Johnny Got His Gun Dialectical Journals - Johnny Got His...

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Johnny Got His Gun Dialectical Journals “He was nutty because he had a hangover a big hangover and he was having bad dreams. Pretty soon if he had to he'd wake up and answer the phone but somebody should do it for him if they had any consideration at all because he was tired and sick of it.” Chapter 1 page Context: In the first chapter the book opens to Joe working at the bakery in Los Angeles. The phone is ringing and it is his mother calling. His father has died at age 51. His coworker gives him a ride home. He gets there and sees his dad lying on the couch dad with a sheet over his head. Men come and take him. His mom weeps. He believes he is dreaming and he will wake up and everything will be normal but it won’t be because he is not who he was and he does not yet know it. His hangover is not a hangover, there is no phone ringing. It is all in his imagination. Response: This opening scene is crucial because it gives us a false exposition that leads to the shock of Joe’s actual current situation. This scene gives us insight into who Joe is and what kind of person he is. Through this scene Trumbo sets the scene into the confusion that is seen in the first three chapters as the reader does not yet understand what has happened to Joe and neither does he so that is the point. We are literally in Joe’s mind and that sets the stage for the effectiveness of the perspective the book is narrated from. He went down into the water again and fought and fought and then came up with his belly jumping and his throat aching. Chapter 3 Context: Joe realizes his situation. He is wounded, in a hospital yet he does not yet understand the significance of the situation. All he knows is that he cannot move and that they have just amputated his arm. He is furious he yells in his head asking how they could do that to him. He then sinks back into his memory feeling as if he is drowning though he is not but he feels as if he is. Response: Water or rather a river is used throughout the book as a metaphor for his situation. This gives us insight on his life as to him what he is feeling right now is the equivalent to drowning. Through this we learn more and more about what is currently occuring. Joe is a wounded World War I veteran and he has one arm, that is all we know at this point. The way Trumbo reveals things is seen here and that is very important in the overall structure of the book which contributes to its message and the effectiveness of this message. Further, the use of spacing in which
Trumbo will alternate chapters switching from a memory to the current moment is effective because eventually it is confusing about what is happening and is not and that adds to the effectiveness of the anti-war message.

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