Impotence of Language in Heller's Catch-22 Essay

1737 Words7 Pages
Alexandra Katkinová
Mgr. Eva Hrkalová
Introduction to Literature II (Group D)
May 30, 2014

The Impotence of Language in Catch-22 The main purpose of this essay is to develop better understanding of the nature of language in Heller’s Catch-22 and analyse its role in communication among the main characters. In particular, this essay will provide the reader with a closer look at the factors that influence the communicative power of language used in the novel. At the same time, the consequences of their presence will be discussed in detail throughout the whole paper.
While the main purpose of language is to communicate, Joseph Heller creates the world in which language loses its function as a tool for communication in favour of an
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It is negligible what happens or does not happen in the real course of time, as long as there are people who have the power to manipulate what is considered to be “real history” in for them suitable way. As Dawes aptly points out, “things are so because they are claimed to be so, and the material world does not effectively push back.” (Dawes 188). He continues by adding that “Catch-22 presents a language system in which the dictates of authority rather than referentiality determine manner of representation” (Dawes 188).
One case in particular provides the most compelling evidence of what has been suggested above. When Doc Daneeka’s name appears on the flight roster of a plane that has crashed, he is declared dead despite the fact that everything indicates that he is alive.
“Two more to go,” said Sergeant Knight. “McWatt and Doc Daneeka.”
“I am right here, Sergeant Knight,” Doc Daneeka told him plaintively. “I am not in the plain.”
“Why don’t they jump?” Sergeant Knight asked, pleading aloud to himself. “Why don’t they jump?”
“It does not make sense,” grieved Doc Daneeka biting his lip. “It just doesn’t make sense.” (Heller 390)
No matter what the reality is, in the end almost everybody ends up believing that Doc Daneeka truly died. Why? Because the authorities said so. As one of the enlisted men explains to Daneeka, the records show that he

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