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Dalton Trumbo

USA flag (1905 - 1976)

Joe Bonham is a young man entering the prime of life. After suffering heart break, he finds love and work, and friends and all is whisked away as he is drafted to fight in WWI. Before his tour is over he is taken out by an artillery shell, his face is blown off, taking away his ears, and nose, and eyes a mouth, and is saved by modern medicine which allows him to breath and eat through tubes, but his injuries do not end there. All four limbs are also torn away and he is left a hunk of meat with no means of communication. In an attempt to keep track of time and occupy his mind, he uses what senses he has left, a patch of flesh exposed detects heat, feels sweat, his body feels vibrations, and he uses each of these to try and determine the change of the passing days. And while doing this he drifts in and out of dream states. His memories fall back to his life at home, the heart break, making love, falling in love, working with men whom he respected and admired, and living a life which, though perhaps unfulfilling, was still enjoyable, still one that saw no violence. He receives a medal whilst laying in bed, a hunk of meat, and he tries to imagine the military men, feeling pride in giving him a medal while he suffers, or the doctors feeling pride in their work on him while he wishes for death. And when he finally breaks through to his captors (for that is what they are to him), by nodding his head in Morse code, he finds his voice, what voice he has, has fallen on deaf ears that in turn subdue him with drugs and silence him, and in turn silence their own guilt.