Joseph Heller is one of the most outstanding American novelists and the representative of the black humor. His first and best known novel --- catch-22 published in 1961 was recognized as one of the most important books in America since the World War Two. And the “catch-22” has entered the American vocabulary to express the frustration of encountering absurd obstacles. Nowadays, an increasing number of scholars write books and essays to expound different aspects of the novel. Through detailed search and analysis, it was found that at present there are at least 130 academic papers about Catch-22 on the Chinese Doctor and Master’s Database. Among all these papers, 48 papers focus on its theme and the author and 66 papers are concerned with its writing skills. Some others mainly study on the absurdity as well as other things related with Catch-22. Undoubtedly no matter what subjects the scholars study, theme, writing skill or others, it is inevitable for them to touch on the literature gene of this novel—black humor. This paper does some analysis on the relationship between black humor and Catch-22. From the perspective of black humor, this paper is trying to make a detailed analysis on its main character, structure and style aims to comprehensively display the deduction of black humor in Catch-22 and let the readers have a better understanding of this novel.
PartⅠGeneral Explanation of the Black Humor
1.1 Definition of black humor
Black humor was defined as “using the form of comedy to express the content of tragedy”. The so-called “black” refers to the terrible, funny objective reality; and “humor” refers to the free will of the individual character of this reality to taunt attitude. Black humor is a pain and laughter, absurd fact and calm disproportionate response, cruel and tender feelings. Black humor is based in the thinking of pessimism.When meeting with a death, absurd situation, the only thing to do is to pain a smile, and the smile of pain can only disapproval to take pain kidding. Black humor uses comic ways to show the connotation of tragedy, thus making it a bitter tears gloomy smile It was usually used in literature, drama, and film, is a kind of grotesque or morbid humor retaining a serious tone .The purpose of black humor is to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox, and cruelty of the modern world. Ordinary characters or situations are usually exaggerated far beyond the limits of normal satire or irony. Black humor uses devices often associated with tragedy and is sometimes equated with tragic farce.
1.2 Characteristics of black humor
1.2.1. Formlessness and exaggeration
If art is the reflection of reality, then, black humor novelists firstly find out formlessness and exaggeration in art. Since the world is incomprehensible and absurd, its presentation is certainly illogical, irrational, like magnification of a microscope, or formlessness technique of a magic mirror. This presents to us the abnormal phenomenon which can not be seen in normal situation, and lead to the effect of absurdity. 1.2.2 Funny satire while writing tragedy in comic ways
Another literary technique that the black humor writers often use is funny satire. While presenting the human in ridiculous and strange condition, its narrative tone is cold and indifferent, and even with ridicule and mockery 1.2.3. Narrative in ways of fragmentation, collection of specimens From the perspective of novel structure, the traditional novel's continued narrative structure disappeared in the black humor writers’ works. Black humor writers generally followed a more fragmented structure, often wrote the novel in scattered fragments. Fragmentation of narrative structure and collection of specimens is the major feature of black humor writers’ works....
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