Johnny Got His Gun


Johnny Got His Gun was not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be about the battles that were fought throughout the war. Instead it was about a man who had been severely injured by a bomb. The entire story takes place with the protagonist in a hospital bed. He remembers his childhood and thinks about the war. He cannot see or hear and has to rely on touch to know what's going on around him. This setting was very different from all the action I expected from a war book.
I guess it's good to have a different perspective on war because usually all you will hear are stories that make war seem exciting. It's not often you'll hear about the other side of war. I think that's what the author of this book is trying to show us. He wants to show the bad part of war, the stuff that nobody wants to hear about. He does this by giving graphic details. In one part of the book the protagonist Johnny wonders why he didn't die from his wounds. He remembers how some people who have a limb blown off are lucky enough to have maggots infest the wound. They are lucky because the maggots help keep gangrene out of it by eating the dead tissue. He thinks that he is missing his arms and legs and thinks that it's because he didn't have any maggots to keep the wound clean. The book talks about a rat that nibbles at Johnny during the night and there's nothing he can do about it because he cannot move without a nurse helping him. A few weeks ago he would have thought nothing of turning over by himself in bed. Back home he remembered how only a few months ago he could throw bags of grain around and think nothing of it. Now he lay in a hospital bed unable to move. Plastic tubes feed him meals and probably kept him breathing as well. He wants to die but cannot because he's too weak to kill himself. This brings up the question of whether a doctor should be allowed to take a patient's life due to suffering. Johnny would like the doctor to kill him. He would tell the doctor this, but he can't speak or communicate in any way. Johnny is able to figure out what's going on around by feeling. He can sense when a nurse walks into the room by feeling the vibrations of her footsteps. Johnny tries to think of many different things so his mind stays active. There isn't much to do when you can?t hear and can?t see. He remembers his family and how it was growing up. He thinks about how pointless war is and how millions of lives have been wasted on this one war alone. Just so a dispute between several countries can be resolved. Even then, nothing much changes. Millions of lives are spent and then some like Johnny survive. Johnny decides that he is still alive, but doesn?t know why. He thinks that all his limbs are gone and that he is just a stump. He doesn?t know why then he didn?t bleed to death. He wants to know what is going on around him. He trys to keep track of time. He does this by counting how long it takes for the nurses to make their rounds. He has nothing else to do so little things like this become very important to Johnny. He loses track many times, but eventually he decides how long it takes for the nurses to make their rounds. By keeping track of the nurses Johnny can tell if it's day or night. This is very important Johnny. Even with your lying in bed you have have to have some sense of time or you could go crazy.