Generals Die In Bed
Chapter by Chapter
• Montreal, Quebec – Setting
• Dilapidated, squalid red brick houses
• Heavy odour of stale booze and women is in the air
• Sleeping in a barn-like bunk room
• “The room is fouled with the odours of dissipation.” • They are all recruits waiting to go to the war
• “Men are hauled out of there bunks and strapped into their equipment.” • Main character is only 18
• The people of the city celebrate the departure of the battalion with fireworks, women are hysterical • A random girl kisses the protagonist
• He likes the confusion of the war, heroes, music, fireworks, the kiss of the girl. • “She is the last link between what I am leaving and the war.” • The protagonist thinks of running away with the girl. • They are hustled onto the train and taken off to war.
• Winding their way through the muddy communication trench • “In the dark we stumble against the sides of the trench and tear our hands and clothing on the bits of embedded barbed wire that runs through the earth here as though it were a geographical deposit.” • Fry keeps slipping into holes in the ground, Brown and the protagonist fish him out and he wants them to let him lie there and he will come on later. • The Sergeant pretty much forces him to keep going.
• They arrive at their positions at midnight.
• Protagonist and Cleary talk about ways they could make the trench more comfortable. • They are on sentry duty.
• Protagonist gets tired and begins to see the wire posts on the battlefield move towards him • He begins to doze
• The German’s launch a minenwerfer attack, the trench rocks and sways, mud and earth leap into the air • They try to burrow into the ground like frightened rats • Protagonists nose starts bleeding from the force of the detonations • It stops then starts again.
• “The air screams and howls like an insane woman.” • “Again we throw ourselves face downward on the bottom of the trench and grovel like savages before this demoniac frenzy.” • Protagonist begins to pray.
• “It makes no difference whether it is Sunday or Monday. It is merely another day – a day on which one may die.” • The attack smashed their section of the trench.
• A sniper shot off Brownie’s helmet while he was heading for the latrine – toilet • “We are supposed to be resting, but rest is impossible; we are being eaten alive by lice.” • Going insane with scratching
• On rest for the third time in a little peasant village. • Large barn with a gaping roof.
• Other battalions have rested there and have used the roof planks as fuel. • Clark, the captain doesn’t make life easy
• Brown is tall and awkward and always stumbles into things; this is why Clark picks on him. • Only married man in the battalion; got married two weeks before they left Montreal. • “We have learned who our enemies are – the lice, some of our officers and death.” • They never refer to the German’s as the enemy.
• “This is war; there is so much misery, heartaches, agony, and nothing can be done about it. Better to sit here and drink the sour, hard wine and try to forget.” • “They take everything from us: our lives, our blood, our hearts; even the few lousy hours of rest, they take those too. Our job is to give, and theirs is to take…”
• “The tree’s here are skeletons holding stubs of stark, shell-amputated arms towards the sky.” • Fifth day on the front line, one more day and they get to rest. • “The soaked earth here is nothing but a thin covering for the putrescence which lies underneath; it smells like a city garbage dump in mid-August.” • Carrying on has been drilled into the soldier’s heads. • There is a German sniper right near the trench and because some of the trench has been blown...
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