Archive for March, 2010

Reader Response 3

Reader Response 3

“I just joined the marines because I have a lot of uncles who fought in Vietnam, and ever since I was a little kid I’ve always been brought up that every able-bodied American male should do what he can for his country.

I signed on four days before September 11th. Four days. But it wouldn’t have changed my decision…” (Wood, 160)

It seems that in our world, throughout history war has been glorified to those who do not truly know of it. Just like in All Quiet on the Western Front, when the older generations glorified war to the younger men, and enticed them to sign up for the military. In this case, it appears that nobody ever told him to sign up, but that from a very young age, veterans were made out as heroes, and they themselves were glorified. I do not understand why this is done because it seems that in a lot of veteran’s stories, they remember war as a living hell. Soldiers come home missing arms, and legs, and even worse, they lose a part of themselves; they come back emotionally scarred and hardened.  I agree that we must fight to retain what we stand for in our country, and fight against what we consider evil, but we go so far as to glorify killing. There are times when we must kill, to keep the peace, and save the lives of thousands of other humans, but it seems that we often go too far, and end up killing far too many people. This has been going on since the beginning of war. Back when the Spartans and the Persians were fighting, over a million people died over a land dispute, and leaders’ greed. In World War II an estimated 62 million people lost their lives. It just seems ludicrous to me that we over promote violence to solve our problems. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-war, but that being said, I’m not entirely pro-war either.


My I-Search

I-Search Paper:  What I Knew About My Topic
Nolan W.
Prosthetics in the military
March 26, 2010
Class Period 5th
Your topic and why you are interested in this topic—why does it speak to you?  Why do you think it is important to research?
My topic for this research, at this point is Military Prosthetics. I want to know what happens to soldiers who are injured in war, and have to have arms, legs, fingers, and other extremities amputated. There seems to be more and more post war amputees cropping up, but rarely do they ever have a prosthetic limb. I think this topic speaks to me because I would like to work in the medical field. I have always been interested in medical needs, and It is something I would like to devote my life to. I feel it is important to research because there are so many disabled veterans in America, and very little is being done for them. Some amputees are choosing older prosthetic equipment over newer more advanced technology, because not much research is being done with them, and the older uglier technology simply works better, and is far more functional.
What do you not know yet about your topic or know very little of about your topic at this time?

I’m not quite sure what the army is doing directly for its soldiers. I want to know more about the current technology, and why the soldiers choose the WWII era equipment over it. I don’t yet know what the most common amputations are, or how the veterans deal with them. I want to know what the average day in the life of an amputee veteran is like. I want to know what unforeseen complications there must be in their lives. I really just want to envelop myself in the world of prosthetics and find out more about everything there is to offer.

Research Blog 1

At first, my research was slow going, and I could not find, or come up with any topics that interested me. While reading my assigned book, What Was Asked of Us, I realized that there were numerous soldiers that were receiving wounds during combat in Iraq that would leave them crippled or missing extremities. I then became very interested in what happened to those soldiers when they returned home, and what was given to them to help accommodate them in their daily lives. The two most common wounds that require prosthetics are arm and leg amputees. Leg amputees are slightly more abundant than arm amputees, and they are a lot easier to design replacements for, and thus, more money and research goes into developing new and more adaptive technology for them. Arm amputees are more sparse, and have more problems in development for replacement prosthetics. Leg prosthetics do not have an issue with weight, and since they are larger, it is easier to put more technology into one. Arm prosthetics have to be lightweight, and have to have more precise motor skills in the hand, to replicate a real human hand’s muscle movement and position. Many arm amputees are actually choosing the outdated WWII era equipment over the newer technology because it is lighter, cheaper, and in some cases even easier to operate. This is surprising to me, and I want to see what is done for these soldiers, and what advancements have been made since WWII for these amputees.

Reader Response 2

“You hear it either whistle or whistle or whiz, depending on how close it is, if it’s going to land on you. If you’re really good, you hear the rockets whistle. Mortar rounds just kind of make a real small thud in the distance, and you know it’s coming, and the second it blows up, you don’t hear anything. But rockets, rockets give you a good zip or a whiz depending on how close they are. You just slam to the ground about the same time as it F***ing blows up, unless it just blows up, then you F***ing hit the ground. Then you’ve got to scatter for your gear and get all your S*** on” (wood, 101)

It amazes me how similar All Quiet on the Western Front, and What Was Asked of Us are. Even though both books were written in a different century, the content is almost identical. In both books, the soldiers’ worst fears are the explosives. Explosives are extremely deadly, and the only warning for them is often a tiny sound. Nearly one hundred years separate these two books, and yet war technology remains the same. Soldiers have guns to shoot with, Bayonets to stab with, grenades to toss, and nearly noiseless rocket propelled explosives. The soldiers in both books comment, as well as use all of the killing equipment above, but nothing scares them more than the quiet explosives. The soldiers have learned and been taught how to shoot stab, throw, and throw back, but they were never taught how to survive a 2500 feet per second detonation of an 80 pound Explosive ordnance. That’s because there is no way to survive that kind of concussion. They had to teach each other how to listen for a rocket, or feel a mortar. Hitting the ground because of a small sound became instinct, and human nature after a time. In all the time between the two books, nobody ever developed a way to shield oneself from a bomb, but relying on the earth became constant. The similarities in these two works are just astounding.

Literature Circle Response 1


            “We ran out to the first group of soldiers, a small group that was still combat operational, meaning they could still fight. They had made a small circle in the middle of the field, and in the middle of the circle were two very bad casualties. One soldier had one gunshot wound to his arm, and the other soldier had four gunshot wounds. The one kid who had been shot once was screaming out of his mind, and the kid who had been shot four times was laughing.

            I called for my corpsman-…”

            I feel that this passage has a very close relationship to many of those found in “All Quiet On the Western Front” in several ways. This passage shows how soldiers become acclimated to the war and the atrocities that it brings. The narrating soldier hardly reacted to the life changing wounds that these two soldiers now had received in front of him. It may not have been quite that reaction-less during the actual encounter, but it was likely not far off. The two soldiers in front of him were never going to be the same again, and would live life completely differently now. It is questionable if the soldier with four wounds will even live, but the narrating soldier does not seem phased by that. In front of him, these two grown man are going through an intense amount of pain, and both are now experiencing a mental breakdown, but the way the narrating soldier tells it, he makes these two seem weak. This is similar to “All Quiet On the Western Front” because the soldiers in that book became accustomed to seeing battle wounds, killing, and death. It stopped affecting them mentally, and they simply moved on. This is a terrible mental state to be in, because you are then cutting off many emotions, and you are moving to a dangerously careless state of mind. In “All Quiet On the Western Front” the soldiers reacted to battle wounds in much the same way, and even more interestingly, the way the wounds are narrated and described is almost identical. In both cases the wounds are described simply as they were. No emotion, or compassion, just a description of the wound, and then a small reaction from the soldier. I find this very interesting because both books were written in completely different time periods about completely different and unrelated wars nearly one hundred years apart, and yet the two books are incredibly similar.