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Johnny Got His Gun

Dalton Trumbo

Chapters xv and xvi

Chapters xiii–xiv

Chapters xv and xvi, page 2

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Chapter xv

Joe continues tapping in the hopes that someone will finally understand. He has lost all track of time and feels himself becoming insane with the feeling that he is trapped inside his brain. He has begun to think about himself as a prisoner and the nurse as his jailor. He thinks about slaves captured as labor to row ships through the Mediterranean, and slaves in ancient Carthage forced to be chained guards of treasure with their eyes cut out.

Thinking of all different slaves and their fates throughout history, Joe realizes that he is like them: "the fate of the little guy the fate of men like himself." Joe, too, has been uprooted from his home and forced to fight against other slaves, like in the ancient Coliseum in Rome. But his fate is even worse than that of the slaves throughout history, because he cannot die and because is maimed worse than any of them.

Joe senses a male doctor coming in the room. The doctor injects Joe with a sedative and Joe realizes that "they" are trying to "shut him up." Joe tries to shake his head to indicate that he does not want the sedative, but as his head grows weary and his mind foggy, Joe realizes that they have "won again."

Chapter xvi

Sedated, Joe experiences an array of images in his mind. He has a dream vision that begins with the same woman he remembers hearing at the train station before he left for the war (from Chapter iii). The woman is looking for her sixteen- year-old son, who was given the option in Tucson to go to war to get out of jail. Joe sees that the woman's son is Christ, coming up through the desert from Tucson.

Christ comes into the railway station and sits down to play cards with Joe and several other men. Christ provides a glass of whiskey for each man, and the men begin talking about their deaths, which they already foresee. Suddenly, one man points out that Joe does not belong with them because he will not actually die in the war. When Joe explains what will happen to him, though, the men leave him alone, as his ultimate fate is worse than theirs. The men get up and board the train. Christ takes leave of them, as he has many other men to see before they die.

Joe feels lonely on the train with men going to their deaths, so he jumps off. He runs across the desert to the figure of Christ and throws himself at Christ's feet.

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