Answer TWO of the following:
Q1: In Chapter Six, the narrator overhears Sergeant Zim talking to Captain Frankel about the whipping of Ted Hendricks. What revelation does he have during this conversation about the chain of command and the “very nature of the world I was in”?
Q2: What about Jean Dubois’ letter convinces the narrator not to resign from service? How might this relate to an earlier statement he made in class that “nothing of value is free” (76)?
Q3: In Chapter 8, the narrator recalls a heated class discussion where Dubois lectures on the 20th century’s treatment of juvenile delinquents. He goes on to say, “Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not—and a puppy has none. We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind” (94). Why might this be one of the main themes of the entire book, and a critique not only of the time the book was written (1959) but of our own world as well? Is this why the book remains relevant and controversial?
Q4: Reflecting on his role in the larger scheme of things, the narrator admits, “I am not a professor of cosmo-politics; I’m an M.I. When the government sends me, I go. In between, I catch a lot of sack time” (81). Doesn’t this sound a bit like Candide’s statement “we must tend our garden” which he earlier seemed to criticize? How we are supposed to read the narrator and his lack of curiosity or agency as a soldier? Is he the ideal citizen-soldier, or a dystopian drone who never asks questions?