Abstract:Joseph Heller’s novel catch 22 is a well-known piece of works featured by black humor. It successfully reflects people’s emotions after World War Ⅱ. Moreover, its significance has been beyond war field and has extended to the whole society of America. Up to the present day, criticism of Joseph Heller’s novel catch 22 relates to almost all-around approaches, including criticism on the absurd theme, anti-hero and artistic features, etc. However, I would like to analyze the device of paradox in this novel based on my deepest feelings after reading this novel. Although this criticism approach has also been adopted, which mainly discusses paradox on the basis of its categories, I intend to elaborate my thoughts in a different way.
Therefore, I will focus on the uses of paradox related to the elements of a novelcharacters, plots and language expressions. As for the uses of paradox in characters, I will concentrate on the contradictions of personalities, and the double identity of the hero. Through the analysis of the paradoxical elements within some of the characters, I intend to discover the essence of the war events in the novel and build the close relations between characters and the theme expressed by the author. While the analysis of paradox in plots will be extended from two aspects, one of which will be focused on the contradictions among a series of plots developed through the novel, and the other one will be focused on the same plot inside which there exist absolute conflicts. By means of interpreting plots involving paradox, I will go a step further to dig out the values among the special plot arrangements by the author. And when it comes to the uses of paradox in language expressions, I would like to expound my ideas through the language items spoken by the characters as well as those organized only by the author to see how well those paradoxical language items have played their roles in exposing the truths and deepen the theme through the novel.
Apart from what I have mentioned above, I will also make some overall interpretations, which deal with the paradoxical effects caused by the tragic and comic elements inside black humor. So my following paper will include four parts: brief introduction to Joseph Heller and his novel Catch 22, review of paradox and black humor, paradox and black humor in Catch 22, and conclusion.
Key words：catch 22, paradox, character, plot, language, black humor