Antiwar novel; didactic novel

Point of View

The narrative is told entirely from the point of view of Joe Bonham.


Varies from nostalgic (when Joe thinks of his past) to bitter (when Joe thinks of his current state and how he arrived there)


Present tense, except for the flashbacks of Joe's childhood, which are told in past tense


A hospital bed; the story takes place in the early to mid-1920s


Joe wonders whether there is more wrong with his body than he has suspected; Kareen and Joe's goodbye, as told in his flashback

Major Conflict

Joe struggles to come to terms with the war injury that has left him limbless and faceless. He also tries to communicate with the outside world and asks to be displayed as an example of the terrible results war can have.

Rising Action

Joe's gradual discovery that he is limbless and faceless; Joe's unsuccessful attempts to communicate with his day nurse in Morse code


Book I: Joe solidification of his political views on war; Book II: the new nurse's realization that Joe is attempting to communicate

Falling Action

The Morse code man's reply that Joe's wish to be shown to the outside world is "against regulations"; Joe's sedation; Joe's realization that they will never let him out because he is living proof of the horrors of war that they do not want to be made public