Joe Bonham And The Vietnam War

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The novel, recognized as the “most original novel of the year” by the American Booksellers Award committee in 1940, was banned from U.S. Army libraries after it caught the attention of the FBI. According to Jonathan Abel, “the U.S. Army ban was justified by the U.S. Soldiers Voting Act which, while giving soldiers stationed abroad the right to vote, limited what information and publications would be provided to them; the law was based on the convoluted reasoning that soldiers should not be provided propagandistic literature that might sway their voting” (79). In its attempt to conceal the novel from soldiers, the government also hid the book from American citizens who began to question the legitimacy of increasing military wartime technology…show more content…
“No previous war in which the United States was involved produced so large a body of antiwar literature as the war in Vietnam. Written mainly by veterans, these works angrily indict U.S. military policy and the nation’s failure to support its soldiers” (Lawson). Blackmore examines Trumbo’s embodiment of advanced technology and machines used as a means to keep soldiers alive, even if many feel they would be better dead. Comparing Joe Bonham and all similar men—those who are young, naïve, and join the military—to a machine, Blackmore makes the connection between the soldier’s poorly reconstructed body to that of a machine, arguing, “Trumbo knows that the human body is ripe for consumption, and sees the postmodern conclusion: erasure of the body, the self, the rise of the socius, the supremacy of the body without organs, the generation of a cyborg world” (7). Connecting this to Trumbo’s novel, a book full of references to altered and manipulated bodies, each soldier becomes the government’s property and the government can do whatever it wants to them. “One guy had the whole top of his stomach shot away so they took the skin and meat from a dead man and they made a lap over the first guy’s stomach…There were whole rooms with men who breathed through tubes and other wards where men ate through tubes and would eat through them the rest of their lives. Tubes were important (Trumbo

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