Evaluation of the Authenticity of the General Dies in Bed Novel Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1494 Words
Date:  2022-03-29

The Generals Dies in Bed is a Canadian novel written in the setting of the World War One. Charles Yale Harrison wrote the novel and based on the experiences that the author went through during the World War One. William Morrow at first published the book in 1930. The title of the novel reflects on the entire generation of soldiers and men who managed to survive the World war one trench warfare. The battle scenes in the novel are put down in language that is plain and easy to comprehend without the exaggeration of the real state of affairs during the world war one but in devastating detail. The novel is important and forces us to keep in mind that war is not sweet and the action to die for one's own country is not fitting. It also highlights and provides insights in the pain, bitterness and the alienation after the occurrence of the Great war of the Lost Generation The paper shall provide substantial details on the evaluation of the authenticity of the General Dies in Bed novel and the specific issues portrayed in the setting.

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The novel accurately depicts the period in Canada at the time and it was devastating as a result of the events of the world war one. The young and enthusiastic Canadians and North American men mostly in the ages of 18 or 19 took part in the war oblivious of the myriad of problems that affected them. The novel heavily focusses on the naive young boys who took part in the warfighting without success and for meaningless ideals. The civilians and generals used patriotic slogans without truly understanding the traumatizing events of the trench life. The novel tries to take away the glamour and glorious moments at times associated with war to underline the real events that unfold in the event of the war. The author also outlines the massive loss of lives that was a big challenge because for instance in the novel more than people died around ten million people lost their lives which meant that an average of about 240 soldiers lost their lives in an hour in over four years. I agree with the author that people took part in the war in the belief that they were fighting for their country but by looking into the reasons that led them into the war.

In this novel, most of the focus is on the body count of the people who lost their lives in the course of the war rather than on the war that was is seen to be pointless. The novel, however, demystifies the events of the war and brings about the concept of the negative impacts associated with it such as being horrible, shocking and futile. The soldiers are dehumanized just like ordinary citizens, and this equates them to ordinary people who smell defeat . The language the author uses helps to indicate the true picture of what transpired in the world war one and in a way tries to authenticate and validate the novel in a way as an accurate record of the events that unfolded in the war. The conditions in the war spiraled and even turned to be devastating for instance in the novel the author outlines that the conditions got extreme that even saw the soldiers reduced to what he termed as "savages." The description is as a result of the deteriorating and devastating conditions that feed on the misery, for instance, the rats, the lice, odors, and diseases which pose a significant challenge they have to cope or deal with for example in the novel the narrator states of how lice eat them alive . The novel provides an accurate account of the effects and challenges that faced the soldiers during the war.

The novel personifies the war to be a breathing monster and living that sees the soldier's senses get eroded and reduce them in a sense to become automatons even as the war continues to rage and consume them. The soldiers, in this case, are affected and become desensitized to death and pain. In the novel, the narrator states that outside the war they behave like normal people but in the war, they are mere soldiers. It shows that the people are helpless war machine victims that abandon them eventually. The soldiers are affected by the results of the war but not involved in the decision making and simply react to the consequences and chaos of the war that they do not have control over . In the novel, it is apparent Cleary and Broadbent fight over a loaf of bread and were it not for the intervention of other soldiers they would inflict injuries on each other and may cause death. The historical context of the world war shows the soldiers hardened by the degrading conditions they went through in the war.

The final act in the novel presents the situation of the preparation for Amiens and as a result the battle. The soldiers are given a pep talk before they are sent off, and this presents the tactics used in that historical setting. The story of the Llandovery castle identified as a hospital ship that was torpedoed by the Germans in clear international laws contravention. The soldiers get information that is created to increase their rage in the war. The pep talk is an accurate reflection of what would happen in the first world war. The soldiers who mostly were untrained and were young and naive got information that was misleading and that created a situation of revenge . It is easy to read the novel and forget that the novel is a fiction but to read the novel as if it is an autobiography is to miss the point, especially with its complexity. The information led the soldiers to move into war that led to a bloodbath. A hero who in the aftermath survives the war in the course of receiving medication in Britain while injured finds out that they were actually manipulated and this presents a disillusionment moment. The novel presents us with the truth that the people or soldiers who participated in the war and went all out to cause a bloodbath did not know the reason for the war. They are young, naive and disillusioned men who are manipulated with the use of lies.

Another war casualty is the truth that reaches its peak in the Llandovery battle. As was perceived the Llandovery Castle that was investigated in 1918 in a war trial the sinking of the ship was a German atrocity. The soldiers were lied to that the ship ferried military personnel or war supplies. The message in the novel indicates the war has no meaning, its disgusting and manipulative. In the first world war propaganda was a weapon used in the war. The historical context of the world war one shows many cases of the soldiers used with the use of the slogans that indicated a sense of loyalty and belief . The lies used to manipulate the young people indicate that it is not easy to read the book and be less uneasy. In the first world war, the soldiers fought in the belief they did it for the sake of their countries however they did not know they were lied about the circumstances leading to the war.


In conclusion, the obvious war costs during the world war one, for instance, death. Many people lost their lives in the war, and this created some sense of fear and shock. The novel presents an accurate reflection on account of what happened during the first world war. The other cost of the war was the hardening of the humanity of the soldiers due to the horrors of the war. In the historical context of the first world war, the soldiers experienced traumatizing moments, and these were as a result of a war that they did even know why and what they were fighting for in the war. Finally, the truth is a casualty and manifested in the case whereby the Germans and the allied forces get betrayed at the Amiens battle which happens in the final onslaught that turns out to be costly.


Anna, Branach-Kallas, Sabiniarz Natalia, and Strehlau Nelly, eds. Conflicting discourses, competing memories: commemorating the first world war. Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikolaja Kopernika, 2015.

Burton, Joseph. "The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War by Ian McKay and Jamie Swift." (2017): 405-407.

Clausson, Nils. "Charles Yale Harrison's 'Little-Known Minor Masterpiece': Generals Die in Bed, Modernism, and the Canon of World War I Fiction." War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities 23, no. 1-2 (2011).

Gordon, Neta. Catching the torch: contemporary Canadian literary responses to world war I. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2014.

Hynes, Samuel. A war imagined: The First World War and English culture. Random House, 2011.

Nicholson, Gerald WL. Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 2015.

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Evaluation of the Authenticity of the General Dies in Bed Novel Essay. (2022, Mar 29). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/evaluation-of-the-authenticity-of-the-general-dies-in-bed-novel-essay

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