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The generals die in bed by charles harrison essay

  1. The people he had considered brothers throughout the novel.
  2. Since the narrator had been so used to the loud sounds that were made when being shelled, he started to consider that every single loud sound is either a gunshot or a sound of a shell going off.
  3. Our faces are tanned and weather-beaten and that aged look which the trench gives us still lingers a bit, but our bodies are the bodies of boys. There is no way to read this book and emerge less than uneasy.
  4. It's a question of blood.
  5. At the end of the legend I knew this was the one I wanted to choose, simply from the way it was retold. Against the idea of military discipline, we see Canadian soldiers looting an unoccupied French village, breaking into churches, stealing food, vandalizing, destroying artworks, and finally setting fire to the houses.

Like Wilfred Owens, whose poetry focus on the dehumanizing effects of war, Harrison also outlines the numerous costs. One of many untrained Canadian infantrymen who enlists, this narrator, feels apprehensive.

Generals Die in Bed

I do not want to go to war. More than ten million lives were lost in the war; 240 soldiers died every hour of every day for four years. Harrison demystifies war and shows that rather than being glamorous and glorious, it is horrible, futile, and shocking.

  • Initially, readers are introduced to the names of the group of five but as each dies, except for the narrator, they remain nameless;
  • And ultimately win the war;
  • Far from making men out of boys, war in this narrative takes decent humans and brutalizes them;
  • Furthermore, they become desensitized to pain and death.

Dehumanized, and at times bestial, the soldiers are not noble and brave heroes, but ordinary men who smell defeat. They have had thousands of orders drilled into them and respond robotically. A thousand trivial rules, each with a penalty for an infraction, has made will-less robots of us all.

Furthermore, they become desensitized to pain and death. This is obvious when Karl pleads for his life because he has three children. Initially, readers are introduced to the names of the group of five but as each dies, except for the narrator, they remain nameless. Even in periods of rest, the soldiers live in temporarily deserted barns, half-empty villages and eventually Arras, which they wantonly destroy.

Throughout the text Harrison uses juxtapositions to reinforce his point that the men are not naturally savage, but become so. They simply follow orders: Harrison also sets up a comparison between the honourable values and the nice words used by those who are ignorant of the horrors of the trenches, and the harsh and grubby reality of those who have to fight for every morsel of bread.

  • This constant fear is what drives soldiers to keep fighting;
  • Dickens uses techniques such as a chronological linear narrative, an omniscient narrator, the celebration of the ordinary, and the resolution of the enigma to drive the moral undercurrents of Pip's everyday existence;
  • The shaking becomes worse;
  • J Rodgers states, "The winners and losers in the information age will be differentiated by brainpower;
  • The problem here is that the orderly was wrong.

This becomes particularly apparent when Broadbent and Cleary fight over a morsel of bread and if not for the actions taken by the soldiers to separate them, it could also be a fight to the death.

Here there is an implied criticism of the Generals or the officials in charge, who are abandoning the soldiers during their time of need. Harrison also sets up another comparison between the ordinary heroic soldier who battles the atrocities of war, and the heroic soldier who wins medals. In this case, if there is a hero, Harrison suggests, it is the soldiers who have to withstand the terror of war and the horror of the trenches. He is the only one to return with a prisoner, during a very dangerous offensive during which 40 of the 100 troops were killed.

In the trench, it was either him or Karl and he was the survivor on this occasion. If the soldiers are systematically dehumanized through terror, Karl is humanized as the narrator depicts the suffering of their agonizing confrontation.

The German shrieks and howls as the narrator thrusts his foot against him to free his rifle. He realizes he has committed state-sanctioned murder. They are also shot dead. The orderly believes that their shameful conduct leading to an indefensible loss of life should have cost them their lives. However, the generals live a the generals die in bed by charles harrison essay existence and in many cases trivialize the endeavour of the troops and exploit their courage.

They are used as cannon-fodder during many unwinnable battles. Once again we recall the title, Generals die in Bed which depicts the relative comfort of the generals who are removed from the terror of the trenches. This is not only distasteful but trivializes the legacy of the fallen soldiers.

It makes a mockery out of the sacrifices that are exacted from them for their country.

  1. The officers lied to the troops before the Battle of Amiens so as to try to motivate the soldiers. Is it plausible that such a rumour, as passed on by the orderly, was circulating?
  2. And ultimately win the war. In the trench, it was either him or Karl and he was the survivor on this occasion.
  3. We are avenging the sinking of the hospital ship.
  4. Many of these are offered in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, which follows the life and struggles of the protagonist and narrator, Pip.

The Generals give the orders and do not become involved in the savagery. During one of the bloodiest offensives, the colonel offers the narrator a drink of rum when he returns from killing Karl. However, although the narrator is decorated for bravery he nevertheless reflects upon the senseless encounter whereby they are exposed to extreme danger.

Up to 40 of the 100 troops were killed and the only comfort the General offers is a drink of rum. Another casualty of war is the truth. The officers in charge contravene the rules of war in a most despicable manner and betray their own soldiers in the process. The officers lied to the troops before the Battle of Amiens so as to try to motivate the soldiers. They claimed that the Germans had brutally and purposely attacked an ally hospital ship.

However, the allied officers did not tell the troops that the allies had already broken the rules of war because they had tried to conceal ammunition on a hospital ship believing that it would gain safe passage. The Generals such these details.

Effects of War on Soldier in Generals Die in Bed

This leads to another contravention — the Canadians shoot the surrendered German soldiers at point-blank range thinking that they are avenging the LLC. The German soldiers plead for mercy. We are avenging the sinking of the hospital ship.

Although the Germans plead for mercy, there is none. Harrison shows there is no pity in war — only rank brutality. The Generals exploit them in harsh ways, sacrificing their honour as well as that of the troops and also conceal the truth from them so that they will inflict greater horrors on their German enemies.