What We Take For Granted Essay Research

What We Take For Granted Essay, Research Paper

People always say it s the little things that we take for granted. Whether it be

being able to talk with someone, or hold someone, or even just being able to tell what

time of day it is. In Dalton Trumbos novel, Johnny Got His Gun , one really begins to

understands what it would be like to have very simple things taken away from them.

Joe Bonhame, finds himself tragically injured from the war. Over time he slowly

begins to realize all of the things that he has lost. The first thing that he loses is his

hearing. He was awake even though he couldn t hear a thing except a telephone that

wasn t ringing. He was mighty scared (p9). At first Joe doesn t realize that he has lost

his hearing and he is under the impression that there is actually a phone ringing

somewhere, but, it s really only in his mind. But once he realizes that he actually can t

hear anything at all, he goes into a state of shock almost. The shock caused his heart

to smash against his ribs. He grew prickly all over. His heart was pounding away in his

chest but he couldn t hear the pulsing in his ear (p10). He then begins to think about all

the things that he will never again get to experience. At first he thinks about all the bad

things that he wont have to ever have to deal with hearing again. He never wanted to

hear the biting little castanent sound of a machine gun or the high whistle of a .75

coming down fast or the slow thunder as it hit or the whine of an airplane

overhead… (p10-11). But as he stops and really starts to think about what this all

means, he then realizes all the little things that he has taken for granted; the things that

he wants to hear again. His mother was singing the kitchen. He could hear her singing

there and the sound of her voice was the sound of home (p15). Sadly though, Joe

could never go home now.

As Joe slowly begins to come to terms with losing his hearing he begins to

realize that it is not the only thing he has lost. He had no arms and no legs (p60). Joe

deals with not being able to hold those that he loves anymore, something that he hadn t

really valued when he could actually do it. He also has to deal with not being able to

walk either. But, if he only knew what he was to later discover. The hole began at the

base of his throat just below where his jaw should be and went upward in a widening

circle. He could feel his skin creeping around the rim of the circle. The hole was getting

bigger and bigger. It widened out almost to the base of his ears if he had any then

narrowed again. It ended somewhere above the top of what used to be his nose. The

whole went too high to have any eyes in it. He was blind (p62). At this point Joe had no

idea what to do. He was the nearest thing to a dead man on earth (p117). There was

nothing for Joe to do but lie there and think. Joe losing his entire face was also a lot like

him losing his fathers fishing rod. When he lost that rod it was like he had lost

everything for his father, but yet his father wasn t upset. But he just lay there in bed

beside his father with the two of them jack-knifed together in the way they always slept

best and his father s arm around him and he blinked back the tears. He and his father

had lost everything. Themselves and the rod (p108). He has lost his father s fishing rod,

which meant something to him, and now he had lost his face, which was his way of

communicating to the entire world; to everything he knew. He was lonely for one look

for one smell for one taste for one word that would bring Shale City and his father and

his mother and his sisters back to him (p108).

The most important thing that Joe had lost, was not a physical sense, but

something much more important. Without it, a person could go crazy, as Joe almost

does. The thing that Joe seems to lose in between his concieus and unconcieus states,

is time. All that he knew was that on a day in September in 1918 time stopped (p126).

At times he wasn t even able to tell if he was awake or sleep. There would be times

when he would think that he was fully awake and he would only come to realize that he

wasn t even awake at all. The whole idea had been taking form in his head for a long

while the idea of trapping time and himself back into the world but he hadn t been able

to concentrate on it (p127). If Joe could get back being able to have a sense of time,

then he could become part of the world around him. If you can keep track of time you

can get a hold o yourself and keep yourself in the world but if you lose it why then you

are lost too (p126). For Joe, there were no options. he had to regain a sense of time

and rejoin the living world around him.

Joe lost everything, but in a sense, he really lost it twice. The first time, when he

was initially injured, and the second time when he actually realized it. He had to deal

with finding out that he had no way to communicate with the world around him. He

would never hear, feel, speak, walk, ever again. He couldn t even breath on his own.

But yet, he doesn t give up. He finds something that he can get back, his sense of time,

and he goes after it and doesn t let his physical disabilities hold him back. All the reader

can do is cheer him on and stop and think about all the little things that they take for

granted, every day.


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