ISC Reverie John Brown Workbook Answers


John Brown by Bob Dylan 

Question: The idea of fighting in a war and winning medals is apparently glorious but underneath this superficial glory lie horrors. Discuss the statement with reference to Bob Dylan’s ‘John Brown’.

Answer: Bob Dylan’s John Brown depicts how falsely and vainly war is glorified from ancient times but the consequences associated with the war are fatal and horrific.
     Like many others, John Brown’s Mother also associates war with heroism and glory. His mother feels  proud to see her son looks when  he dresses up in a soldiers uniform. She feels proud of being the mother of a soldier. She advised him to follow his captain’s orders so that he could get lots of medals.

      Being ignorant about the sufferings of her son on the battlefield, the only thing that she is interested in, is the medals, that her son would bring. She said that she would display his medals on the wall after his return from the battlefield. This is suggestive of the false and superficial glory associated with war

      Whenever she gets any letter from her son ,she showed her neighbours the letter while bragging about her son’s uniform and achievements ,and how good he was looking going for the”good old fashioned war “. There is a trace of arrogance in her,especially towards those mothers whose sons do not serve for the country.
       As time passed, the letters stopped coming. After ten months, one day she gets a letter letting John’s mother to go to the station and meet her son. She goes to station, without wondering why her son has not directly informed her of his arrival. Instead she becomes happy and feels proud at the thought of her victorious son  coming home. She,like many others take pride in the false sense of heroism.
       She is so ignorant of the horrors of the War, she considers fighting in war as an ideal pursuit for young men like him. She realises the true character of war when he returns after the war. He comes back home with his face all shot up, husband blown off and a metal brace around his waist to support. This war though does not kill him physically, but leaves him shattered, both physically and mentally. His condition becomes so wretched that he could hardly speak.
        His mother, who had happily seen him off at the railway station, while he was going to war,is so appalled by his condition that she turns her face away from him. In a war a man kills another man ,their enemy look just like them. All the soldiers fighting in a war though fighting on behalf of their respective countries, are themselves victims of the same war.
       The poem ends with John Brown dropping his medals into his mother’s hand ,but ironically his mother stands in a shock.
        Taking medals from her crippled son doesn’t make her happy. Now she knows the true cost of these medals. This portrays that glory and Pride associated with war and winning medals is worthless. War is nothing but a failure of humanity. In war nobody wins,everyone loses.
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