"We light cigarettes against orders and cup our hands around them to hide the glow. We sit thinking. Fry stands motionless with his steel helmet shoved down almost over his eyes. He leans against the parapet motionless. There is a quiet dignity about his posture. I remember what we were told at the base about falling asleep on sentry duty. I nudge his leg. He grunts."
Generals Die in Bed is a anti-war novella written by a Canadian author. Based on a true story, this novella showcases the reality of being in the trenches of WW I. The passage I have selected above shows how defiant one can be in a time of stress and emotional trauma as well as how authority can set seemingly unfair rules. This passage can easily display themes of rebellious and defiance towards authority as it also creates a mood of anxiety and gloom through a first person perspective.
Defiance is a bold resistance to authority and in this case the defiance of the soldiers is a perfect example of being rebellious to higher authority. While the soldiers work and live in the trenches they have a cloud hanging over them of not knowing what is to come. This is often an intimidating feeling and when one is intimidated they will find ways to assert their own importance which is often through rebellious acts. Intimidation often goes hand in hand with fear and in this novella and passage fear is a present theme.
A theme is a unifying or dominant idea and clearly portrayed in this novella a few obvious themes may include defiance, rebellion, fear of the unknown and fear of death. This passage more so focuses on the theme of defiance; as they claimed "We light cigarettes against orders..". There is a higher authority that has set rules for the soldiers. This idea of the 2 soldiers disobeying the rules is a very easily targeted example of rebellion or a rebellious act. As well as the soldier spoke of not falling asleep on sentry duty and when he noticed the second soldier Fry falling...
...The Horror of war on the Soldier in Charles Yale Harrison’s GeneralsDie in Bed
Eng 22 PB
Some people say that war can change a man. What exactly do they mean by this phrase? What are some possible things that a soldier could experience in war? What are some things a soldier has experienced enough of that can fundamentally change his life? In Charles Yale Harrison’s novel GeneralsDie inBed, the horror of war is a vital theme and is characterized through many challenges the narrator encounters in the novel. The horror of war is portrayed throughout the novel through things such as having a perpetual fear of the unknown, the psychological effects of war, and conclusively: death.
Not knowing what is going to happen is always an intimidating feeling. The idea of not knowing what is coming up always makes us believe that something horrendous is going to take place. In GeneralsDie in Bed, a non-stop fear of the unknown is an important point throughout the novel. In war, there are only millions of things that could take place during one single day. Charles Harrison has made this point clear to the readers by focusing on one scenario after another of unexpected events right in the narrator’s face. It is through what the narrator experiences that we glimpse the true nature of war. In Chapter 4, “Back to the Round”, the narrator and...
...Through the soldiers’ experiences, the narrator shows only the dark side of human nature. Discuss.
Generalsdie in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison is a novel where a young Canadian soldier tells of his first hand account of the harsh and inhumane conditions in the trenches on the Western Front during World War 1. Through his observations and experiences the Narrator shows the effects of war on ordinary people and how they manage in extraordinarily horrific situations. Even though the brutal nature of the war is often reflected in the violent way that combatants act towards one another there are also moments when compassion and mercy is shown. The novel demonstrates that in extreme situations both the dark and the good side of human nature are revealed.
The novel depicts how the war brings out disrespect and selfishness in the soldiers. Just like their constant companions the lice and the rats, the soldiers in the trench adapt to the hell that they find themselves trapped in – doing whatever it takes to survive. They even fight each other over food ‘at each others throats like hungry, snarling animals’. As the novel and the war progresses so does the inhumane side of the soldiers who become increasing more detached from killing, unconcerned with the death of friends. The soldiers are conditioned, hardened up and desensitised with self preservation becoming a key motivator. This is shown as the soldiers plunder the city of Arras,...
...Soldiers, the Animals in War
In order to survive in given circumstances, creatures must adapt. In times of war, this principle is regularly applied since the circumstances of war often end with regular men developing selfish behavioral adaptations simply for the sake of survival. Soldiers become responsible for malice that could never be imagined in civilian life. In the novel, GeneralsDie in Bed, by Charles Yale Harrison, all the soldiers were once normal civilians. However, due to the pragmatic needs of survival, they are reduced to beings no better than the rats they dwell with.
The inhumane treatment the soldiers receive from their superiors cause them to become animalistic. Instead of sharing a mutual respect, the generals treat the soldiers as if they were their pets and abuse them on countless occasions. Since the soldiers cannot protest against their generals, they are forced to bear through the brutal treatment and eventually accustom themselves to it. This treatment is displayed when a recruit is suffering from pain as he has been marching for hours and “the officer takes him by the scruff of the neck and hauls him to his feet” (101) showing that the soldiers are treated no better than a disobedient dog. While on rest, the men are forced to sleep in "a large barn with a gaping roof" (18). The soldiers must deal with makeshift sleeping quarters filled with "ancient tray straw" (18) that is...
...TOPIC: “It is the way in which Harrison creates a sense of the mood and
atmosphere of life in the war zone that holds our attention most strongly.”
Harrison’s novel, ‘GeneralsDie in Bed’, tells a stark and poignant story of a young man sent to fight on the Western Front. The novel is powerful and although the language is quite graphic and intense it also gives the reader a feeling of sympathy towards the soldiers. The story is told through the narrator’s eyes, and is told as if it is happening in front of the reader, like a film. Harrison creates a barren landscape, destroyed by war, and the characters inhabit this wasteland. In a sparse but gripping style, he conveys a sense of the horrors of life in the trenches where soldiers fight and die, entombed in mud, surrounded by rats and lice and forced to survive on insufficient rations. This image and style of writing is exactly what holds our attention so strongly throughout the novel.
Harrison’s intention is to awaken his readers to the new reality of War. The opening chapter portrays the new soldiers leaving Montreal for the first time as lost, unhappy and childish in their attempts to blot out their fears of what is to come. The parade to the train station is described in a series of fragmented images, in an atmosphere of bewilderment and degradation. Quickly enough, in the following chapter, Harrison sends his unnamed narrator over to France,...
...GeneralsDie In Bed
Chapter by Chapter
• Montreal, Quebec – Setting
• Dilapidated, squalid red brick houses
• Heavy odour of stale booze and women is in the air
• Sleeping in a barn-like bunk room
• “The room is fouled with the odours of dissipation.”
• They are all recruits waiting to go to the war
• “Men are hauled out of there bunks and strapped into their equipment.”
• Main character is only 18
• The people of the city celebrate the departure of the battalion with fireworks, women are hysterical
• A random girl kisses the protagonist
• He likes the confusion of the war, heroes, music, fireworks, the kiss of the girl.
• “She is the last link between what I am leaving and the war.”
• The protagonist thinks of running away with the girl.
• They are hustled onto the train and taken off to war.
• Winding their way through the muddy communication trench
• “In the dark we stumble against the sides of the trench and tear our hands and clothing on the bits of embedded barbed wire that runs through the earth here as though it were a geographical deposit.”
• Fry keeps slipping into holes in the ground, Brown and the protagonist fish him out and he wants them to let him lie there and he will come on later.
• The Sergeant pretty much forces him to keep going.
• They arrive at their positions at midnight....
...GENERALDIE IN BED
1.What happens as the soldiers are marching out to rest? What is the author’s reaction to these events and how is this reaction conveyed through the use of language?
They are being bombarded by the enemy when they reached a crossroad which they are ordered to fall in. The author is scared to these events, and he keeps describing the sound of the war (e.g. the sound of the gun and the bombardment) to convey his fear. Also he uses a lot of analogy and emotive language to convey his reaction, for example, “The dark is stabbed with a burst of red flame. We duck our heads and hunch our shoulders instinctively.” “The road is an inferno.”
p.58 – What has an impact upon the narrator? Why do you think he is surprised about this event, but not about the precious events narrated?
They arrived at a place that the houses haven’t been destroyed by the war. He is surprised because he knows he has arrived at a village that there are people lining, which means it is temperately safe and peace for him, and he can have a rest from the war.
What is the soldiers’ reaction to the smell of beans?
They “take deep, long inhalations.” They enjoy the smell of beans so much, because it is a symbol of being alive, and peaceful. They keep on talking about the smell of beans and making an Army joke of it. They also remember of Brownie and feel sorry about him.
What is their reaction to Brown’s death? Why do you...
...Anderson. Soon after, the story shifts to the trenches, where the conditions are unsanitary with lice and fat rats. The narrator (which is still and will stay unknown) changes his perspective about war. When he thought war contained glory and glamour, he finds himself wrong when his comrades start to die, beginning with Brown. A while later, he is emotionally affected when he kills a German with his bayonet. His emotional status worsens when another of his friend dies. The narrator then goes on leave for 10 days in England, where a prostitute makes him forget about the war. When he comes back, an attempt to raid the Germans takes place where the rest of his friends, except Broadbent dies. The general tells the new team that the Germans sank a hospital ship, and organizes another raid, this time to kill everyone. The narrator has wounded his foot, and discover that Broadbent was mortally wounded too. Broadbent’s leg is hanging by a string of flesh, but then dies by blood loss. Then the war is over. The recruits are told that the general lied, the Germans didn’t sink a hospital ship. It was a ship filled with weapons. He then realizes war is basically a chess game for the generals, and the soldiers are just young boys, listening to the orders, with meaningless ideals
...The novel ‘Generalsdie in bed’ written by Charles Yale Harrison tells a story surrounding a young Canadian soldier’s experiences in the first world war .The nameless soldiers experiences in the trenches intensity as the story progresses. The narrator and the soldiers just got one conviction that was keep alive in the horror war. And the people who were not participate just laugh even appreciate this war is good for man.
First, Even though Harrison has shown us many cases where the comradeship and friendship get over taken by the fear of death and urge for survival, he still want us to remember that the mate ship and basic human values are not totally nonexistence. In Chapter 9 over the top “I look at Reynaud. His eyes are wide open. He keeps licking his parched lips……” The war has not yet made the soldiers machinelike. In situation like this, they know to take care of the young and weak. This demonstrates that in some circumstances, the war does bring out some of the men’s good if not best qualities.
Then the glory and heroism were disappeared in the war, in chapter 4 back to the round, Brown was the man distribute food to the soldiers, and he got head short by the Germany snipers, when he stand up to reach. <2>, that what was they feel or farewell to Brown, no sympathize, no sad feeling, when they lose a friend was joking and laughing with them just now. The body that what they called browns after his death and they were...