A Father and Son Relationship in Johnny Got His Gun, a Novel by Dalton Trumbo

In the excerpt of the novel Johnny Got his Gun by Dalton Trumbo, the author reveals the relationship between a father and son in just one page of the novel. Each aspect of the piece is equally important and symbolizes a crucial part of the connection between Johnny and his father. In the campsite setting, the reader is able to learn more about their relationship which reveals their closeness because of this yearly camping tradition. Encompassed in their camping trip is the tradition of fishing, which also shows the nature of the relationship.

Especially near the end of the excerpt when Johnny goes fishing for the first time without his father, the closeness and trust between them is revealed.

When Trumbo sets the scene of the story in the first paragraph, he displays themes and mood pertinent to the rest of the excerpt. The forest is described down to the last pine needle, which may seem obsessive but has a very important purpose.

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This allows the reader to put themselves in the character’s shoes and relate to the situation. It reminds the reader of a place where they would feel comfortable and at peace, especially the detail of when “sleeping inside the tent it always seemed like it was raining outside because the needles from the pine kept falling”. Trumbo also shows how deep into the wilderness they are by describing the trees as “nine thousand feet high”, describing a quiet retreat instead of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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There is also a sense of established routine which also promotes calm. The father and son have been going to this site for many years, and “they fished in the lakes and when they slept at night the roar of the water from the streams which connected the lakes sounded in their ears all night long”. The returning imagery of sleep and sensory detail of sound sets the tone of the excerpt and father son relationship.

Continuing from the first paragraph, Trumbo shows the nature of the relationship between Johnny and his father. From the view of Johnny, the reader can perceive that their connection is filled with trust and mutual love. As Johnny grows up, he is still close to his father, however he realizes it is the time in his life to make other connections. This is why he thinks that “now he was 15 and Bill Harper is going to come tomorrow”. Though he knows it is time to spend time with friends, Johnny is still worried about getting the approval of his father. The trouble Johnny has gathering the strength to tell his father shows the respect he has for him. He doesn’t want to offend his father, “it was an ending and a beginning and he wondered just how he should tell his father about it”. Though this may seem small, the visit of Bill is a serious change in Johnny’s life.

When Johnny tells his father about the visit of his friend, the style of the piece becomes more relaxed. The exchange between the two goes extremely well, showing the strong relationship the two share. Instead of using formal quotations, Trumbo uses simple “he said” statements to lighten the mood of the story. After asking his father, the reaction is very peaceful and well meant. Once propositioned, “for a little while his father didn’t say a thing. Then he said why sure go along with Joe. And then a little later his father said has Bill Harper got a rod?”. This simple agreement shows the loving and trusting relationship between the pair, and the inclination to share his things shows the Father knows it is time to pass tradition onto his son. When Johnny’s father offers to let him borrow his fishing rod, he recalls how important his artifact is to his father. He shares that “It was perhaps the only extravagance his father had in his whole life….Each spring his father sent the rod away to a man in Colorado Springs who was an expert on rods”. The willingness the father shows to lend his son his most prized possession shows trust as well as a right of passage. Lastly Trumbo shows that nothing has changed, and the two still share the same trust filled relationship. From this excerpt of Johnny Got his Gun, Trumbo shows massive amounts of detail that displays the amount of affection the Father and Son have for each other. The immense symbolism and varying usage of punctuation allows the reader to get a feel for the entire work in a short piece.

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A Father and Son Relationship in Johnny Got His Gun, a Novel by Dalton Trumbo. (2022, Feb 07). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/a-father-and-son-relationship-in-johnny-got-his-gun-a-novel-by-dalton-trumbo-essay

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