Soldiers, the Animals in War
In order to survive in given circumstances, creatures must adapt. In times of war, this principle is regularly applied since the circumstances of war often end with regular men developing selfish behavioral adaptations simply for the sake of survival. Soldiers become responsible for malice that could never be imagined in civilian life. In the novel, Generals Die in Bed, by Charles Yale Harrison, all the soldiers were once normal civilians. However, due to the pragmatic needs of survival, they are reduced to beings no better than the rats they dwell with. The inhumane treatment the soldiers receive from their superiors cause them to become animalistic. Instead of sharing a mutual respect, the generals treat the soldiers as if they were their pets and abuse them on countless occasions. Since the soldiers cannot protest against their generals, they are forced to bear through the brutal treatment and eventually accustom themselves to it. This treatment is displayed when a recruit is suffering from pain as he has been marching for hours and “the officer takes him by the scruff of the neck and hauls him to his feet” (101) showing that the soldiers are treated no better than a disobedient dog. While on rest, the men are forced to sleep in "a large barn with a gaping roof" (18). The soldiers must deal with makeshift sleeping quarters filled with "ancient tray straw" (18) that is “so vermin-infested that if one stands and listens when it is quiet he can hear the scraping and scurrying of the pests underneath” (18). In this way, they are treated like animals by the officers who are quartered in "a deserted chateau" (18). Even on rest the soldiers are tormented by their officers. Instead of resting, which the action implies, they perform “[interminable] routines of fatigues” (19) to the point where some of the soldiers, such as Brown, begin to resent their generals and “wish that [they were] dead“ (20). No matter where the soldiers go or what...
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