Рефераты. American Literature books summary

A week later, Dufiy summons Jack to see him. He offers Jack his job back,

with a substantial raise over Jack's already substantial income. Jack

refuses, and tells Tiny he knows about his role in Willie's death. Tiny is

stunned, and frightened, and when Jack leaves he feels heroic. But his

feeling of moral heroism quickly dissolves into an acidic bitterness,

because he realizes he is trying to make Tiny the sole villain as a way of

denying his own share of responsibility. Jack withdraws into numbness, not

even opening a letter from Anne when he receives it. He receives a letter

from Sadie with her statement, saying that she is moving away and that she

hopes Jack will let matters drop--Tiny has no chance to win the next

gubernatorial election anyway, and if Jack pursues the matter Anne's name

will be dragged through the mud. But Jack had already decided not to pursue


At the library Jack sees Sugar-Boy, and asks him what he would do if he

learned that there was a man besides Adam who was responsible for Willie's

death. Sugar-Boy says he would kill him, and Jack nearly tells him about

Tiny's role. But he decides not to at the last second, and instead tells

Sugar-Boy that it was a joke. Jack also goes to see Lucy, who has adopted

Sibyl Frey's child, which she believes is Tom's. She tells Jack that Tom

died of pneumonia shortly after the accident, and that the baby is the only

thing that enabled her to live. She also tells him that she believes--and

has to believe--that Willie was a great man. Jack says that he also

believes it.

Jack goes to visit his mother at Burden's Landing, where he learns that she

is leaving Theodore Murrell, the Young Executive. He is surprised to learn

that she is doing so because she loved Judge Irwin all along. This

knowledge changes Jack's long-held impression of his mother as a woman

without a heart, and helps to shatter his belief in the Great Twitch. At

the train station, he lies to his mother, and tells her that Judge Irwin

killed himself not because of anything that Jack did, but because of his

failing health. He thinks of this lie as his last gift to her.

After his mother leaves, he goes to visit Anne, and tells her the truth

about his parentage. Eventually, he and Anne are married, and in the early

part of 1939, when Jack is writing his story, they are living in Judge

Irwin's house in Burden's Landing. The Scholarly Attorney, now frail and

dying, lives with them. Jack is working on a book about Cass Mastern, whom

he believes he can finally understand. After the old man dies and the book

is finished, Jack says, he and Anne will leave Burden's Landing--stepping

"out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time."


(Joseph Heller)


b. May 1, 1923, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.

American writer whose novel Catch-22 (1961) was one of the most

significant works of protest literature to appear after World War II. The

satirical novel was both a critical and a popular success, and a film

version appeared in 1970.Heller flew 60 combat missions as a bombardier

with the U.S. Air Force in Europe. He received an M.A. at Columbia

University in 1949 and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Oxford

(1949-50). He taught English at Pennsylvania State University (1950-52) and

worked as an advertising copywriter for the magazines Time (1952-56) and

Look (1956-58) and as promotion manager for McCall's (1958-61), meanwhile

writing Catch-22 in his spare time. The plot of the novel centres on the

antihero Captain John Yossarian, stationed at an airstrip on a

Mediterranean island in World War II, and portrays his desperate attempts

to stay alive. The "catch" in Catch-22 involves a mysterious Air Force

regulation, which asserts that a man is considered insane if he willingly

continues to fly dangerous combat missions; but, if he makes the necessary

formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the

request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. The

term Catch-22 thereafter entered the English language as a reference to a

proviso that trips one up no matter which way one turns.His later novels

including Something Happened (1974), an unrelievedly pessimistic novel,

Good as Gold (1979), a satire on life in Washington, D.C., and God Knows

(1984), a wry, contemporary-vernacular monologue in the voice of the

biblical King David, were less successful. Closing Time, a sequel to Catch-

22, appeared in 1994. Heller's dramatic work includes the play We Bombed in

New Haven (1968).


Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. He served as an Air Force

bombardier in World War II, and has enjoyed a long career as a writer and a

teacher. His bestselling books include Something Happened, Good as Gold,

Picture This, God Knows, and Closing Time--but his first novel, Catch-22,

remains his most famous and acclaimed work.

Written while Heller worked producing ad copy for a New York City

marketing firm, Catch-22 draws heavily on Heller's Air Force experience,

and presents a war story that is at once hilarious, grotesque, bitterly

cynical, and utterly stirring. The novel generated a great deal of

controversy upon its publication; critics tended either to adore it or

despise it, and those who hated it did so for the same reason as the

critics who loved it. Over time, Catch-22 has become one of the defining

novels of the twentieth century. It presents an utterly unsentimental

vision of war, stripping all romantic pretense away from combat, replacing

visions of glory and honor with a kind of nightmarish comedy of violence,

bureaucracy, and paradoxical madness.

Unlike other anti-romantic war novels, such as Remarque's All Quiet on

the Western Front, Catch-22 relies heavily on humor to convey the insanity

of war, presenting the horrible meaninglessness of armed conflict through a

kind of desperate absurdity, rather than through graphic depictions of

suffering and violence. Catch-22 also distinguishes itself from other anti-

romantic war novels by its core values: Yossarian's story is ultimately not

one of despair, but one of hope; the positive urge to live and to be free

can redeem the individual from the dehumanizing machinery of war. The novel

is told as a disconnected series of loosely related, tangential stories in

no particular chronological order; the final narrative that emerges from

this structural tangle upholds the value of the individual in the face of

the impersonal, collective military mass; at every stage, it mocks

insincerity and hypocrisy even when they appear to be triumphant.


Chapters 1-5

Yossarian is in a military hospital in Italy with a liver condition

that isn't quite jaundice. He is not really even sick, but he prefers the

hospital to the war outside, so he pretends to have a pain in his liver.

The doctors are unable to prove him wrong, so they let him stay, perplexed

at his failure to develop jaundice. Yossarian shares the hospital ward with

his friend Dunbar; a bandaged, immobile man called the soldier in white;

and a pair of nurses Yossarian suspect hate him. One day an affable Texan

is brought into the ward, where he tries to convince the other patients

that "decent folk" should get extra votes. The Texan is so nice that

everyone hates him. A chaplain comes to see Yossarian, and although he

confuses the chaplain badly during their conversation, Yossarian is filled

with love for him. Less than ten days after the Texan is sent to the ward,

everyone but the soldier in white flees the ward, recovering from their

ailments and returning to active duty.

Outside the hospital there is a war going on, and millions of boys are

bombing each other to death. No one seems to have a problem with this

arrangement except Yossarian, who once argued with Clevinger, an officer in

his group, about the war. Yossarian claimed that everyone was trying to

kill him. Clevinger argued that no one was trying to kill Yossarian

personally, but Yossarian has no patience for Clevinger's talk of countries

and honor and insists that they are trying to kill him. After being

released from the hospital, Yossarian sees his roommate Orr and notices

that Clevinger is still missing. He remembers the last time he and

Clevinger called each other crazy, during a night at the officers' club

when Yossarian announced to everyone present that he was superhuman because

no one had managed to kill him yet. Yossarian is suspicious of everyone

when he gets out of the hospital; he has a meal in Milo's mess hall, then

talks to Doc Daneeka, who enrages Yossarian by telling him that Colonel

Cathcart has raised to fifty the number of missions required before a

soldier can be discharged. The previous number was forty-five. Yossarian

has flown forty missions.

Yossarian talks to Orr, who tells him an irritating story about how he

liked to keep crab apples in his cheeks when he was younger. Yossarian

briefly remembers the time a whore had beaten Orr over the head with her

shoe in Rome outside Nately's whore's kid sister's room. Yossarian notices

that Orr is even smaller than Huple, who lives near Hungry Joe's tent.

Hungry Joe has nightmares whenever he isn't scheduled to fly a mission the

next day; his screaming keeps the whole camp awake. Hungry Joe's tent is

near a road where the men sometimes pick up girls and take them out to the

the tall grass near the open-air movie theater that a U.S.O. troupe visited

that same afternoon. The troupe was sent by an ambitious general named P.P.

Peckem, who hopes to take over the command of Yossarian's wing from General

Dreedle. General Peckem's troubleshooter Colonel Cargill, who used to be a

spectacular failure as a marketing executive and who is now a spectacular

failure as a colonel. Yossarian feels sick, but Doc Daneeka still refuses

to ground him. Doc Daneeka advises Yossarian to be like Havermeyer and make

the best of it; Havermeyer is a fearless lead bombardier. Yossarian thinks

that he himself is a lead bombardier filled with a very healthy fear.

Havermeyer likes to shoot mice in the middle of the night; once, he woke

Hungry Joe and caused him to dive into one of the slit trenchs that have

appeared nightly beside every tent since Milo Minderbinder, the mess

officer, bombed the squadron.

Hungry Joe is crazy, and though Yossarian tries to help him, Hungry Joe

won't listen to his advice because he thinks Yossarian is crazy. Doc

Daneeka doesn't believe Hungry Joe has problems--he thinks only he has

problems, because his lucrative medical practice was ended by the war.

Yossarian remembers trying to disrupt the educational meeting in Captain

Black's intelligence tent by asking unanswerable questions, which caused

Group Headquarters to make a rule that the only people who could ask

questions were the ones who never did. This rule comes from Colonel

Cathcart and Lieutenant Colonel Korn, who also approved the skeet shooting

range where Yossarian can never hit anything. Dunbar loves shooting skeet

because he hates it and it makes the time go more slowly; his goal is to

live as long as possible by slowing down time, so he loves boredom and

discomfort, and he argues about this with Clevinger.

Doc Daneeka lives in a tent with an alcoholic Indian named Chief White

Halfoat, where he tells Yossarian about some sexually inept newlyweds he

had in his office once. Chief White Halfoat comes in and tells Yossarian

that Doc Daneeka is crazy and then relates the story of his own family:

everywhere they went, someone struck oil, and so oil companies sent agents

and equipment to follow them wherever they went. Doc Daneeka still refuses

to ground Yossarian, who asks if he would be grounded if he were crazy. Doc

Daneeka says yes, and Yossarian decides to go crazy. But that solution is

too easy: there is a catch. Doc Daneeka tells Yossarian about Catch-22,

which holds that, to be grounded for insanity, a pilot must ask to be

grounded, but that any pilot who asks to be grounded must be sane.

Impressed, Yossarian takes Doc Daneeka's word for it, just as he had taken

Orr's word about the flies in Appleby's eyes. Orr insists there are flies

in Appleby's eyes, and though Yossarian has no idea what Orr means, he

believes Orr because he has never lied to him before. They once told

Appleby about the flies, so that Appleby was worried on the way to a

briefing, after which they all took off in B-25s for a bombing run.

Yossarian shouted directions to the pilot, McWatt, to avoid antiaircraft

fire while Yossarian dropped the bombs. Another time while they were taking

evasive action Dobbs went crazy and started screaming "Help him," while the

plane spun out of control and Yossarian believed he was going to die. In

the back of the plane, Snowden was dying.

Chapters 6-10

Hungry Joe has his fifty missions, but the orders to send him home

never come, and he continues to scream all through every night. Doc Daneeka

persists in feeling sorry for himself while ignoring Hungry Joe's problems.

Hungry Joe is driven crazy by noises, and is mad with lust--he is desperate

to take pictures of naked women, but the pictures never come out. He

pretends to be an important Life magazine photographer, and the irony is

that he really was a photographer for Life before the war. Hungry Joe has

flown six tours of duty, but every time he finishes one Colonel Cathcart

raises the number of missions required before Hungry Joe is sent home. When

this happens, the nightmares stop until Hungry Joe finishes another tour.

Colonel Cathcart is very brave about sending his men into dangerous

situations--no situation is too dangerous, just as no ping-pong shot is too

hard for Appleby. One night Orr attacked Appleby in the middle of a game; a

fight broke out, and Chief White Halfoat busted Colonel Moodus, General

Dreedle's son-in-law, in the nose. General Dreedle enjoyed that so much he

kept calling Chief White Halfoat in to repeat the performance--but the

Indian remains a marginal figure in the camp, much like Major Major, who

was promoted to squadron commander while playing basketball and who has

been ostracized ever since. Also, Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen explains to

Yossarian how Catch-22 requires him to fly the extra missions Colonel

Cathcart orders, even though Twenty-Seventh Air Force regulations only

demand forty missions.

Yossarian's pilot, McWatt, is possibly the craziest of all the men,

because he is perfectly sane but he does not mind the war. He is smiling

and polite and loves to whistle show tunes. He is impressed with Milo--but

not as impressed as Milo was with the letter Yossarian got from Doc Daneeka

about his liver, which ordered the mess hall to give Yossarian all the

fresh fruit he wanted, which, in turn, Yossarian refused to eat, because if

his liver improved he couldn't go to the hospital whenever he wanted. Milo

is involved in the black market, and he tries to convince Yossarian to go

in with him in selling the fruit, but Yossarian refuses. Milo is indignant

when he learns that a C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Division) man is

searching for a criminal who has been forging Washington Irving's name in

censored letters--it is Yossarian who used to pass time in the hospital by

writing the letters. But Milo is convinced the C.I.D. man is trying to set

him up because of his black market activity. Milo wants to organize the men

into a syndicate, as he demonstrates by returning McWatt's stolen bedsheet

in pieces--half for McWatt, a quarter for Milo, and so on. Milo has a grasp

on some confusing economics: he manages to make a profit buying eggs in

Malta for seven cents apiece and selling them in Pianosa for five cents


Not even Clevinger understands that, but though he is a dope, he

usually understands everything, except why Yossarian insists that so many

people are trying to kill him. Yossarian remembers training in America with

Clevinger under Lieutenant Scheisskopf, who was obsessed with parades, and

whose wife, along with her friend Dori Duz, used to sleep with all the men

under her husband's command. Lieutenant Scheisskopf hated Clevinger, and

finally got him sent to trial under a belligerant colonel. Clevinger is

stunned when he realizes that Lieutenant Scheisskopf and the colonel truly

hate him, in a way that no enemy soldier ever could.

Given a horrible name at birth because of his father's horrible sense

of humor, Major Major Major was chagrined when, the day he joined the army,

he was promoted to Major by an IBM machine with an equally horrible sense

of humor, making him Major Major Major Major. Major Major Major Major also

looks vaguely like Henry Fonda, and did so well in school that he was

suspected of being a Communist and monitored by the FBI. His sudden

promotion stunned his drill sergeant, who had to train a man who was

suddenly his superior officer. Luckily, Major Major applied for aviation

cadet training, and was sent to Lieutenant Scheisskopf. Not long after

arriving in Pianosa, he was made squadron commander by an irate Colonel

Cathcart, after which he lost all his new friends. Major Major has always

been a drab, mediocre sort of person, and had never had friends before; he

lapses into an awkward depression and refuses to be seen in his office

except when he isn't there. To make himself feel better, Major Major forges

Washington Irving's name to official documents. He is confused about

everything, including his official relationship to Major ----- de Coverley,

his executive officer: He doesn't know whether he is Major ----- de

Coverlay's subordinate, or vice versa. A C.I.D. man comes to investigate

the Washington Irving scandal, but Major Major denies knowledge, and the

incompetent C.I.D. man believes him--as does another C.I.D. man who arrives

shortly thereafter, then leaves to investigate the first C.I.D. man. Major

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