Generals Die in Bed

1333 WordsMay 17, 20136 Pages
Through the soldiers’ experiences, the narrator shows only the dark side of human nature. Discuss. Generals die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison is a novel where a young Canadian soldier tells of his first hand account of the harsh and inhumane conditions in the trenches on the Western Front during World War 1. Through his observations and experiences the Narrator shows the effects of war on ordinary people and how they manage in extraordinarily horrific situations. Even though the brutal nature of the war is often reflected in the violent way that combatants act towards one another there are also moments when compassion and mercy is shown. The novel demonstrates that in extreme situations both the dark and the good side of human…show more content…
However we also are shown bravery, companionship and acts of kindness as the soldiers struggle to stay humane and sane in a hellish environment. Throughout the novel they are compassionate and caring to even their enemies in their darkest moments. They also illustrate the dark and unforgiving side of human nature. They show no pity or mercy even while being pleaded too. Throughout the novel the Narrator often shows compassion towards others – in his actions – eg. letting the German soldier grieve for his dead brother letting him take ‘a few letters and papers from his brother’s pockets’ and imagines how their mother would feel. He then helps the Germans to safety behind the lines & asks that ‘the prisoners be treated nicely.’ Just like their constant companions the lice and the rats, the soldiers in the trench adapt to the hell that they find themselves trapped in – doing whatever it takes to survive. They even fight each other over food ‘at each others throats like hungry, snarling animals’. As the novel & the war progresses so does the inhumane side of the soldiers who become increasing more detached from killing, unconcerned with the death of friends. The soldiers are conditioned, hardened up and desensitised with self preservation becoming a key motivator. This is shown as the soldiers plunder the city of Arras allies ' town and vandalize houses with no consideration of the local
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