Study Guide

Johnny Got His Gun Home

By Dalton Trumbo


The title of Johnny Got His Gun comes from a popular song called "Over There." Over where? Over in Europe, far away from our hero Joe's home. What's he doing so far away from home? What's the point of him fighting in this war? Does he know? Does anyone truly know?

Joe's home is Shale City, but he's fighting for the United States in a war between the great powers of Europe over some pretty vague political issues. (Don't ask Joe what they are; he doesn't really know.) So what's home? A place? A city? A nation? Who is Joe fighting for, and why?

Questions About Home

  1. Why is Joe always reminiscing about the past?
  2. How does Joe's idea of home change as the novel progresses?
  3. Would you say that Joe is patriotic? If so, how would you describe his patriotism?
  4. Why does the idea of home become so important to Joe?

Chew on This

The idea of home in the novel comes to be a blanket term that encompasses anything familiar, even if it is a general familiarity like the idea of America.

The idea of home in the novel is a very specific term tied to one individual's experiences and memories of home.

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