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Presentation on theme: "ETHICS AND TRANS-MORALITY IN CATCH 22 FAKE LAWS REAL LIE."— Presentation transcript:


2 STEPHEN CRANE, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE American naturalism Heroic tradition of war fiction The growth of the hero: Henry Fleming’s story Coward >> wound >> hero

3 CATCH-22 Achronological structure How do you know what happens when? Required combat missions Syphoon Spiral Vortex A story too ghastly to tell? No way to tell it. Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five Still – chronological inaccuracies Anachronisms

4 THE SECRETS OF CATCH-22 Minor secrets: meaningful names Clevinger Sheisskopf Wintergreen Milo Minderbinder Appleby Major secrets Communication is not possible Catch-22 is a fake Milo rules Snowden’s Secret Orr’s secret

5 SECRET / OPAQUE COMMUNICATION: ORDER = DISORDER The chaotic world of Pianosa is nonetheless perfeclty ordered by Catch-22. The world of Catch-22 is nonetheless disordered by the chaos / aburdity of military organziation and lack of communication. Language: reductionism ad absurdio. One signifier = one signified. Hence – communication, although designed as a perfected unambigous project, is in fact impossible. Transparent / obvious / language becomes unfit for communication. Clevinger interrogated Fruit are not good for Yossarian’s health because they are good for his liver. DocDaneeka asks Yossarian to scratch his back.

6 CLEVIGER’S HEARING "Just what the hell did you mean, you bastard, when you said we couldn't punish you?" said the corporal who could take shorthand reading from his steno pad. "All right," said the colonel. "Just what the hell did you mean?" "I didn't say you couldn't punish me, sir." "When," asked the colonel. "When what, sir?" "Now you're asking me questions again." "I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid I don't understand your question." "When didn't you say we couldn't punish you? Don't you understand my question?" "No, sir, I don't understand." "You've just told us that. Now suppose you answer my question." "But how can I answer it?" "That's another question you're asking me." "I'm sorry, sir. But I don't know how to answer it. I never said you couldn't punish me." "Now you're telling us what you did say. I'm asking you to tell us when you didn't say it." Clevinger took a deep breath. "I always didn't say you couldn't punish me, sir." "That's much better, Mr. Clevinger, even though it's a bare-faced lie.

7 THE SECRET OF CATCH-22 There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. 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 was 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. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

8 THE FAKE / LIAR Yossarian discovers Catch-22 does not exist Yet it exists, because it governs the system So, Catch-22 does not need to exist to extend power. It does not need to control to control. Panoptic surveillance Ethics imposed upon the agents in the system due to an impossibility of communication PAPER is Power (DocDaneeka)

9 MILO’S SECRET Buying and selling eggs Bombing and strifing his own squadron Chocolate covered cotton What’s good for Milo is good for the country. Milo – the ordering force, rationalizing the war The only player in the system who wins over the paradox of Catch-22 Market and capital as the organizing principle.

10 SNOWDEN’S SECRET The chronological focus of the novel. Where the narrative is drawn. Yossarian has his first epiphany.

11 YOSSARIAN’S BADGE OF COURAGE Suddenly there was flak, and all at once McWatt was shrieking over the intercom, 'Flak! Flak! Where the hell are we? What the hell's going on?' Yossarian flipped his eyes open in alarm and saw the totally unexpected bulging black puffs of flak crashing down in toward them from high up and Aarfy's complacent melon-round tiny-eyed face gazing out at the approaching cannon bursts with affable bemusement. Yossarian was flabbergasted. His leg went abruptly to sleep. McWatt had started to climb and was yelping over the intercom for instructions. Yossarian sprang forward to see where they were and remained in the same place. He was unable to move. Then he realized he was sopping wet. He looked down at his crotch with a sinking, sick sensation. A wild crimson blot was crawling upward rapidly along his shirt front like an enormous sea monster rising to devour him. He was hit! Separate trickles of blood spilled to a puddle on the floor through one saturated trouser leg like countless unstoppable swarms of wriggling red worms. His heart stopped. A second solid jolt struck the plane. Yossarian shuddered with revulsion at the queer sight of his wound and screamed at Aarfy for help. 'I lost my balls! Aarfy, I lost my balls!' He was wounded in the thigh, and when he recovered consciousness he found McWatt on both knees taking care of him.

12 YOSSARIAN TREATS HIS WOUND …Snowden was lying on his back on the floor with his legs stretched out, still burdened cumbersomely by his flak suit, his flak helmet, his parachute harness and his Mae West. Not far away on the floor lay the small tail gunner in a dead faint. The wound Yossarian saw was in the outside of Snowden’s thigh, as large as a football, it seemed. It was impossible to tell where the shreds of his saturated coverall ended and the ragged flesh began. …he hastily drew a tourniquet around Snowden’s thigh because he could not think what else to do in those first tumultuous moments when his senses were in turmoil, when he knew he must act competently at once and feared he might go to pieces completely. Snowden watched him steadily, saying nothing. No artery was spurting, but Yossarian pretended to absorb himself entirely into the fashioning of a tourniquet, because applying a tourniquet was something he did know how to do. He worked with simulated skill and composure, feeling Snowden’s lackluster gaze resting upon him. He recovered possession of himself before the tourniquet was finished and loosened it immediately to lessen the danger of gangrene. His mind was clear now, and he knew how to proceed.

13 YOSSARIAN’S LEG IS NOT HIS LEG I suppose you just don't care if you lose your leg, do you?" "It's my leg." "It certainly is not your leg!" Nurse Cramer retorted. "That leg belongs to the U.S. government. It's no different than a gear or a bedpan. The Army has invested a lot of money to make you an airplane pilot, and you've no right to disobey the doctor's orders.„

14 SNOWDEN’S SECRET REVEALED … Snowden kept shaking his head and pointed at last, with just the barest movement of his chin, down to his armpit. Yossarian bent forward to peer and saw a strangely colored stain seeping through the coverall just above the armhole of Snowden’s flak suit. Yossarian felt his heart stop, then pound so violently he found it difficult to breathe. Snowden was wounded inside his flak suit. Yossarian ripped open the snaps of Snowden’s flak suit and heard himself scream wildly as Snowden’s insides slithered down to the floor in a soggy pile and just kept dripping out. A chunk of flak more than three inches big had shot into his other side just underneath the arm and blasted all the way through, drawing whole mottled quarts of Snowden along with it through the gigantic hole in his ribs it made as it blasted out. Yossarian screamed a second time and squeezed both hands over his eyes. His teeth were chattering in horror. He forced himself to look again. Here was God’s plenty, all right, he thought bitterly as he stared — liver, lungs, kidneys, ribs, stomach and bits of the stewed tomatoes Snowden had eaten that day for lunch. Yossarian hated stewed tomatoes and turned away dizzily and began to vomit, clutching his burning throat. The tail gunner woke up while Yossarian was vomiting, saw him, and fainted again. Yossarian was limp with exhaustion, pain and despair when he finished. He turned back weakly to Snowden, whose breath had grown softer and more rapid, and whose face had grown paler. He wondered how in the world to begin to save him. "I’m cold." Snowden whimpered, "I’m cold.„ "There, there. Yossarian mumbled mechanically in a voice too low to be heard. "There, there."

15 SNOWDEN’S SECRET REVEALED Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all. “I’m cold,” Snowden said. “I’m cold,” “There, there,” said Yossarian. “There, there.” He pulled the rip cord of Snowden’s parachute and covered his body with the white nylon sheets. “I’m cold.” “There, there.”

16 BIRTH OF THE SUPRAMAN Yossarian decides to live forever or die trying. Transends the war’s ”morality.” Explains to Clevinger he is a supraman. New Adam – naked on a tree of knowledge during Snowden’s funeral.

17 ORR’S SECRET “When I was a kid, I used to walk around all day with crab apples in my cheeks. One in each cheek.” “Why?” (tittering triumphantly): “Because they’re better than horse chestnuts. When I couldn’t get crab apples, I used horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are about the same size as crab apples and actually have a better shape, although the shape doesn’t matter a bit.” “Why did you walk around with crab apples in your cheeks? That’s what I asked.” “Because they’ve got a better shape than horse chestnuts. I just told you that.” “Why, you evil-eyed, mechanically-aptituded, disaffiliated son of a bitch, did you walk around with anything in your cheeks?” “I didn’t walk around with anything in my cheeks. I walked around with crab apples in my cheeks....”

18 ORR’S SECRET – LIVE Yossarian’s fall continues Yossarian strikes a deal with Colonel Cathcart An odious deal – to be one of the boys. Yossarian’s second epiphany – he will be like Orr / his messiah (?) Novel’s synopsis: Yossarian rebels against the morality of the system and wants to transcend it, self-appointing himself a transmoral supraman. He falls by compromising to the system, yet is saved by a new creed of life.

19 GROWTH OF A COWARD Structural and semiotic paralelisms Fleming: Yossarian: Hero >> wound >> coward EXPERIENCE Wound as the badge of courage Wound as the badge of cowardice

20 IDEALISTIC CYNICISM Generation Kill The Wire


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