Thursday, August 9, 2018

War Than You Bargained For

Joseph Heller's Catch-22 was published on November 10, 1961.

James Jones's The Thin Red Line was published September 17, 1962.

Both are dreamy books (and movies, too), but Catch-22 is absurdist, while The Thin Red Line, though full of its own circularities, is closer to realism

I wonder if it were the other way around -- if The Thin Red Line was published (and read) first, and Catch-22 was published (and read) second. Realism followed by Absurdism? The realist would say that's not how life works, while the absurdist would say a realist would say that.

Here is a paragraph on Pfc Doll from Page 14 of The Thin Red Line:

Doll had learned something during the last six months of his life. Chiefly what he learned was that everybody lived by a selected fiction. Nobody was really what he pretended to be. It was as if everybody made up a fiction story about himself, and then he just pretended to everybody that that was what he was. And everybody believed him, or at least accepted his fiction story. Doll did not know if everybody learned this about life when when they reached a certain age, but he suspected that they did. They just didn't tell it to anybody. And rightly so. Obviously, if they told anybody, then their own fiction story about themselves wouldn't be true either. So everybody had to learn it for himself. And then, of course, pretend he hadn't learned it.

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