The Duty Dance With Fate English Literature Essay

The Duty Dance With Fate English Literature Essay

War has become a permeant facet of humanity as the wars of the yesteryear have non merely affected their clip periods, but had reverberations all throughout history. Therefore, necessarily, many writers are drawn toward this topic and its psychological impact on the people most affected by it. Two novels, Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, and Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, are illustrations of literary plants in response to what can merely be called the absurd creative activity known as war. They display legion similarities and both are every bit difficult to categorise into a literary genre. These novels delve into the heads of two soldiers to research the mental toll that war has left upon them and while the general anti-war message is clear within the novels, the messages they develop are each distinct every bit good since they show noteworthy differences as seen by the word picture of the supporters and the actions they choose to take in assorted state of affairss. However, through scathing comments about how absurd the universe and war are, the writers deliver a similar message about what they view the military industrial composite to be through the limited and brainsick nature of communications, the non-linear chronological order of events, and an penetration into the age old quandary between free will and destine all united under the common anti-war and anti-bureaucratic subjects present. Therefore, the reader is able to witness the ironic and general sense of confusion representative of the writers ‘ positions of the absurdness of war and the nature of the military through the discontinuity that pervades all facets of life. Therefore, this illustrates the profound psychological affect such a meaningless battle against decease has on the supporters. Both novels basically set up an absurd universe in which the supporters are given no set intent or intending to their day-to-day actions or lives. In the face of futility that can merely ensue in one ‘s eventual decease and what can merely be described as senseless and inane slaying along both sides of the war, both John Yossarian and Billy Pilgrim come to see the absurdnesss of the war and are forced to contemplate whether free will be, or whether their lives are merchandises of destiny and fate. In either instance, the novels stance on failures of the military and bureaucratism are clear calls for everyone to follow moral duty in order to better the worlds that humanity faces and must get the better of.

One of the major similarities in Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five is that both novels are hard to qualify with a individual genre. Joseph Heller ‘s and Kurt Vonnegut ‘s plants show a degree of complexness that can non be efficaciously contained within the restrictive bounds of any exclusive literary classification. However, acknowledging the novels as postmodern plants of literature comes closest to stand foring the messages they deliver. Although these novels are clearly postmodern in nature, specifying precisely what this means remains about impossible. The cardinal renter of postmodernism is of the “ continued deconstruction of any incorporate or consolidative image: the ‘reality ‘ of postmodernity lies in its consciousness of the constructed nature of ‘truth ‘ ” ( Davis, Kurt Vonneget ‘s Crusade 14 ) . Basically, postmodernism is the rejection of the modernistic belief in a individual world or truth. It embraces the thought that there is no uniqueness in footings of humanity for the truth is both disconnected and subjective. Ironically, this renders it impossible to organize a remarkable definition of the term. This sarcasm is reflected throughout the decentralised narrative manner of both novels and how the “ truth ” varies from individual to individual. This is apparent in how characters in Catch-22 “ confound the asinine with the profound ” ( Pinsker 24 ) such as when Captain Black becomes indoctrinated with the belief that the Germans had invented a new arm called the Lepage Glue Gun, capable of pasting planes together and fixates upon this thought despite its absurdness ( Heller 135 ) . This scene is at one time meant to exemplify the consequence of incompetence, but besides to demo that the truth is whatever the individual of authorization claims it to be. Therefore, the importance of true cogency is replaced with the sentiment of whoever holds the most power for those with power appear to specify what the truth is. Similarly, in Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim believes his abduction by the Tralfalmadores to be the truth and announces it in this manner to the universe. This farther shows the subjectiveness of the construct of truth. The absurdness of Pilgrim ‘s claim does non count to him as he alternatively fixates upon his ain created vision, turning it into truth in his eyes. Therefore, Pilgrim ‘s psychotic belief is taken for the truth within his head as objectiveness and cogency once more is of small importance. With so many different truths and world ‘s nowadays, the narrative becomes so disconnected and obfuscated that it is easy to come to the decision that “ all discourse seaports bias, that there is no topographic point where one can talk neutrally or innocently ” ( Davis, Kurt Vonnegut ‘s Crusade 18 ) . Both writers utilize this decentralized and disconnected postmodern manner to demo the asinine nature of both war and the bureaucratism in an attempt to motivate readers to take on a more moral point of view and continue what human self-respect is left in such a nonmeaningful universe.

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However, both novels extend beyond the range of postmodern literature embracing both scathing sarcasm and elements of black wit in efforts to present messages through the usage of amusing futility. One of the clearest incidences of sarcasm is shown through their critical point of views of assorted human types ( Ruderman 31 ) . Some illustrations of these unidimensional characters in Slaughterhouse-Five are Billy Pilgrim stand foring the naA?ve male childs that are ill-prepared yet however thrust onto the battleground to put on the line their lives, Lazzaro picturing the insanity nowadays within humanity and how logic and ground are wholly lost on some, and Roland Weary the at one time unqualified yet conceded and cocky personalities that seems to do the universe a worse topographic point to populate in. In Catch-22, some human types are represented by Lieutenant Scheisskopf ( literally intending dunce ) who for all purposes and intents is a dunce of a general who understands nil about war, General Peckman stand foring the platitudes of the meaningless and manipulative bureaucratic system, Yossarian picturing the everyman who is trapped within the social bounds of the military industrial composite and yearns merely to last and get away, and Or the alternate solution, the “ or ” , to the current status of things and the ultimate flight that is possible when the power of authorization is denied. Both novels besides contain facets of black wit utilizing morbid, cruel, violent, gory, grotesque and tragic state of affairss for amusing intents which allows audiences to confront hard worlds, in this instance the nonmeaningful nature of being and the absurdnesss and Catch-22 ‘s of social establishments such as the military industrial complex and bureaucratism, in a blithe mode. Yossarian and Pilgrim are invariably in hopeless and meaningless state of affairss brought on by wholly absurd fortunes that serve two intents. One intent is to exasperate the reader as he or she tries to cope with the magnitude of the pathetic actions that lead up to such an absurd result that is nil short of pure amentia. The other intent is to let the reader to acknowledge human weaknesss through the utmost hyperbole and deformation of normal events that otherwise may non instance the reader to chew over the consequence of human failure. Through this combination of postmodern sarcasm and black wit, a universe devoid of significance is established, puting the phase for the struggle between free will and destine. The characters in the universes of the two novels are basically given the pick of either accepting that the idiocy nowadays in the universe is a consequence of human incompetency and that duty and understanding prevarications of their shoulders to alter to status of things, or that destiny dictates the universe and regardless of their actions, the hopeless and deformed nature of the universe around them can ne’er be altered.

The nature of communications and linguistic communication has besides been distorted within both of these novels and illustration the prominence that linguistic communication takes in the universe. Without a meaningful agencies of communicating, the universe that Yossarian and Pilgrim reside in can merely be seen as insane and absurd. Language maintains a important controlling function in both novels and it directs the lives and actions that every character is the novels take. This is particularly outstanding in Catch-22 where through simple Acts of the Apostless of censoring and counterfeit Yossarian is able to “ [ blotted out ] whole places and streets, eliminating full cities with careless flicks of the carpuss as though he were God ” ( Heller 16 ) . Furthermore, Yossarians initial counterfeit of the name Washington Irving, have broad stretch effects that can be felt throughout the whole novel. Those who control communicating basically wield the power to run the armed forces. For illustration, Wintergreen in Catch-22 throws off all messages that he thinks are excessively prolix, ignoring their content. Therefore, bureaucratism is made un-proportionally powerful since it controls all communicating rendering it “ a more efficient killing machine than German slugs ” ( Pinsker 40 ) . In this manner, “ linguistic communication is poweraˆ¦ linguistic communication is what passes for world ” ( Pinsker 12 ) . This is interesting since linguistic communication itself appears inherently nonmeaningful for in such an insane universe, the consequence of logic is lost upon communications for linguistic communication so basically is “ an arbitrary and self-sufficient system of marks ” ( Davis, The Language of Discontinuity 67 ) that is wholly unreal and deceptive. Therefore, without built-in significances, the characters in the novels are forced to attach their ain importance to words. This “ lingual discontinuity ” dissolves the importance behind linguistic communication go forthing merely the self-contradictory Catch-22 buttocks. In consequence, this is a self-contradictory pattern that “ makes one a victim of its commissariats no affair what one does ” ( Pinsker 5 ) and since the military controls Catch-22, people become capable to the will of the corporate bureaucratism. Through such use of linguistic communication, normal state of affairss become writhed beyond acknowledgment as the universe and the lives of the characters are forced into a kingdom of unreasons controlled by the military and the linguistic communication it uses. This discontinuity of linguistic communication so comes to stand for the discontinuity and nonmeaningful nature of the universe and war which explains how the acronyms SNAFU, TARFUR, and FUBAR arose within the armed forces. Through the military industrial composite ‘s control over linguistic communication in the novels, communications are seen as absolute, efficaciously turning prevarications into world. Yet, life without linguistic communication is impossible wince communicating is an built-in portion of humanity. This poses a job in the universes of the novels in which the significance of words are so hopelessly lost within the bureaucratism due to its abuse. Once one realizes that linguistic communication has become the specifying factor of what world is and witnesses the disagreement between what is existent and what is said, there are truly merely three waies that can be taken. The first is to revolt against the system and battle against the battalion of Catch-22 ‘s. This is what Yossarian does, and as he finds out revolting against the system is bound to neglect for in the thick of rebellion, one is still shacking within the power of the bureaucratism and its use of linguistic communication. Through rebellion, one so confirms the being of the system ‘s power over linguistic communication and therefore allows the system to specify one go forthing one struggling is a hopless cyberspace of inane and meaningless words and communications. The 2nd way is to pull strings linguistic communication merely as the armed forces does. Milo utilizes use of linguistic communication to see that everyone gets a “ portion ” of his mob and to warrant all of his actions, including bombing his ain military personnels for it is seemingly for the greater good. Therefore, the arrant deficiency of coherency in linguistic communication becomes one ‘s greatest plus in pull stringsing the system to obtain what one wants. However, this is still less than ideal for if one wants to pull strings the system, so one must first admit its being and capable oneself to its logical false beliefs. Indeed the lone manner to truly get away the self-contradictory Catch-22 ‘s of the universe is to wholly reject its authorization and power. With an ever-changing subjective truth, merely when on denies the military industrial composite its power, can one flight it, merely as Orr does.

Possibly the most noteworthy similarity between the two books in the disjoint manner of narrative that each writer utilizes. The narration does non follow a additive way and alternatively seems to fixate upon on specifying event in the lives of the chief characters, Snowden ‘s decease in Catch-22 and Billy Pilgrim ‘s abduction in Slaughterhouse Five. This technique non merely creates a sense of ambiguity that contributes to the overall confusion in the novel, but besides seems to be leting the reader to follow the waies that the characters take before they are eventually able to face their yesteryear ( Harris ) . The cyclical manner makes this more interesting for it appears that events in the present flicker past memories for Yossarian and a kind of mental clip travel for Billy Pilgrim. This appears to be representative of “ a adult male ‘s inability to maintain the atrocious experiences of his yesteryear from occupying the repose of his present ” ( Edelstein 132 ) as both supporters invariably become launched into the past the relive the horrors and atrociousnesss they tried to bury. Yossarian gleams a lesson from his yesteryear and has devoted himself to what he sees as the moral duty to last while Pilgrim can non look to cover with the physiologically and physical horrors of his yesteryear and alternatively maintain his memories and frights in cheque by “ [ retreating ] from world into a pleasant but neurotic phantasy ” ( Edelstein 132 ) of foreign abduction and fatalism making the semblance of a universe that makes sense. Basically, Pilgrim can no longer understand the universe he lives in after witnessing the events of the war, a sense of emptiness as solitariness that becomes evident as Pilgrim struggles with his being to happen some kind of built-in significance in a nonmeaningful universe. For Yossarian, the cyclical narrative manner revolves around the lesson he is merely able to larn with Snowden deceasing in his weaponries when “ he felt goose hickeies clattering all over him as he gazed down despairingly at the inexorable secret Snowden had spilled wholly over the mussy floor. It was easy to read the message in his visceras. Man was affair, that was Snowden ‘s secret. Drop him out a window and he ‘ll fall. Set fire to him and he ‘ll fire. Bury him and he ‘ll decompose, like other sorts of refuse. The spirit gone, adult male is garbage. That was Snowden ‘s secret. Ripeness was all ” ( Heller 350 ) . Confronted with such a scene, Yossarian eventually begins to understand his ain mortality and learns his lesson about the function of destiny and free will within his life. Therefore, the non-linear narrative manner brings the reader into the interior ideas of the supporters as they flirt with their yesteryear, fliting in and out of experiences that have deeply shaped their apprehension of both the nonmeaningful nature of the universe, and themselves. Time in these two novels can merely be describe as instable and spastic, both of which reflect the series of events that each supporter mad to travel through in their lives.

The changeless presence of decease and agony reinforces the thought of human mortality. The characters are caught between the injury and memories of their yesteryear, and their desires to last in a universe filled with danger and uncertainness. All romanticism is stripped from warfare as the exclusive end of contending in the war, becomes a battle to happen safety and finally survive. Interestingly plenty, faced with such mortality, John Yossarian and Billy Pilgrim choose to react is starkly contrasting ways. In response to larn that “ Man was affair ” ( Heller 350 ) , Yossarian begins to understand that life is every bit simple as that. Humans unrecorded and die, there is no expansive strategy of events to come, worlds simply exist and craft for themselves their ain ego guided way. The romantic idealism of a responsibility or destiny that each individual lives for does n’t be for life itself is without intending. Once Yossarian reaches this point, he becomes haunted by his mortality and his one end is life is to last. Faced with such a challenge, Yossarian sees hope through Orr, and through hope existences to hold on his ain hereafter and embracing free will. Thus, mortality and hope lead Yossarian to recognize that no affair how much he struggles against the military industrial composite, the being of Catch-22 would do the battle impossible. Therefore, he sees that life has no built-in significance, but that significance can be created through one ‘s battle against the futility of life. In this manner, Heller and Yossarian both affirm that life is non dictated by destiny, but that worlds are able to command their ain lives since free will exists.

Vonnegut ‘s message is the same as Heller ‘s in respects to liberate will, nevertheless, he delivers it in an highly different manner. Faced with this disagreement between his mental life and world, Billy Pilgrim is merely able to happen reprieve and intending within a universe he creates. In his universe, Pilgrim explains away the absurdnesss of human life and the nonmeaningful nature of his ain being by following a fatalistic point of view and imputing whatever happens to destine. Nothing surprises him for everything he sees he believes that destiny meant for it to be, a fatalistic attitude represented by the common phrase he uses: “ So it goes ” ( Vonnegut 25 ) . This efficaciously fills the emptiness that Pilgrim fills by giving his life built-in significance through the lens of destiny. However by giving in to fatalism, Pilgrim is taking the turning away of moral duty to an extreme for alternatively of coping with the futility of life and bring forthing his ain significance, he crafts a universe in which he trivializes the meaningless of life through destiny. This universe and his abduction by the Tralfamadorian race are wholly fictional and each facet of his phantasy has a root in world. This alternate world becomes the truth for Pilgrim and is his manner of covering with Dresden, his yesteryear, and his inevitable decease by imputing it all to destine because “ so it goes ” . Billy wholly regresses from the present for he can non manage his ain mortality and the meaningless devastation he witness in his yesteryear. The present world has wholly overwhelmed him farther driving him to vacate himself to destine and get away into his ain version of the truth. Despite the reason of decease, Pilgrim can ne’er look to to the full face his inevitable decease, all of which contributes to his mental dislocation. Ironically, Billy Pilgrim describes his experiences as going “ unstuck in clip ” ( Vonnegut 22 ) yet he appears to be stuck in the atrociousnesss of the yesteryear, trapped in the nonmeaningful universe of devastation and decease. In the terminal, Billy believes that “ The most of import thing [ he ] learned on Tralfamadore was that when a individual dies he merely appears to decease. He is still really much alive in the yesteryear, so it is really silly for people to shout at his funeral. All minutes, yesteryear, present and future, ever have existed, ever will be. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different minutes merely that manner we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for case. They can see how lasting all the minutes are and they can look at any minute that involvements them. It is merely an semblance we have here on Earth that one minute follows another one, like beads on a twine, and that one time a minute is gone it is gone everlastingly ” ( Vonnegut 26-27 ) . Therefore, he views clip non as a continuum, but as a stretch in which each minute replays everlastingly in history. Therefore, Billy grounds that no 1 of all time genuinely dies for they will still be alive at another clip period, explicating off the inevitableness of his ain mortality. Pilgrim so farther shuns free will be sing it as a rareness, holding the Tralfamadorians say that “ If I had n’t spent so much clip analyzing Tellurians, I would n’t hold any thought what was meant by ‘free will. ‘ I ‘ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the existence, and I have studied studies on one hundred more. Merely on Earth is at that place any talk of free will. ” ( Vonnegut 86 ) . However, it becomes clear that Vonnegut does non really hold with Billy Pilgrim ‘s decision about humanity ‘s destiny for early on in the novel, Vonnegut makes it clear that he and Pilgrim are separate entities. For illustrations, in the sentence “ He has seen his birth and decease many times, he says, and wages random visits to all the events in between. He says ” ( Vonnegut 23 ) , Vonnegut invariably distances himself from Pilgrim and emphasizes that they are non the same individual and make non portion the same beliefs by utilizing “ he says ” three times to impart an air of incredulity and distance. Vonnegut ‘s message is shown through his sarcasm of Pilgrim ‘s fatalistic mentality. Vonnegut alternatively believes that free will does be for it is humanity ‘s end to better upon the current world by taking moral duty for its actions. The sarcasm can been seen through the fact that Billy had a mental dislocation and for all purposes and intents is insane and delusional, populating in his ain universe by wholly avoiding all moral duty toward bettering his ain universe while staying wholly dependent upon others.

Therefore, Vonnegut and Heller both preach for humanity to take a higher moral stance and non capable itself to destiny for destiny is an semblance and the way each single paces, determines his or her impact on the universe and significance in life. The sarcasm and messages present within the novels are scathing instances of societal commentary aimed at the morally creaky nature of humanity ‘s current being through the legion cases of senseless and absurd wars and devastation. Vonnegut aims his message more at society in general while Heller satirizes the military and the corporate nature of America along with its military-industrial composite. Albeit that their ends are extremely idealised and improbable to be achieved, the fact that they support that humanity has no exclusive truth and that world can be continually redefined, lends to the credibleness and hope they have for the hereafter. Therefore, through the genre they write in, the demented and deficient nature of linguistic communication, the non-linear narrative manner employed, and their common support of the construct of free will, Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller both take on existential philosopher point of views and utilize amusing futility to present something larger than merely an anti-war message. Their ultimate message is a extremely idealised supplication for moral duty through a call for common decency in an attempt to continue and reconstruct a sense of human self-respect that old ages of meaningless devastation has eroded.


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