Black Humor in Catch-22

1469 Words Mar 7th, 2013 6 Pages
Black Humor in Catch-22 Joseph Heller uses black humor to express normally emotional scenarios in humorous ways in his writing. One of the clearest examples of Joseph Heller using black humor is in his novel, Catch-22. The story follows Yossarian, a man enlisted in the United States Air Force during World War II, and his frightening experiences while in service. Yossarian witnesses many scenes throughout the story which most people would find extremely emotional or graphic during the war (or even today), but Joseph Heller manages to make these scenes humorous so that people could temporarily forget about the seriousness of the situation and that some of the scenes were things that were actually happening during World War …show more content…
The entire situation is quite sad, but the way Kid Sampson’s death is described in the story is very humorous but the black humor was used because Joseph Heller believed authority wasn’t as smart as most people thought it was and he wanted to get this message to the reader. Hungry Joe, another minor character in the story, is affected by the war in a similar way that Captain Flume was; it causes him to act abnormal while sleeping. Hungry Joe had fled the most missions out of everyone else which would explain why he is affected majorly from all of the things he witnessed in combat. He is described to be terrified of death (like Yossarian) and he frequently wakes up in the middle of the night screaming because of dreams he has. One of the other character’s cats also sleeps on Hungry Joe’s face in the night which adds to the hilarity of the situation. Although this is funny because of the cat and Hungry Joe’s screaming waking up everybody, it is a sad situation which Heller mad into black humor to show, again, the way soldiers were affected by the war and the negative impacts it had on them. Yossarian is constantly afraid of death throughout the story and it is clear that the cause of this fear is derived from the numerous amount of missions Colonel Cathcart puts him through and because of his other experiences in the Air Force. There is a scene in which Yossarian says he keeps a “list” in his head of all

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