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Satire in Catch 22 - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: Heller’s Use of Satire in the Novel “Catch-22” In the novel, “Catch-22”, Joseph Heller satirizes the bureaucratic interests and egotism in war and their effects on the common people’s lives in human society. He contends that the reality of war is quite different from how the bureaucratic sect of the society tends to perceive it…
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Satire in Catch 22
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Download file to see previous pages Being able to view war from both within and outside the bureaucrats’ decision-making zone, Heller’s readers can assess the causes of war, not on the traditional right-or-wrong judging standard, rather on the basis of the underlying bureaucratic motivation that has remained unnoticed by the critics in the post Second World War period. One of Heller’s twisting propositions is that since the concept of right-or-wrong and the glory of war are essentially the projections of the bureaucratic polity, one should delve into the bureaucrats’ perception of the war in order to trace their idiotic manipulation of the ideology of war. Heller’s success lies in his ability to take his readers to an excursion to the bureaucrats’ decision-making zone that often is forbidden to the mass commoners. From the laughter-invoking bureaucratic whims, he gradually takes his readers to a more serious exploration of the destructive effects of these warring whims on the soldiers as well as the mass commoners’ life. Focusing on the experiences of a bombardier, Yossarian, at the Air of Pianosa in Italy Heller goes on exhuming the offstage perversion, folly and idiocy of bureaucratic systems in modern society. Putting the right vs. wrong rhetoric of the stories on the Second World War aside, Heller questions whether the bureaucrats’ purpose behind the curtain of patriotism and honor are healthy for modern society. He attacks on the composition of the provision of Catch-22 that is manipulated by different military and government official differently. These different interpretations of the doctrine of Catch-22 by different persons are inspired by their own ends. Therefore, the Catch-22 doctrine serves the military officials as a blank check to do whatever they want to. The military officials use it to achieve their own ends, whereas it is manipulated by them as a means to suppress their subordinates. By putting the self-contradictory and circular logic of Catch-22 in application, Heller has tried to lay the problems and duality of the bureaucratic reasoning and operation. The narrator of the novel describes Catch-22 in the following manner: “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.” (Heller 78). But in the lines that immediately follow this definition, the narrator upholds the peculiarity and circularity of the provision, as he says, Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. (Heller 176) Yossarian become delighted to find that this clause can keep his friend Orr away from going to further missions. But Heller’s readers cannot but note the fact that this clause provides the military bureaucrats with enormous power to do anything without being accountable to anyone, as at some point, a military police says, “Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating.” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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