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We Bombed in New Haven

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We Bombed in New Haven

  • June 2008
  • 532 Words
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Heller’s first play, We Bombed in New Haven, which was published in 1967, concerns a group of actors who believe they are portraying an Air Force squadron in an unspecified modern war. The action alternates between scenes where the players act out their parts in the script and scenes where they communicate among themselves out of "character," expressing dissatisfaction with their roles as being in the military. This technique, recalls the work of Bertolt Brecht and Luigi Pirandello. It alerts the audience to the play's artificiality. This work, as seen in Catch 22, exposes what Heller perceives as the illogic and moral bankruptcy of the United States military. Many critics have interpreted We Bombed in New Haven as a protest against America's participation in the Vietnam War. We Bombed in New Haven is less directly autobiographical than Heller's other writings, even though its essential convictions were formed by his military service. It is very stubbornly antiwar, it is more inflexible than Catch-22. The play concerns a group of actors who believe they are playing a group of airmen in an unspecified modern war. The play alternates between them as their characters, talking about bombing missions, and as actors, complaining about their casting. The play starts off in the Major’s briefing room. The Major is planning and preparing for an attack on Constantinople, a region that no longer exists, even in the book. However, the mission still takes place. Once the pilots return back to the base, we learn that Sinclair, one of the pilots, was killed in action. Soon after, the Major plans another mission to Bomb Minnesota. Sergeant Henderson, who has read in the script that he is the next to die, attempts to uncover the truth of Sinclair’s disappearance, which creates a stir among the other actors. However, he is shot onstage for refusing to participate in the mission. The Major then tells Captain Starkey to find a replacement. He is given a list of 300 names, and calls...

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