Analysis Of Charles Yale Harrison's Generals Die In Bed

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Charles Yale Harrison’s novel Generals Die in Bed strips away the misconception that war and is glorious and in doing so strongly conveys to the reader the horrible reality that was the First World War Harrison emphasises the harshness of this reality through the constant bombardment of gruesome and desensitising events experienced by the Narrator. The dramatic degree of different between the fictional views held by the public and the truth is highlighted by the contrast of the soldier’s experiences and society’s false impressions. Furthermore the novel shows war for what it truly is, a dominant force with the power to consume, transform and scar all that stands in it’s way. Through GDIB the reader is given a raw and truthful depiction of the…show more content…
The soldiers become acclimatised to the death and violence that surrounds them and this is further highlighted by Harrison’s use of spare and blunt descriptions of the soldier’s experiences. “I step on something soft. It is the ripped open stomach of a German. I walk on.”The lack of aggrandising language enables the reader to take the situation for what it is and this results in a more honest and realistic depiction of the situation because the horrors are able to speak for themselves. This use of language is scene again when Brown is killed by the sniper. Harrison describes the scene where the men sit in the presence of Brown’s dead body and divide up what was his share of the rations. Through their lack of shock, horror or despair we see that death, no matter how abhorrent or disturbing no longer fazes these men as it has simply become a staple part of their lives. Due to the absence of shock at times of terrifying death and misery the reader is able to clearly discover that these occurrences were in no war rare. The creation of these emotionally vacant individuals emphasises what is just another horrible reality of…show more content…
They are not able to escape its “ominous thunder” it’s “howling madness’ nor it’s “senseless volcanic fury”. Harrison describes scenes where the war takes on human characteristics and speaks to the soldiers. As the novel progresses the war become more and more humanised, and seemingly parallels the dehumanisation of the soldiers. Harrison describes the ‘howl of the bombardment’ and machine guns as “coming to life.” The assigning of human characteristics to war impresses up the reader it’s power. We also see that war was created by humans, but we are unable to control to it. This lack of control is shown when war is described as “an insane god.” Through wars sheer power to devastate all around it we see that its effects are not short lived, and in fact in reality war doesn’t end when the guns are

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