Why Do Generals Die In Bed Dehumanization

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Charles Yale Harrison’s novel “Generals die in bed” directly depicts the catastrophic dehumanization of soldiers in war through each and every one of his characters. Dehumanization is the process of losing altruistic or individual qualities, as may occur in some psychotic states or in environments that produce emotional trauma and may be influenced by external forces. The environment and external forces in Harrison’s novel were the trenches. From the beginning of the novel the men are normal civilians, with morals and righteous beliefs who show great respect for their fellow man. Yet soon after they are stationed on the western front these men are transformed into barbaric killers whom resent and show very little mercy for their fellow man…show more content…
They even fantasize about killing the sniper in the most brutal of ways, “He will hold his trembling hands on high and stammer the international word for compassion and mercy. He will say that beautiful word comrade, a word born in suffering and sorrow, but we will stab him down with our bayonets.” This shows the resentment for the sniper and how mercilessness the men have become, by literally wanting to kill a soldier begging for his life. Before the war these men even in their worst nightmare would not do such a violent and barbaric act, yet they all have the intense desire to do so. Not only do the men resent the enemy they begin to resent each other. Clark has no respect for his troops and this leads to resentment towards himself. Brown is angry towards Clark; Clark gave brown “silent insolence” because brown tore his uniform. “I’ll kill the bastard that’s what I’ll do. I’m just waiting until we get into a real scrap. I’ll plug him right between the shoulder blades.” Brown believes that Clark is being unreasonable and abusive towards his authority as brown tore his uniform while doing fatigues. Clark has no mercy towards his men which ultimately leads to his death. The soldiers lack of mercy and resentment unfortunately led to them dying is a very sadistic emotional state and not in a noble and courageous
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