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The author of ‘catch 22 All Quiet on the Western front’ is Joseph Heller. He had earlier worked in the Air force during the World War II. He was also a writer and acclaimed teacher. (Harold, 11) He wrote several other books but his most famous book was catch 22. He wrote the book while doing marketing and producing. The book is drawn from Air Force experiences. This makes the book easy to understand and entertaining. The book narrates a war story that is captivating and thrilling unlike normal war stories. The novel therefore drew criticisms and accolades in equal measure. It was one of the defining publications of the twentieth century. The book narrates tough visions of war and avoids all romanticisms that are associated with war. It presents comedy of violence which is utterly amazing. It depicts bureaucracy and ironic madness. This ironic writing came to be a norm of war novels thereafter. After the Vietnam War came the World War II and Catch 22 proved prophetic.( Jon, 23)
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The author of Catch-22 relies mainly o n the funny side to explain the madness that is experienced during war. It presents the awful purposelessness of armed clash through a kind of desperate ridiculousness. It avoids explicit depictions of suffering and violence. The main protagonist presented in the book, Yossarian, depicts a story of hope and perseverance. (James, 99). The author believes that the motivation to soldier on during war can save an individual from despair. The narration of the book mocks the same values that seem to bring achievement during the war. These include deceit and hypocrisy. With such deep and memorable narration, Catch-22 was the main book in the 1960s. it marked the beginning of university protests and other means of activism. People began to question authority and bureaucracies. It a narration about making moral decisions that an individual must decide faced with a structure of authority where rules are morally wrong and unreasonable. ( Stephen, 89)
‘All quiet on the Western Front’ is a book authored by Erich Maria Remarque, a German national. The author took part in the Word War I. the books describes how the German soldiers underwent physical and mental stress during the war. It also describes bow the soldiers were isolated from their normal lifestyles when they returned home. (Harold, 29.) Erich himself took part in the world war I and received five wounds from the war. The aftermath of the war left unforgettable scars on Erich and he therefore, gained peace through writing. He wrote other books about the war but his most remarkable was ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. The novel narrates the story of Paul Baumer who volunteered for the war. This was after their teacher urged the students to stand up for the national good. Paul and a group of many other young men decided to volunteer and be trained. They were trained by instructor Himmelstoss. Paul and the trained friends went to the battlefield armed with vigor and glory for the victory of Germany. They had their own mindset of how the war would bring glory and victory to them and to the country at large. This soon faded as Paul and his friends realized that what they had been told was not true. What was happening was not what they expected. People were losing their lives many injured and causing a lot of suffering and anguish. Their lives were being destroyed and death was taking them one by one. Paul therefore begins to wonder about his own life and how he will survive after the war is over. ( Arthur, 13)
Erich’s book exposes the madness associated with a war. It’s a mixture of violent battles and long period s of boredom. This brings out the realism that is associated with war. Paul and his pals would be sitting idle discussing routine topics and the next day they would be engulfed in a war after French armies attack. This contract brings out the realism in the book. This extremism caused distress and psychological torture to men. The authors draws a picture of how walking around dead bodies was a normal scenery. Unnatural activities such as mass killings surrounded by natural beauty of the world are theme that is manifested throughout the book. The author paints a strange duality between many things that happen in the war and what happens in ideal world. The book views the war from the German side. The Germans faced many challenges such as food rations and supplies. They therefore began retreating due to the overwhelming power and might that they faced from the Americans.( Brian, 27).
The striking characteristic of the book is that it is not an ordinary war book. Ti does not focus on the might of the war but on an individual who finds himself in a war he does not understand. The story of how Paul and his friends were wounded and trying to survive as each day came. This makes the book memorable and brings out the themes powerfully. Characterization is also enhanced as the story of Paul is build on. Paul comes out as an important character in the narration. He is brought out as a strong character. The scenes are memorable and they follow one after another. The battle scenes are amazing as the author draws contrasts between the quite life of the protagonist and the war life. Paul realizes the war has changed him as a person. At one point Paul witnesses a dying French national and he contemplates the brotherhood of a man. This part Is memorable and brings out the character of those in war as normal beings.
“The Things They Carried” is a book that consists of collection of stories. The author is Tim O’Brien who was a soldier who participated in the Vietnam War. The book narrates the experiences of soldiers and shows similarities of real soldiers to the real soldiers. The protagonist takes the name of the author and is called Tim O’Brien. He starts by explaining the proceedings that took place in the middle of Vietnam War (Tim, 99). It’s a narration of the experiences that fellow soldier endured during the course of the war. They included fear and guilt as well as other tangible objects such as guns, matches and morphine. The soldiers described were mainly attached to Alpha Company. One of the members, who were the first to die, was Ted Lavender who was a junior soldier. He had anxieties and fear about the war. He ended up taking marijuana to try and escape the realisms of the war. Lavender is shot dead and his senior blames himself for the death. His boss, Cross, is revealed that he had feelings for a girl back in college. The girl was Martha and the feelings that Cross had were never reciprocated. He therefore, blamed himself for the murder even long after the battle.
Another narration in the book is “On the Rainy River” narrated by O’Brien (Gary, 71). He explains the reasons for joining the war and the events that led him to join the war. After receiving his notice in June of 1968, his feelings of confusion made him go to the north of Canada. This was because he wanted to avoid the war. Later he leaves to Washington and later joins the war. Many of the alpha company soldiers are killed in the war. In another Narration “The Dentist” he tells the story of a soldier who fainted before routine checkup with a dentist. Another member also dies in the landmine. The death that is most acknowledged is that of Kiowa who was a member of the Alpha and loved by many. He was also a close friend to Brian (Urska & Petric, 56). In “Speaking of Courage:, Brian presents a story that he wrote about Norman Bowker. He describes how Norman had difficulties adjusting to the normal life many years after the war had ended. He paints a picture of how, Norman told him to write a story about how readjusting to the normal life was difficult. Brian realizes that the reminiscences will not leave him and therefore he constantly wrote about them. The narration by Brian brings out the guilt and the emptiness the soldiers underwent even after the war.
The death of Kiowa made him to have a lot of guilt and emptiness. The narration ,” the Man I killed” and “Ambush” are written so that Brian can confirm his own anguish and guilt over killing a man. In “The Man I Killed” Brian imagines what could have happened if he had not killed the man (Tim, 23). He paints a picture of how the man’s life could have changed if he had not thrown a grenade at him. In “Ambush” Brian tries to imagine how he might tell the story of the man he had killed to her daughter. This feeling of guilt hunts him as he explains how difficult it would be to tell the story to her daughter. In this narration also, Brian explains in detail how he killed the man. This includes the sound of the grenade and how he felt about it. The last sory is on “The Lives of the Dead” . Brian remembers a a girl from his childhood who died of cancer. He narrates that this was the first dead body that he saw. He gives the contention that stories have power to save lives. In the stories of Lemon and Kiowa he explains how his thoughts allowed him to struggle effectively with his guiltiness and confusion over the death of his Linda whom she reveals that he had feelings for.(Harold, 149)
In conclusion, according to Harold bloom review this book was powerful and explains the happenings of the Vietnam war. It is narrated from the soldiers and the experiences they went through. The theme is clearly brought out and it is mainly that of guilt and emptiness on the side of the soldiers. The narrator is the author himself.