Compose a 500 words assignment on causes of war in generals die in bed. Needs to be plagiarism free! Causes of War in Generals Die in Bed Charles Yale Harrison’s novel Generals Die in Bed describes the experiences of a soldier in the trenches of WWI. In his effort to tell the truth about war, the author delivers his anti-war message via the book’s central theme which is the brutalizing consequence of war. From the title of the novel, the reader is able to read some bitterness in the author’s tone that seems to be blaming the origins and consequences of war on authorities that are superior to the soldier on the frontline. Essentially, it appears that war is a strategy game fought amongst the generals and the soldiers are simply unwitting participants. From this perspective, this essay will discuss how the causes of war are presented in Generals Die in Bed.
The narrator says “We have learned who our enemies are – the lice, some of our officers, and Death” (Harrison 69). From where the officers are categorized they are by no means casual enemies of peace and, more importantly, not only within the military rankings. This is an implication that war has its original roots in political ideals and trickles down into the military for execution. For instance, the soldiers are given the controversial story about the sinking of the hospital ship Llandovery Castle by German soldiers, which court proceedings later proved otherwise. However, the controversy of the story politicized it, misleading the soldiers into thinking they were on a revenge mission. Further, when the narrator was sent to Britain after being wounded, a hospital orderly told him “that was bloody murder, brother. Our officers oughta be shot for that. She was carryin’ supplies and war material” (Harrison 48).
Two aspects of the novel portray generals and, by extension politicians, as the perpetrators of war. The most notable one is the book’s title. Then, there is the ending where the narrator says “and when the war is done and youth stone dead, I’d toddle safely home and die – in bed” (Harrison 152). The implication here is that while generals strategize and send soldiers to war (ideally to war against the strategies of opposing generals and effectively the opposing young soldiers), they remain in the comfort of their homes. It is the soldiers who die in the trenches supposedly in a display of patriotism. However, the book’s titles as well as the ending are a statement that the war is in fact protecting the ideals of politicians through the military generals. This notion can still be viewed from the perspective of bureaucracy from the first chapter one day before the soldiers board the train. The narrator talks of how officers and the military police round up the soldiers from brothels and saloons and prepare them for their trip (Harrison 4). Evidently, the officers and the military police are authoritatively above the soldiers and more importantly, are serving the interests of higher powers. Therefore, it can be concluded that politics and the bureaucratic structure of the military are presented as the causes of war in the book.
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Harrison, Charles Y. Generals Die in Bed. Toronto: Annick, 1928. Print.