Generals Die in Bed - The Horrors of War

1212 Words5 Pages
“Harrison’s underlying theme – the horror of war – is particularly clear if we examine the actions and comments of his narrator”. Discuss. It is said that war can change a man. What exactly is meant by this phrase? What things might a soldier experience in war? What things would a soldier experience enough to ultimately change him? In Harrison’s novel Generals Die in Bed (GDIB), the horror of war is an underlying theme and is depicted through many of the challenges the narrator encounters in the text. The horror of war is portrayed through the course of the novel through things such as having a constant fear of the unknown, the psychological effects of war, man’s inhumanity to other men, and ultimately: death. Not knowing what’s around the corner is always a terrifying feeling. The notion of not knowing what is coming up always makes us believe that something dreadful is going to take place. In GDIB, constant fear of the unknown is a focal point through out the course of the novel. In war, there are only millions of things that could take place in a single day. Harrison has made this clear to the readers by putting scenario after scenario 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 ‘Back to the Round’, the narrator and company have to move around the trenches on their bellies. This is because there is a sniper in the trees which causes a constant fear of death. Although they identify that there is a sniper, they still fear him because they cannot discern exactly when he will strike. “Sooner or later this German sniper, who keeps us cowering in cold fear, will be caught in an advance by our troops.” Also in this chapter, the character of Brown, is killed by the sniper. Brown’s death would’ve made the narrator even more fearful of the unknown because he now knows what
Open Document