Johnny Got His Gun


This anti-war novel is written from the point of view of an injured World War I infantryman (Joe Bonham). As the plot progresses we realize how severe the injuries are (most of his face has been blown away and eventually his arms and legs must be amputated--leaving a faceless torso) and why the story is being told by an interior monologue voice. Interspersed with recollections of Joe Bonham's life is a description of his amazing struggle to remain human.
This novel has many important aspects such as main character, main character?s dynamic growth and main character?s static immobility but the most significant aspect is the use of symbolism. The story?s purpose as a whole is to inform that war is not filled with glory but pain and suffering. Life is something much to valuable to be taken for granted. People say I?d rather die with honor than live with disgrace. These are the words of stupidity because no one knows what death is like and there is no turning back after you are dead. Johnny was fortunate enough to be alive after the bomb exploded, however he was operated on so much that the only thing left was a living stump. He could not see, eat, breath, smell, touch, or walk. Only in that state can a person really appreciates life. Johnny got his gun to fight for a cause, but what was that cause? Was he fighting to make the world safe for democracy, was he fighting for glory, for honor, for patriotism? He was used just like many other foolish young and old men who went to fight. They did not really understand what war was all about until they saw the guts of they guy they lived next to their entire childhood spilled across the muddy trenches. Using Johnny and his experience during the war and after lying in bed for 7 years Trumbo points out his views against war and injustices.
Johnny got his gun deals with other aspects which Trumbo revealed using symbolism. He goes into talking about abandonment, body self-image, human worth, institutionalization, loneliness, suffering, survival, time, trauma, war and medicine.
Only after losing all your limbs, your nose, your sight, your ability to hear and speak your sense of smell, and taste does a person realize that he is truly alone. Johnny stays in this state for many years but he refuses to give up, there will be no abandonment for him because he always has that glimmer of hope that one day he will find a way to communicate and get out of where ever he is.
Johnny?s life was filled with many typical American experiences before he reached his horrible fate. He was in many ways a typical American. The image of a typical American teen was set up for us a long time ago, and many people conform to fit this image. Its different for adults, therefore the typical American is whatever any American does that is classified as typical, whether it?s going to a baseball game, going to the movies with mom and pops, or going out for a cola with your girl. In those days everything everyone did was typical. Everyone?s actions fit into the norm of American society. Johnny definitely fit the image of a typical American. He would go camping with his dad, and they would go fishing. When he grew older he would go camping with his friends, guys like Bill Harper and Glen Hogan. He went to the movies with his girl Kareen. One time he and Bill decided to go to the local whorehouse, Stumpy Telsa?s the called it. They had heard all kinds of stories about it but now that they were 18 they decided to go check it out for themselves. Now does this mean that every typical American youth goes to whore houses and drinks and goes camping, of course not?but that was the thing to do back then.
Does this mean that all American teens like to do is party hard and go to whorehouses? This does not say anything about America because you can?t judge a country by some of its inhabitants. No everyone is the same, as times change so will people?s deeds. People may not change from the inside but from the outside they will