Johnny Got His Gun

Dalton Trumbo

Study Guide Questions

MacPherson-Literature of Social Criticism


Provide quotes as responses to the following questions.  Be sure to provide page numbers for full credit.


Book I- The Dead


1) What does the narrator continually hear?

2) What did the phone call inform the narrator?

3) What did the bandages cover?

4) What is the first sense the narrator realizes he has lost?


5) What did Lincoln Beechy bring to town (the first ever)?


6) Why couldn’t the narrator see?

7) What body part did the doctors amputate?

8) What does Joe think should be done with the amputated part?

9) What does Karen repeatedly say to Joe?

10) What does Joe realize as he thinks of holding Karen?


11) To where did Joe and Howie follow the Mexican workers?

12) What did Diane do?

13) What job were Joe and Howie doing?

14) What was Howie’s telegram about?

15) Why did Joe hit Bill Harper?

16) Why did Joe and Howie decide to “go out into the desert and work like men and forget about it”?

17) Where does Howie go as soon as they get off the train?

18) What did Joe see when he got to Diane’s house?


19) What is Joe worried about when he was floating?

20) Why can’t Joe kick and move what is under his legs?

21) Why can’t Joe yell?

22) Describe Joe’s face.


23) Why did Jose come to California?

24) What happened when the stories of the men from the Mission were questioned?

25) What was Jose’s letter about?

26) Why did the guys figure Jose was crazy?

27) What job conflict did Jose encounter?

28) What American custom does Jose ask about?

29) What solution does Pinky Carson come up with for Jose’s problem?

30) What was the outcome?

31) What adjustment does Pinky come up with?

32) What gesture does Jose make to compensate for his actions?


33) To what does Joe compare his current situation?

34) What does Joe wonder about his accident?

35) Why were maggots a good sign?

36) Why couldn’t they kill Joe now?

37) What did the woman from Cardiff do when she saw her husband with the burned face?

38) Joe thought the doctors could put him back in the womb but couldn’t what?

39) What does Joe say about the lottery?

40) Why does Joe wear a mask?

41) What is Joe’s plan to kill himself?

42) How old is Joe?

43) What other “minor injury” does Joe notice?

44) Why does Joe think he was lucky his nose was shot off?

45) What happened with the rat?

46) What did they find when they found the Prussian officer dead in the trenches?


47) What does Joe realize about the rat?

48) What should sleep be like?

49) Why was Joe in “an awful mess”?

50) What was all Joe had left?


51) What was Joe worried about on the fishing trip with his father?

52) What was Joe’s father’s only extravagance?

53) What happened to it?

54) What was Joe’s father’s way of “creating something” or “being an artist”?

55) Why was Joe’s father a failure?

56) What does Joe’s father say when he tells him about the rod?


57) Joe claims, “there are plenty of laws to protect a guy’s money” but no law that says what?

58) Name three words that Joe questions.

59) What does he question about these words?

60) Who does Joe say you can always hear?

61) If a man says “death before dishonor” Joe claims he is one of two things…what?


Book II- The Living


62) Name two things Joe tries to recall to keep his mind alert.

63) What does Joe consider the most important thing in the world?

64) Initially, how does Joe try to track time?

65) What problem does he encounter with this method?

66) What alternate technique does he come up with?

67) Joe thought, “if I never have anything else I will have” what?


68) What made Joe think of New Years?

69) What country does Joe hope he is in?

70) What country does Joe assume he is actually in?

71) Why did Corporal Timlon call the Bavarian Lazarus?

72) What happened with the eighteen year old kid with wavy blonde hair and Lazarus?


73) What fear did Joe have each time he fell asleep?

74) What does Joe compare his new bed changing to for an ordinary man?

75) Why does Joe think that he might be in France?

76) Why did the group of men come to see Joe?

77) Why was Joe angry about why the men were there?

78) What does Joe think he could use to communicate?


79) What was the only thing Joe thought about in the beginning of this section?

80) What was Joe and Ruby’s relationship?

81) What did Laurette give Joe for graduation?

82) There are four sections in italics in this section.  What are they about?


83) What does Joe have in common with the slaves?

84) What does the doctor do when Joe tries to communicate with him?


85) Who was the boy from Tucson?

86) What was the music the men were hearing?

87) Where did the boy from Tucson sit on the train?


88) What new situation arises that brings Joe some hope?

89) What does the nurse write on Joe’s chest?

90) What did Joe’s entire family know by heart?

91) What story does Joe give his version of?


92) What did Joe use as a question mark?

93) What emotion does Joe realize he had never really experienced?

94) What is the first question they ask Joe?


95) What did Joe want?

96) Who would think Joe’s request was crazy?

97) How could Joe make money?

98) What could Joe teach people?


99) What is the man’s response to Joe’s request?

100) Joe claims he is a new kind of what?