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The Deft Touch of Catch 22 Hellers Harmonious Unison of Comedy and Tragedy Since the dawn of literature and drama comedy and tragedy have always been partitioned into separate genres Certainly most tragedies had comedic moments and even the zaniest comedies were at times serious However even the development of said tragicomedies left the division more or less intact Integrating a total comedy and a total tragedy into a holistic union that not only preserved both features but also blended them into a new and harmonious entity remained elusive That is until Catch-22 Using his unique style and structure Joseph Heller masterfully manages to interlay humor and terror comedy and tragedy and reveals in the process the perversions of the human character and of society gone mad The first stroke of Hellers deft touch is his presentation of outrageous characters acting outrageously From the first chapter we are presented with a slew of unbelievable characters whose actions and ideologies are uproariously funny and horrifically disturbing In fact the manner in which the reader recognizes the characters dual nature will serve as the first example of Hellers amalgamation of comedy and tragedy Dunbars theory of life is first received with a burst of laughter from the audience Life is short and Dunbar wishes to extend it as much as possible If time flies when one is having fun then conversely time must slow when one is bored Dunbar endeavors to make his life as boring as possible thus increasing the length of its passing Indeed it is understandable why such an attitude should elicit a laugh but the further implications are horrific Societys emphasis on life over meaning comes as a shocking revelation to the audience Heller further reinforces that idea with characters such as Doc Daneeka who values self-preservation and money over responsibility and friendship and Milo who values self-improvement and fortune over the lives of thousands of others The motif that follows gives
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