War as Tragically Absurd: Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five 12th Grade

The concept of war is both gruesomely tragic, and deeply absurd. Through their respective texts, Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse-Five, authors Joseph Heller and George Roy Hill capture the very essence of war, and it’s tragic absurdity, though employing a range of stylistic techniques intended to engage, humour and shock the audience. Within Catch-22, Heller explores not only the inevitable doom of soldiers within WWII, but the absurdity with which their lives came to an end, and to a greater extent conveys his concerns about the practice of warfare in contemporary society. Heller achieves this through employing a range of techniques, including irony and satire, characterization, motifs, symbolism and paradox. In contrast, whilst Hill’s film Slaughterhouse-Five also explores the horrors and pointlessness of WWII, it also introduces the concept of alien intervention and time travel, which gives the film an unsettling and absurd quality. Through the use of film techniques such as characterization, diegetic sound, camera angles, mise en scene and editing, Hill too expresses his concerns regarding war within today’s society, and highlights the pointlessness of hostile societal groups. Through the employment of stylistic features...

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