that Joe left his girlfriend Kareen, who had given him a good luck ring before we went out to war to fight for his country. During the war, an awful thing happened, that he has not realized has occurred yet. A bomb had gone off, by Joe, when he was fighting and it blew his face off, which is where his journey begins. Joe cannot see, smell, hear, feel, touch, or taste.

During the first couple chapters, Joe struggles to realize what is going on, whether or not he is dreaming. Joe unhappily realizes that he cannot see, or hear, or smell, but is able to cope. When he realizes that his arms have been amputated, he begins to become unglued. He quickly remembers that the ring Kareen had given to him when he went to war is no longer there because his arms had been amputated. Joe then struggles with why he went to war in the first place, considering that it had nothing to do with him.

He thinks about anything to get his mind off of the horrible things that have happened to his body and begins to think of ways that he can try and tell time with his body. He can feel a slight difference between his body and the feeling he is getting on his neck, and it is that he has exposed skin that is not covered up by bandages, so Joe decides that he will be able to decipher whether it is daytime or nighttime by how warm his neck gets. Joe quickly conquers the task of deciphering day and night, so he decides that he is going to try and count days, to try and find out what and when it is, and how long he has been here, living in his own thoughts. Joe develops a plan to wait for the feeling of sunrise so that he can tally the nurses' visits and count the passing of the days. A year later, Joe has accomplished his goal and counted up the last 365 days. In Joe's fourth year, he is amazed to feel that the hospital staff has prepared him to be shown to visitors. One day in particular, Joe feels the visitors lay something on his chest, he realizes he is being given a medal. Joe becomes angry and thrashes in his bed, trying to remove his mask to show the visitors how much damage men like him sustain in the war while generals emerged unscathed. Joe then realizes that he can feel the vibrations of the men leaving the room. An idea comes upon him that if he can sense the outside world through vibrations, perhaps he might also communicate to the outside world through vibrations. Joe has an idea that he is going to start tapping SOS messages in Morse code with his head. However, his nurse thinks that he is having seizures and decides to sedate him instead of investigating the problem.

Once Joe woke up from his sedation he realizes that he has received a new nurse. He wakes up to her spelling Merry Christmas on his chest. Joe signals with his body to the nurse that he understands what she had just done, and starts to try and use Morse code to try and communicate with her back. The nurse does not initially realize what he is doing, but eventually she does. Once she realizes that Joe is attempting to communicate she gets someone who knows and understands Morse code. A man comes in to assist Joe and taps “What do you want?” on his forehead. Joe thinks for sometime and he decides to ask the man to make an exhibit of Joe, informing people of the true dangers and realities of war. The man retorts back to Joe saying that “What you ask is against regulations.” The man asks Joe another question, but Joe is no longer paying any attention to the man, and instead starts tapping “why, why, why?”

The nurse thinks that he is getting too worked up and decides to sedate him. Joe suddenly realizes that they are afraid to let him out, because then people will then realize the true horrors of war, and the other men would see him as the "new messiah of the battlefields."

Although both of these stories are very different in context, they are alike in that the journey that both have to go through, and also the hardships the two men have to suffer through shows parallelisms. One obviously being more severe then the other, but both are not pleasant, nor fun by any means. They both also entail biblical personification because initially Sergeant is blinded by his hunger, tiredness, and struggle to survive, that it is not until he sees Jesus that he can now see color and the true beauties of life. In the movie, “Johnny Got His Gun,” there is a part in it when he goes to ask Jesus about what he is to do about his predicament, but once Jesus hears about his misfortune, he cannot give Joe any type of advice that would help him out in this time of need. Another similarity between these two stories is that they are both placed with a burden of society. Sergeant’s burden being race and color, and for Joe, it is that he went to war to fight for his country and gives up his life and body because of it. When he asks if he can inform people of the horrors of war, society shuts him down.

The metaphor within the two stories is that the journey that Sergeant and Joe take "open their eyes" to the world and society. Prior to walking with Jesus, Sergeant is 'blinded' by the cold shoulder of society due to his race. It is not until he walks with Jesus Christ that his eyes are opened and he is able to see the beauty of life. On the other hand, Joe experiences his journey a little differently then Sergeant in that his “eyes aren’t opened” until late in the story when he finally finds a way to communicate with the outside world to try and inform people about war, and finds that his whole mind journey of trying to communicate with someone for the last four years of his life, has been shattered by an ignorant man who says that his request is “against regulations.” These stories represent the journey that must be taken in order to truly appreciate life. Both are burdened throughout the story, but once there eyes are opened, both are able to see the big picture and appreciate life for what it is, good or bad.


Works Cited
Hughes, Langston. On The Road. 1952.
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New Jersey: Lyne Stuart, Inc. Bantam Books, 1939.

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The reason that I chose "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo is because it also Liek "On The Road", had the best representation of journey throughout the story, and it made it easy to write my final draft of my research paper.

Posted by: Thomas A. at May 1, 2008 01:59 PM

Amanda Swartz
Professor Hobbs
El267.01 American Literature: 1915-Present
23, April, 2008
Outcasts Attempt to Break Through Barriers in Trumbo and Hughes
Joe Bonham, a blind, deaf man with neither a face nor limbs attempts to communicate with the outside world in hopes of teaching others about the outcome of war in Johnny’s Got His Gun. Sargeant, an African American homeless man tries to find a place to sleep for the evening, while attempting to knock down the racial barriers he is faced with in On the Road. Two men, with hardly any obvious similarities, both share their journeys as they overcome challenging obstacles as outcasts of society. Joe and Sargeant embark on their journeys to beat the odds and to be that change in the world. They are rejected, silenced, and stopped, but they remain strong willed as they attempt to break through barriers.
Both these men are treated poorly by society, and are hardly heroic, but yet their stories follow the guidelines follow Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth fairly well. Although it is nearly impossible for Joe to communicate, he does not give in because he wants so badly to stop other people from entering the war. Sargeant wants justice and equality, and is willing to fight for his beliefs. Joe and Sargeant undergo significant changes in characters. Though their worlds are different, they begin in their own original world, enter into their own special world, and re-enter back into their own special world. Joe and Sargeant experience three stages during their journey which include the departure, initiation, and the return, and it is during these stages of their journey, they are rejected, silenced, and stopped.
Sargeant begins by following all of the rules and behaves humanely; however he faces rejection many times throughout the short story. He politely knocks at the Reverends door, asking for help, however is shunned immediately when the door is shut in his face (Hughes 1). Expecting the rejection, he moves on until he sees two church doors. When the doors are locked, he attempts to pull them open, however fails (Hughes, 1). Here is rejected by the church because he is black, and it is a white folk’s church (Hughes 2).
After countless rejections, Sargeant’s character is a changed man. He is utterly angry, so he is willing to put his life on the line to take a stand against racial inequality. Sargeant’s breaking point occurs when the police pull at him, demanding him to let go of the doors. The police are trying to stop Sargeant from entering the church, and trying to stop him from breaking down barriers. Sargeant’s departure occurs when he is called to his adventure. This call occurred the moment he decided to latch onto the church doors, even when he was being tugged away by authority. He could have let go and gave in, thus refusing the call, but instead he remained latched on to the doors. This shows his character; he is strong willed and willing to fight for what he believes is rightfully his. The police beat him until he blacks out, which is when the threshold of adventure is crossed from the ordinary world to the special world. They succeeded in silencing him.
Sargeant ordinary world is his reality: a poor homeless African American man, while his ordinary world is a dream-like runaway state of mind. Since Sargeant agreed to embark on his journey, he faced a road of trials. On his adventure, Sargeant meets Jesus, who becomes a companion for him to talk to about his problems. He is not the almighty Jesus as Christians believe; he has no advice or knowledge to instill in Sargeant. In attempts to get away to a new place, Sargeant jumps onto a train, but is beat again until he wakes up (Hughes, 4). He re-enters his ordinary world. He has returned. He is prison being beat by the guards (Hughes, 4). He has been stopped. He did not break down the racial barriers as he had intended. Although it appears as though he is defeated, he does not give up. “I’m going to break down this door,” yelled Sargeant (Hughes, 5). This statement proves that he will not give up. He knows the battle is not over for him. Sargeant will embark on a new journey, since this one did not end the way he wished.
Joe wakes up in the dark, unable to open his eyes because they are no longer a part of his face. After a few moments he realizes that he has no face. He later learns that he has no arms and legs, and solely consists of a midsection, neck, and back of the head. All he has left are his memories in which he flashes back to regularly. Joe feels helpless and useless. He feels dead even though he is alive. His mind races and memories haunt him. Joe’s original world is a world in which he is able to communicate with others and be a member of society. His special world is a world of silence. During this world of silence he can only hear himself and his memories replay in his mind. Joe’s call to adventure occurred after he realized that he lost his senses and a large part of his body during the war. He could give up, and lie their alone trapped in his mind, or find a way to feel like a member of society again. Although he is silenced, he does not give up.
His threshold to adventure is crossed when Joe is successful in learning how to develop a concept of time after endless months of counting nurse’s visits, baths, and changings. When he felt the warmth of the sun on his skin, he knew it was morning, and he recaptured time (Trumbo, 137). He becomes ecstatic and proud of his successes, and begins to embark on a new adventure. He does not refuse the call, but rather Joe practices Morse code every time a person enters the room, hoping he/she will understand. During his nurse visits, he is rejected. The nursing staff wants nothing to do with him, so they ignore his tapping. At one point even sedates him because she thinks he is having seizures (Trumbo, 166). This is another example of how he is not only rejected, but silenced. A doctor entered the room, studied his body, probed him, and cleaned out the tube in his throat (Trumbo, 184). Joe focused on tapping, and tapped even harder when the doctor stood in silence studying Joe. Joe knew the man had come to see what all the tapping was about, and he knew this was his chance to communicate. He wanted so badly to be heard, so he used all of his energy he had into tapping, until the doctor placed a needle into the stump of Joe’s arm (Trumbo, 184). “They were trying to shut him up” (Trumbo, 184). “They were forcing him to be silent” (Trumbo, 185). “They didn’t want to hear him (Trumbo, 185). Joe, although very much alive, was treated as though he had no brain in his head and he was just part of a body, lying still and silent. One day, a new day nurse enters Joe’s room. He knows she is new because she walks quieter and softer than the other nurse. His new nurse becomes his ally, as she does everything possible to understand what he is trying to communicate. She slipped items up against his body, allowing him to feel them on his skin so he could recognize them (Trumbo, 210). She put blankets on him because she thought maybe he was cold and wanted to be warm, then would take them off when he shook his head. He shook his head after every guess she made (Trumbo, 210). She realized that his tapping was rhythmic and that he was trying to communicate in Morse code, so she left the room immediately (Trumbo, 213). She brought in a man who understands Morse code to communicate with Joe. Joe’s faces a meeting with the atonement with the father, the man who holds the power. The man asks Joe what he wants, and Joe takes a long time to think about what it is that he actually wants (Trumbo, 218). He wants so many things that the man cannot give him. However, when Joe explains that he wants to be an exhibit to teach others about the outcome of war, the man explains that it would be against regulations (Trumbo, 235) Joe is defeated, and he is sedated again. He is left there hopeless to die. Joe lost his only chance to be heard. He is not only rejected and silenced again, but he is stopped from what he dreamed of doing.
Both of these protagonists’ stories end similarly. They are defeated by authority and hushed. Joe is sedated again so that he cannot speak, while Sargeant is beaten and imprisoned. They both want to make the world a better place and are willing to take a stand. The world wants nothing to do with them, and both are rejected in different ways. Sargeant is rejected by white men, while Joe is rejected by the hospital staff. While Sargeant is silenced by white policemen, Joe is silenced nurses, doctors, and armed forces.
They are both stopped from achieving their goal, but the characters are strong, even in their devastating circumstances. When most would give up, they push on. Joe becomes delusional from all of the hours of head banging, yet he continues because it is his only chance to be heard. “He knew it might be months, it might be years, it might be all the rest of his life,” before someone realizes he is trying to communicate through tapping, but he kept on tapping (Trumbo, 180). “The cops began to beat Sargeant over the head, and nobody protested. But he held on” (Hughes, 2). Sargeant holds onto the church doors, all the while holding on to what he believes in. He is fighting for his rights and the rights of all African Americans. He wants to break down the doors, which represent the racial barriers put up by whites in order to keep blacks out. Both of these men never allow themselves to let go of what they believes in, even when they are in the most trying situations.
Both of these stories do not end with an ultimate boon. The protagonists never achieve what they wished to achieve when embarking on the journey. Racism and ignorance of the outcome of war are still issues at the end of the story. Even though Joe mastered the art of communication in extreme circumstances by learning Morse code, he was not able to educate others as he hoped to do. Although Sargeant says “I’m going to break down this door,” the black man is still imprisoned by white authority (Hughes 5). Joe and Sargeant were rejected, silenced, and stopped by authority; however they remained strong through trying times.


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I submitted this analysis to this blog because I analyzed the protagonist in Johnny’s Got His Gun. I compared his character with the protagonist of Own the Road and found many similarities. I incorporated Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth into my analysis as I describe the journey that the protagonist (Joe) went through in this novel.

Posted by: Amanda Swartz at May 1, 2008 03:00 PM


Correlation Paper

by
Robert Debiec


English SEL 267 American Literature 1915-Present
Dr. Lee Hobbs
April 30, 2008


Correlation Paper
The Tony Award winning play “Fences” was written by Pittsburgh native, August Wilson. The play takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when Hank Aaron led the Milwaukee Braves to the World Series beating the New York Giants. The main character of the story, Troy, is a baseball player in the Negro Leagues but is too old when African Americans were being drafted into the Major Leagues. He moves on with his life and works for the sanitation company lifting garbage cans into the dump truck. This step back from being a professional athlete and having to settle with an “average Joe” job depresses him. His son, Cory, is offered to tryout for a football recruit coming into town. Troy does everything in his power to prevent Cory from having his same high hopes and expectations in hopes that Cory will keep his job instead. Similar themes of struggle, failure, and depression can also be seen in the song, “One” by Metallica.
In the song, “One” by Metallica, the interpreted themes are of struggle and deep depression. Metallica describes the feelings and struggles of the main character’s everyday life, as well as book and movie “Johnny Get Your Gun” which focuses on a World War I veteran who suffered many injuries. Suffering from deep depression is easily seen in “Fences.” It is also seen and well understood that the veteran would suffer from great depression as well. Evidence of depression in the song “One” is seen in the refrain, “hold my breath as I wish for death, oh please God wake me.” Troy experiences all of these emotions and hardships in the play “Fences” and can be correlated with one another. Through the advances of science and technology, the main characters’ bitterness towards athleticism due to struggle in Wilson’s Play, “Fences” can be seen in parallel to the song “One” written by Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.
Science and technology have advanced rapidly over the last few years, especially in medicine. According to the Civil War Homepage under Civil War Medicine,
“Approximately 620,000 men-360,000 Northerners and 260,000 Southerners-died in the four-year conflict, a figure that tops the total fatalities of all other wars in which America has fought. Of these numbers, approximately 110,000 Union and 94,000 Confederate men died of wounds received in battle. Every effort was made to treat wounded men within 48 hours; most primary care was administered at field hospitals located far behind the front lines. Those who survived were then transported by unreliable and overcrowded ambulances-two-wheeled carts or four-wheeled wagons-to army hospitals located in nearby cities and towns.”
(Civil War)
Research and anthropological studies have recovered a witness’ description of the medical tent during the Civil War posted under the Civil War Homepage estimating 175,000 wounds to extremities among the Federal troops in which 30,000 led to leg amputation. ‘‘Tables about breast high had been erected upon which the screaming victims were having legs and arms cut off. The surgeons and their assistants, stripped to the waist and bespattered with blood, stood around, some holding the poor fellows while others, armed with long, bloody knives and saws, cut and sawed away with frightful rapidity, throwing the mangled limbs on a pile nearby as soon as removed” (Civil War). During this period, according to researchers and specialists of this historic field, the answer to many medical related issues, especially in battle, resulted in butchery. Of course, nothing to that degree exists in today’s medical field, although we are still evolving from what many doctors still consider barbaric.
Atul Gawande, author of National Book Award Finalist, “Complication: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science,” states the place and uncertainty of medicine and how it is constantly evolving, “Medicine is, I have found, a strange and in many ways disturbing business. The stakes are high, the liberties taken tremendous. We drug people, put needles and tubes into them, manipulate their chemistry, biology, and physics, lay them unconscious and open their bodies up to the world. We do so out of an abiding confidence in our know-how as a profession” (Gawande 4). We have evolved so much from the time we used amputation as a cure for wounds in the civil war. Gawande also says that, “What you find when you get in close, however--close enough to see the furrowed brows, the doubts and missteps, the failures as well as the successes--is how messy, uncertain and also surprising medicine turns out to be...You have a cough that won’t go away--and then? It’s not science you all upon but a doctor” (Gawande 4). It is here that Gawande explains to us that it may be an imperfect science because the medium in which science is being utilized, humans, is in fact imperfect. Gawande writes, “A doctor with good days and bad days. A doctor with a weird laugh and a bad haircut. A doctor with three other patients to see and, inevitably, gaps in what he knows and skills he’s still trying to learn” (Gawande 4). Through his explanation, Gawande sheds light on the fact that medicine, even though it has advanced greatly over time, will always be an imperfect science because, like any other person, it is the doctor utilizing the tools to help, not the science. The science itself is only imperfect because we, as humans who conduct such measures, are the limiting factor to obtainable perfection.
Another example of the imperfect science is seen in the lyrics and music video of Metallica’s song “One,” which is based off of Dalton Trumbo’s novel, “Johnny Got Your Gun.” The novel tells a story of a soldier in WWI, who had undergone the rigors of trench warfare. A land mine had hit him leaving him without sight, arms, legs, speech, hearing, and the will to live. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich compose the song that describes medicine and its advancements and how the doctors may have replaced their morals for scientific advancements. Hetfield and Ulrich wrote, “Back in the womb its much too real, In pumps life that I must feel, But cant look forward to reveal,
Look to the time when Ill live, Fed through the tube that sticks in me, Just like a wartime novelty,
Tied to machines that make me be, Cut this life off from me” (Metallica).
Metallica describes the advanced technology in medical science for a patient that who at this point of the story is literally in a ‘in-the womb’ state. He cannot see, hear, smell, move voluntarily, or taste. Through advances in medical science, the doctors are so pleased that they are able to hook him up to tubes and machines that allow him to breath, palpitate his heart, and control blood flow properly, as well as inserted a feeding tube, but they forget how the patient may be feeling in his conscious state. Thus, the main character of this song and novel suffers from great depression as seen in the refrain of the lyrics, “Hold my breath as I wish for death, Oh please god,wake me, Now the world is gone Im just one, Oh god, help me hold my breath as I wish for death, Oh please God help me” (Metallica). This depression from the patient is seen in the lyrics written by Metallica, as his life becomes so meaningless that he begs for death due to his now unfair and mistreated life. Understanding that the main character of the song and novel had undergone much trial and suffering and fighting hurdles that he could not defeat, the main character, Troy, in the playwright “Fences,” also suffered in a similar context, but not with medically related issues.
In the city of Pittsburgh, early in the century where there was yet still a negro baseball league, Troy was a promising baseball player, but eventually left his dream to become a garbage man instead. His dream was left behind because when certain teams in the country began to allow African-Americans in the major leagues, he became too old to be drafted. August wrote in his play “Fences”, “Rose: They got a lot of colored baseball player now. Jackie Robinson was the first. Folks had to wait for Jackie Robinson” (Fences 11). Seeing himself that his time would have been much better well spent working and finding a suitable job, he struggles again to reach a desired goal. Troy wanted to know why the black men had to load the garbage into the truck while only the white men were allowed to drive the trucks. Through much fighting and bickering with his boss, eventually Troy does achieve his goal to drive the garbage truck. And like the evolution of medical science and technology, the medical world too had much struggle to gain the respect that it deserved as an art.
In conclusion, it is struggle, that is shared in the advancement of science and technology also in the same fashion as in “Fences” and “One.” It is the same struggle that Atul Gawande mentioned of medicine being an imperfect science that is constantly evolving and as we can see through example, with much struggle. Medical science suffered with the technology labeled as butchery in the civil war to now involving an art form involving drugs, machines, and precise surgeries performed with extreme care, medicine had to go through many trials to get to where it is today, just as Troy had struggled by not becoming a professional baseball player, but later succeeded by becoming the truck driver. The main character of “One” also struggles because he suffers with the fact that he himself became a scientific experiment for the sake of technological advancement in medicine. Therefore, there is one theme that links the advancement of science and technology, the main character in “One,” and the main character in “Fences”; that theme is struggle.

Works Cited

Civil War Society, . (2006). Civil War Medicine. Retrieved 18 April 2008, from Website:http://

www.civilwarhome.com/civilwarmedicine.htm.

Gawande, Atul, . Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science. ed. Vol. . New

York: Macmillan, 2003. 4.

One, director. , Metallica, ., Sweet Silence Studios, 1989.

Wilson, August, . Fences. ed. Vol. . New York: Nal Penguin Inc., 1986. 11.

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I chose to post my research under Trumbo's, "Johnny Got His Gun" because one of the main topics in my research was the song "One" by Metallica. The song "One" is a reflection of Trumbo's book. It also was a direct tie in with my other research topics.

Posted by: Robert Debiec at May 2, 2008 01:50 AM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at May 6, 2008 10:55 AM

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