Johnny Got His Gun Analysis

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In Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, Joe Bonham is stranded in a hospital bed without anything but a brain. He lost everything fighting in World War I; literally everything, his limbs, his eyes, his nose, his mouth, and his life. All he has left is his memory. In the novel, technology is presented in some of Joe’s memories to show the difference between the intended purpose and the outcome of technology, suggesting people’s reliance on technology while it is actually dehumanizing and oppressing them. Transportation is one piece of technology presented in Joe’s memories. Joe remembers when he was a school boy and Lincoln Beechy’s airplane came to town. His school’s superintendent, Mr. Hargraves, made a speech before Lincoln’s flight about how the airplane would bring peace, prosperity, and new understanding to the world. Shortly after the speech however, “his airplane fell into San Francisco Bay and Lincoln Beechy was drowned”(20).…show more content…
The book begins with a telephone ringing which leads to the pain-stricken memory of Joe’s dad’s death. Phones are intended to bring news to people. Later, Joe’s idea of morse code is introduced by Joe’s realization that he and Bill Harper used to communicate with vibrations and Joe says “the glimmer became a great dazzling white light. It opened up such breathless prospects that he thought he might suffocate from sheer excitement.” (162). Morse code is Joe’s last hope of speaking to another human ever again and he spends months trying to make someone understand, but once they do it makes no difference. This suggests people’s reliance on technology to be able to communicate to others which it does, but this technology has downsides: without it, people fall apart, but even with it people fall apart at the prospect of devastating news. The reliance on technology in order to communicate dehumanizes people by the impersonality of it. People lose the ability to interact with
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