Generals Die in Bed

926 WordsApr 30, 20114 Pages
Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison ‘Generals Die in Bed’ demonstrates that the war only bring the sense of futility and despair.’ Discuss. By Saro Man 9B Generals Die in Bed certainly demonstrates that war is futile and the soldiers suffer both emotionally and physically. Charles Yale Harrison presents a distressing account of the soldiers fighting in the Western front, constantly suffering and eventually abandoning hope for an end to the horrors that they experience daily. The ‘boys’ who went to war became ‘sunk in misery’. We view the war from the perspective of a young soldier who remains nameless. The narrator’s experience displays the futility and horror of war and the despair the soldiers suffered. There is no glory in…show more content…
Don’t leave me here alone.’ The narrator simply shakes him off and moves on. The soldiers have been trained like beasts and they have been dehumanised; they have been taught that no life is to be spared. Death is now the norm and they have been desensitized to it. The narrator relates an incident where he volunteers for a raid on the German trenches. He experiences much trauma; he kills a soldier, Karl. Karl’s death is terrible- the bayonet is trapped in Karl and eventually the narrator has to shoot him. When he returns to the trenches with two German prisoners he tries to suppress what has happened: ‘It is better not to think’. The narrator knows that he would indubitably go insane if he thinks about his action. Karl’s death epitomizes the fact that soldiers on both sides are killed in horrific way for no discernible reason. There is definitely nothing glorious or heroic about war. Generals Die in Bed is a narrative which never spares the readers from the truth of the horrors and futility of war. The reality of the shocking and inhumane trenches hits both the readers and the soldiers with apprehension of the front line. The actions of the soldiers are under constant tension of the war, and the conditions imposed upon them clearly become the catalyst for many of their actions. The narrator has indubitably portrayed war as nothing glorious or heroic, but giving the soldiers a sense of dread and demonstrating a
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