** spoiler alert **
Johnny Got His Gun was written in 1959 by the author Dalton Trumbo. The book is about the main character Joe Bonham who was an American soldier who was fighting in world war one before an unfortunate incident causes him to be stuck between dead and alive. Though he can still think and feel he has lost his ability to speak, hear, smell, see, and walk. The book about his long trail and suffering with his condition.
The book takes place in a hospital where Joe spends his time thinking about how horrible war is and the things he regrets. With all this time he finds out many harsh things like how his body is nothing more then I completely disfigured face and torso. Having none of the senses that come with his missing body parts he can’t tell when he is dreaming or its reality. With such a mentally destructive situation he spends a lot of his time trying to grasp the world around him to keep him from losing his mind. He uses the only sense he has left to feel vibrations and heat so he knows which nurse or doctor is in the room caring for him and he can also tell whether its day or night by feeling the sunlight. Joe also spends a lot of time getting lost in old memories of before the incident and dreams, and a lot of time thinking about the world and his opinions on things.
The main point of this book was to show how horrible war is and to make the reader think of all the consequences of war and how the people involved are so brutally affected. This book does a great job of scarring the reader out of ever wanting to be in war. The author did that so well because the condition of the main character was so disgusting physically and unimaginably terrifying mentally. To go through years of your life only able to feel the daily footsteps of nurses, having no idea whether your dreams are reality and having only your own thoughts to keep you company and though these thoughts tell you to end your life you can’t because you can’t even hold your breath to kill yourself. I think that this idea was extremely freighting because of the mental torment and knowing that you’re slowly slipping into insanity. The main character does a very good job at handling the situation until when you finally think there’s hope in the end when he discovers away to talk to the others using Morse code asking to be put outside and all the government says is that’s against regulations and they lock him up and keep him a secret from the world. This is the final point the author makes showing how horrible governments involved in war are.
I thought this book was very powerful and interesting but it was also boring at times because it was a bit slow. I would recommend this book to strong readers who enjoy very thought provoking reading.