Ink brush, white gouache
36.6 x 26 inches
Even on the bed of a hospital, bandaged and unable to perceive the outside world and communicate with it, Johnny is not safe from reenactments. Thus, a burdensome, even a burdensome military order is imposed on him, which he would prefer to tear off his body.
How honorable is it really to leave one's life or health for the narrative of a fatherland? What did the fatherland fail to do in the same course when it sent a young person on a hopeless mission...perhaps with the less than honorable motive of boosting its own arms industry? Quite a bit of integrity and more than a bit of truth it omitted. Johnny experiences feeling disillusioned and exploited by the country for which he left his youth and future.
"Somebody was plucking at his nightshirt over his left breast. It was as if a forefinger and thumb were pinching up a portion of it. He lay very quiet now deathly quiet his mind jumping in a hundred different directions at once. H could sense that something important was about to happen. There was a little more fumbling with the pinch of night-shirt and then the cloth fell back against his chest once more. It was heavy now weighted down by something. He felt the sudden coolness of metal through his nightshirt against his chest over his heart. They had pinned something on him.
Suddenly he did a curious thing a thing he hadn´t done for months. He started to reach with his right hand for the heavy thing they had pinned on him and it seemed that he almost clutched it in his fingers before he realized that he had no arm to reach with and no fingers for clutching.
Someone was kissing his temple. There was a slight tickling of hair as the kiss was given. He was being kissed by a man with a moustache. First his left temple and then his right one. The he knew what they had done to him. They had come into his room and they had decorated him with a medal.“
(From: "Johnny got his gun“, Kensington Publishing Corp.)