A Comparison of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Arthur Miller's The Crucible

A Comparison of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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All members of society are subject to sociological rules and regulations that are often hypocritical.  These hypocrisies, both concrete and unspoken, are the subject of criticism by authors the world over, utilizing various methods and styles to ridicule society's many fables. 

Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Arthur Miller's The Crucible present two stylistically dissimilar literary works that criticize hypocritical functions and conventions within society through equally contrasting methods. Hypocrisy in Heller's novel revolves around an erroneous rule called Catch-22, a twisted logic that infinitely contradicts itself and prevents deviation from its decree.  In The Crucible, Miller uses puritans as paragons for hypocrisy, as they live by a set of ethics that many do not follow.

In Catch-22, opposite Miller's The Crucible, Joseph Heller utilizes his uncanny wit to present a novel fraught with dark, satiric comedy tied up in a relatively formless plot.  The character of Nately acts as a focal point for many of the humorous oxymoronic criticisms contained within Catch-22, as "Nately had a bad start.  He came from a good family" (Heller 34), and he ".was the finest, least dedicated man in the whole world"  (35).  Proliferating Catch-22, satirical dark comedy appears in every chapter, even in the depiction of death (Cockburn 179): ".McWatt turned again, dipped his wings in salute, decided, oh, what the hell, and flew into a mountain"(Heller 157).  Furthermore, the plot of Catch-22 follows a cyclical structure in that repetitions of particular events recur in a planned randomness, an oxymoron that pays tribute to Catch-22 itself (Merrill 205-209).  A recurring structure within Heller's novel defining his ...


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...ible are two stylistically dissimilar literary works that criticize hypocritical functions and conventions within society through equally contrasting methods of presentation.

I. Method of presentation in Catch-22

    A. Dark comedy/satire

    B. Roundabout plot

II. Method of presentation in The Crucible

    A. Historical drama/satire

    B. Demonstrative Plot

III. Bureaucratic and sociological denigration in Catch-22

    A. Bureaucracy and unjust legal proceedings

    B. Milo Minderbinder and Capitalism

IV. Bureaucratic and sociological denigration in The Crucible

    A.  Unjust legal proceedings

    B.  Witch trials and McCarthyism

V. Writing Style in Catch-22

    A. Ambiguous language

    B. Modern diction

VI. Writing style in The Crucible

    A. Anachronous language

    B. Archaic diction

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