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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspects of the absurd in modern fiction, with special reference to Under the Volcano and Catch-22 Atkins, Shirley Elizabeth 1969

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ASPECTS  OF T H E ABSURD I N MODERN F I C T I O N , WITH S P E C I A L  R E F E R E N C E TO UNDER  T H E VOLCANO AND  CATCH-22  by SHIRLEY  ELIZABETH  ATKINS  B.A., D a l h o u s i e U n i v e r s i t y ,  19^7  A T H E S I S SUBMITTED I N P A R T I A L FULFILMENT  OF  T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR T H E D E G R E E OF MASTER OF A R T S  in  the Department of English  We a c c e p t required  this  thesis as conforming  standard  UNIVERSITY  OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A  September,  1969  to the  In p r e s e n t i n g an the  thesis  advanced degree at Library  I further for  this  shall  the  in p a r t i a l  fulfilment of  University  of  make i t f r e e l y  agree tha  permission  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may  by  his  of  this  written  representatives.  be  available  for  for extensive  granted  by  the  It i s understood  thesis for financial  gain  shall  permission.  Department The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  British  Columbia  requirements  Columbia,  Head o f my  be  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying of  that  not  the  that  study.  this  thesis  Department  copying or  for  or  publication  allowed without  my  T A B L E OF  CONTENTS  Chapter I  Page Background Absurd  II  III IV A  and D i r e c t i o n s  Novel  1  . . . . . . . .  38  i n the Contemporary  Under the Volcano  of the  Catch-22.  102  Conclusion.'  150  SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY  ' .  158  i i i  ABSTRACT This  thesis  of a f f i r m a t i o n  acknowledges  a  of a clear  i n some n o v e l s o f t h e m i d - T w e n t i e t h  Finding a similar affirmation Myth  the presence  to  such novels.  by  e x a m i n a t i o n o f t w o n o v e l s i n some d e t a i l . this  mutual  I t then attempts  p e r c e p t i o n o f man's p e r i l o u s  imitation this  thesis  the novels a r i s e s and  from an a t t i t u d e  f o r the purpose  anxiety as a s p i r i t u a l  materialistic  state  anxiety,  of creative action.  novelists  as Malcolm  and W i l l i a m  "absurd," and t o e x p l a i n  he t e r m e d  termed  such  "Absurd."  existential  u n i v e r s e , and t o d e s c r i b e intensified  i n spiritual Of t h i s  i n a godless,  sterility  condition,  Heller,  and  such  William Golding,  S t y r o n seem a c u t e l y  to define  Camus' u s e s  aware.  o f the term  the nature of the absurd i i i  "absurdist"  "absurd^"  study, are called  Lowry, Joseph  i t attempts  the affirmation i n  t h a t Camus  painfully  paralysis  of conscious  germane t o h i s c o n d i t i o n a s a n  age, has r e s u l t e d  Lawrence D u r r e l l  i n the modern  Nevertheless,  t o e x p l a i n man's  being i n an obscure  how t h i s n a t u r a l  In addition,  that  of t h i s  C h a p t e r One a t t e m p t s  intelligent  the a r t i s t s '  condition  i n t e n d s t o show t h a t  i n h e r e s i n a way o f l i f e  novels,  from  on t h e a b s u r d .  conclusion  I t considers  i t does n o t imply the n e c e s s i t y  o f Camus' t h o u g h t s  selection  to support this  relationship arises naturally  world, and that  since  demonstrate  agreement between the essays and a l i m i t e d  of  that  Century.  i n A l b e r t Camus' e s s a y s , The  o f S i s y p h u s and The R e b e l , i ' t a t t e m p t s  basic  note  life—the  iv life  of absurd  positive  answer to  While  C h a p t e r One  challenge that  attests to attempts  Camus' i d e a s  of  broad  values  the  recognizing  these novels  them o f  r e b e l l i o n — t h a t he  the  the  to  as  Camus l i m i t s  i t  r  by  as  the  evident  basic the  by  necessity  among creations,  agreement existence  examination  these authors  "everything  only-  independent  trace  Finally,  that  that  to  the  times.  establish their  i t notes  Camus' c o n c l u s i o n  the  diversity  a b s u r d , and  at  of  t h e i r nature  similarities.  implied,  advances as  among of  seem t o a r r i v e  i s permitted," of  with  individual  limited, responsi-  bility. C h a p t e r s Two absurd and of  i n two  novels,  Three, d e t a i l e d examinations Malcolm Lowry's Under the  Joseph H e l l e r ' s Catch-22. the  authors'  e x t e r n a l and an  and  internal,  a n a l y s i s of  whether  p r o t e s t by  the  individual  are  attacked.  the  "lucid  these the  and  escape  into alcoholism  individual  The  joy  urgency  hope  to  excessive  the  clarify  i n conscious  controlling  of  or  from  involves escapism,  escape  ratioanlism, i t struggle In  for  particular,  affirmation implied  illusion  and  anxiety  by  to  living.  restates  themes of  process  o r mass  individual  the  nature both  r e s u l t s of d e s t r u c t i v e  t h a t Camus d e m a n d s .  liberation  Conclusion  this  nature  awareness"  chapters  defiant  the  the  the  what f o r c e s ,  As  the  Volcano  to c l a r i f y  p o i n t i n g out  into meaningless conformity suggests a l s o  attempt  of  the  fundamental agreement  these novels  and  the  tenets  between of  the  V  absurd  delineated  by Camus.  Also,  diversity  o f method  deal  common t h e m e s a n d a r r i v e a t a f f i r m a t i v e  with  clusions. this  Finally,  fiction  salvation. would  call  The M y t h the  and approach  i t demonstrates the  by which  i t warns a g a i n s t  as the expression The Absurd  Novel  disparagingly  t h e two  novels con-  the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of  of a doctrine  f o runiversal  i snot, therefore,  what  a "thesis-novel" ; a t most,  of Sisyphus, i tissues  i n d i v i d u a l i n the modem  a positive challenge  world.  Camus  like to  CHAPTER I B a c k g r o u n d and. D i r e c t i o n s o f • t h e : A b s u r d .Contemporary The  spirit  tentatively of  enquiry  desirable  o r even t o l e r a b l e ?  the  Novel"  I s human  h i s obscure  marked  one  existence  "To b e , o r n o t t o b e ; "  universe.  t h e t r o u b l e b e g a n w i t h Adam.  hence,  i s essentially  the u n c e r t a i n t y and anguish  t o understand  forbidden fruit  which i s  This question i s as o l d as  and Hamlet's  articulates  attempt myth,  "The A b s u r d  fiction  i n t o a b a s i c human q u e s t i o n :  human e x p e r i e n c e , merely  Novel  of that contemporary  called  i n the.  o f man's  In Christian  The s y m b o l i c  the birth  eating of  of consciousness and,  t h e end o f p r i m o r d i a l innocence.  With  consciousness  came a n u n e a s y p e r c e p t i o n o f m a n ' s u n i q u e n e s s  among a l l  created  i n a  beings,  with which ced  his intelligence  by t h e evidence  subjection  this and  transcend  anxiety  man  the limitations  fears.  him incongruous. being  a b s o l u t e s , by which  o f h i s earthbound  he i s b e s e t  I f he c a n a s s u a g e  he r e s t o r e s u n i t y ,  1  For-  to recognize h i s  this  he • •  state.  by c e a s e l e s s  In  doubts  existential  by making a t r a n s c e n d e n t a l l e a p t o f a i t h  absolute Divinity.,,  universe  i s y e t i m p e l l e d by h i s  t o seek metaphysical  uncertain condition, nameless  rendered  of h i s physical  t o n a t u r a l laws,  intelligence may  and o f h i s ambiguous p o s i t i o n  i n an  order and purpose  2 to  his  life.  forever  by  I f not,  the  his  questions  the  problem The  strong able  act  he  of  of  existence  God  and  the  general  the  i s not  shocked  day  however,  such f l a s h e s  ultimate  submission  momentarily  their  of moral of  birth.  t o an  omnipotent,  eras.  reassurance  offered  they are  isolation and  Not by  acutely  pressures  endeavour to assess the  result  of  echoes  the  enquiry,  accentuated  degrees  instead  of  of  by  i n modern times.  human c o n d i t i o n  from  confused  they a r r i v e at a  a f f i r m a t i o n of W i l l i a m  With varying "being"  the  man's b a s i c  by  an author-  into  negation.  i n a much more of  earlier,  of  the  firm  "nothingness",  social, Thus, the  they  individual. decision  and  political  point  of As  a  that  Kinsolving.  defiance,  " i n the  but  insecurity  Styron's Cass  e n t h u s i a s m and  by  absolutes,  accepted absolutes,  that  modern i s o l a t e d and  their  they deprived  generally aware  are  fellow artists  are  questioning  and  temporary plunge  have been g r i e v o u s l y  technological  v i e w of  only  unexplain-  i f inscrutable,  "Absurd" n o v e l i s t s , unfortunately,  also  the  of  reconciled  These  more s e c u r e  i t s Jobs,  I n ages marked  A f f i r m a t i o n succeeds  p o s i t i o n than their  resolves  into  institutions  r e b e l l i o n are  with  justification.  without  ity.  difficult  that  into recognition  lapse of  acceptance  faith  anxiety-  to l i v e  o c c a s i o n a l l y needs  injustice,  cursing  Even the  literature  b e l i e v e r s who, and  his  s u i c i d e , or determine  unanswered.  h i s t o r y of  evil  must e i t h e r s t i l l  hope o f  they  choose  being  what  [they] The  could  be  official  for a  human e x i s t e n c e  In  e s s a y , The  19^0,  he  deals  and  despair  and  delineates  meet the times. the  struggle  an  problem  from  the  of  w h i c h he  f i g u r e of  against  the  contradictions  shades  meanings as:  term  of meaning.  "a  in his  " a b s u r d " and  state  of  of  existence, can  i n present he  best godless  establishes  e n d l e s s and  defiant  his existence.  In  i t s d e r i v a t i v e s take  Jean-Paul  fact,"  modern  Sisyphus,  a b s u r d man  in  sterility  f e e l s man  state  the  the  of  Camus.  in Paris  spiritual  his hopeless  legendary  Albert  published  absurdity  a t t i t u d e by of  attitude  a French-Algerian,  of  essay,  varying  the  arising  prototype  this  with  the  was  absurdist  Myth of Sisyphus,  challenge In  x  spokesman f o r the  toward his  time."  and  Sartre  "the  has  lucid  on  defined  two  awareness 2  which  c e r t a i n people acquire  t h e s e may  be  added a  sequence  of  a  t h i n k i n g and  way  of  determined The  first  scurity  this  third,  by,  "lucid  this  i s the  C a m u s t e r m s the ment; and  between h i s  of  o r more  awareness",  i n the  meaning:  as,  h i s p a i n f u l awareness of  the  the  con-  is  constantly  incongruity  universe.  maintained and  The  chaos,  and  and  of  his  harmony and  injustice  ob-  second  a man's c o n s c i o u s n e s s  f o r order,  To  specifically,  between h i s d e s i r e s  instinct  fact."  t h a t a r i s e s from, and  meaning:  "divorce"  state  loosely defined  living  o f man's c o n d i t i o n  i s a more s p e c i f i c  this  awareness,"  "lucid  usual  of  what environ  permanenc death.  4 The  third  attitude against  i s a m e a n i n g p e c u l i a r t o Camus: and  the  initiated  a  way  of  life  limitations  and  of  maintained  aspirations.  Such a  of  awareness"  the  "lucid  the  word  "absurd"  the  absurd  life,  of  life  i n the  demands t h e described  absurd  a b s u r d way  of  only  reasonable  consequence  to  way  the  t h i n k i n g and  f a c t s of  i n the  the  present  In arriving his  divergence  living  t o be  at  i n s i s t e n c e on  in  a  he  c a s t i g a t e s as  "the  leap,"  this  the  deify  a b s u r d man,  from an  despair,  the  etc. the  only  facing  positive  and  Camus c l e a r l y  i n the  vio-  climate  with  As  far  human c o n d i t i o n  and  he  He  universe,  jump t o a  what c r u s h e s them and  find  finds  himself  Existentialism;  part  conclusion, reason  but  conclusions  repudiates  w h i c h many p h i l o s o p h e r s i n the  states  thinkers.  confrontation,  confrontation.  by  them."3  in:  honest  nihilism  " p h i l o s o p h i c a l s u i c i d e " the  illogically  impoverishes  sense,  i s , t o Camus,  derived  conclusion,  lucid  apprehended a b s u r d i t y r e a s o n and  this  age.  of absurdity  d r a w n .from t h a t  -maintenance  a d j e c t i v e , as  human c o n d i t i o n , a n d  common i n t e l l e c t u a l  calls  In  an  the  from most e x i s t e n t i a l i s t  his perception  his  are  struggle,  o f GombaJtlngthe a t m o s p h e r e o f  lence  as  used as  rebellion  highest  steadfast  above.  an  rebellion  name o f m a n ' s  i s frequently the  s t r u g g l e and  human e x i s t e n c e ,  This  up  constant  i t designates  who  what have  company by  that he  clearly  with  which  "they  t o hope i n what  5 Contrary man  "does not  from a  to  these,  Camus r e f u s e s  h e s i t a t e to draw the  fundamental a b s u r d i t y . " ^  ultimately  bring  delivering him  to  from  the  i m m o r t a l i t y .or i n a n y  from a l l r e s t r i c t i n g  and  beliefs.  his  life  this  i n the  new  the  it  and  life  they  passion  conclusions" for  liberate  upon those  to l i v e  for life  by  in  consequently  i s his only  of a l l a b s o l u t e s  Imply.  absolute  Although  a l l actions are  are  freedom;  hopes  to his  utmost  certainty.  From  in a l li t s  defiant struggle, which  f o r Camus, i n t h e  since  new  permitted  which  absurd  i s the  joy  man.  negation  seems t o  a l l  f o r the  absurd  The end,  i s thereby present,  a  codes attendant  freedom a r i s e s a  diversity of  He  His  These ' I n e v i t a b l e  future or b e l i e f  absolute,  him  "leap."  inevitable conclusions  a b s u r d man  hope f o r the  to  moral  nihilism  codes does  and  license  i t suggests l o g i c a l l y  equally devoid  equally unimportant;  i m p l i e s i t s own  and  of moral  Camus i n s i s t s  not  that  that,  significance,  that  the  absurd  morality.  The a b s u r d d o e s n o t l i b e r a t e ; i t b i n d s . I t does n o t a u t h o r i z e a l l a c t i o n s . . . . I t d o e s n o t recommend crime,...but i t r e s t o r e s to remorse i t s f u t i l i t y ....The o n l y t r u t h t h a t m i g h t seem i n s t r u c t i v e . . . . is not formal: i t comes t o l i f e and u n f o l d s i n men. 5 The suggested the  long  essay,  necessary but  not  essay,  restriction defined  The  Rebel,  Camus s e e k s a n  of absolute  in this  passage,  published  answer to the  individual  freedom,  is clarified  i n 1951* question:  In  this  in  Is i t p o s s i b l e t o f i n d a r u l e o f conduct outside.the realm o f r e l i g i o n and i t s absolute values? 6  He c o n c l u d e s arise, true  spirit  that  he f i n d s  of r e b e l l i o n i smaintained.  he s t a t e s  a b s u r d man  he  such a r u l e o f conduct must  i fthe "moderation"  Sisyphus,  the  that  that  the s p i r i t u a l  i s one o f c o n s t a n t  explicitly  inherent  i nthe  I n the Myth of condition  of the  and permanent r e v o l t  l i m i t a t i o n s of h i sexistence.? defines  necessarily  This  spirit  against  of rebellion  i n The R e b e l .  M e t a p h y s i c a l r e b e l l i o n i s a c l a i m , m o t i v a t e d by the concept o f a complete u n i t y , a g a i n s t t h e s u f f e r i n g of l i f e and death and a protest against t h e human c o n d i t i o n b o t h f o r i t s i n c o m p l e t e n e s s , thanks t o death, and i t s wastefulness, thanks to e v i l . 8  Observing o f man  that  the present dehumanized, automaton  i n s o c i e t y has a r i s e n from  the excesses  and  historical r e b e l l i o n i n the past  the  l i m i t a t i o n s of absolute  implied  i n the i n i t i a l  cribes as a conflict  spirit  of rebellion.  b e t w e e n w h a t a man  w h a t he r e f u s e s  any  infringement  certain by  the rebel's  awareness"  awareness reveals  Camus f i n d s  inherent  he  des-  he i s ,  human d i g n i t y ;  and humanity beyond  of  a  insurrection i s motivated  o f h i s own c o n d i t i o n , a n d  that  stresses  which embodies a n e g a t i o n  upon h i s l i b e r t y  point. ,Since  his"lucid  this  to allow,  he  that are  This  insists  which embodies a n a f f i r m a t i o n o f h i s b a s i c and  of philosophical  two c e n t u r i e s ,  individual liberty  condition  since  h i s l o t i s s h a r e d b y a l l men,  i n the s p i r i t  o f r e b e l l i o n a sense of  7 shared  h u m a n i t y a n d a new c o m p a s s i o n *  Th^is f e e l i n g  c o m m i t m e n t t o a common h u m a n i t y a n d t h i s love"9  will,  man may  i n turn, dictate values  live  and a c t .  A s Camus  "strange  of  form o f  by w h i c h t h e  absurd  expresses i t ,  The r e b e l u n d o u b t e d l y demands a c e r t a i n d e g r e e of freedom f o r h i m s e l f ; b u t i n n o c a s e , i f he i s c o n s i s t e n t , d o e s he demand t h e r i g h t t o destroy the existence and the freedom o f others. He h u m i l i a t e s n o o n e . l ° Only and  by m a i n t a i n i n g the negation  restrain prone.  a constant  t e n s i o n between the a f f i r m a t i o n  of h i s original  h i s a c t i o n s from  revolt,  will  t o excess  to  t h e e x c e s s t o w h i c h a l l men a r e  Camus' i n s i s t e n c e t h a t t h e i n d i v i d u a l  instinct  he, b e a b l e  curb  this  i s a c l e a r demand f o r i n d i v i d u a l  respons-  ibility. W h a t e v e r we may d o , e x c e s s w i l l a l w a y s k e e p i t s p l a c e i n t h e h e a r t o f man, i n t h e p l a c e w h e r e solitude i s found. We a l l c a r r y w i t h i n u s o u r places o f e x i l e , our crimes and our ravages. But o u r t a s k i s n o t t o u n l e a s h them on t h e w o r l d ; i t i s t o f i g h t them i n o u r s e l v e s a n d i n o t h e r s . T h u s Camus absurd than  does a r r i v e a t a b a s i c  rebel,  but that the values  "relative"  values  " r u l e of conduct"  for his  i m p l i e d c a n be n o more  he r e a d i l y  admits.  Rebellion i t s e l f only aspires t o the r e l a t i v e and can o n l y promise a n a s s u r e d d i g n i t y coupled with r e l a t i v e j u s t i c e . . . . I t s universe i s the universe o f r e l a t i v e values.12 Although guide  relative  values  provide,  a t best,  t o human a c t i o n , n e v e r t h e l e s s  man's way o u t o f t h e d a r k n e s s of a b s o l u t e  values  they  light  of nihilism,  and moral codes had  only a the  flickering absurd  which h i s negation  suggested.  8 Camus' a r r i v a l although offered out  i t may  a t "relative" values  suggest  t o the proud  a pale, humanistic  defiance  of Sisyphus,  essay  concentrates  grows l o g i c a l l y  carries essays  this  the truth  i n spite  individual attitude  insist  unending  i n life  Whereas t h e  on f o r m u l a t i n g a n a t t i t u d e * by  w h i c h t h e i n d i v i d u a l may f a c e f i n d meaning  Rebel.  compromise  o f t h e p o s t u l a t e s o f The Myth o f S i s y p h u s .  earlier  and  i n The  o f h i s own e x i s t e n c e  of i t ; into  life  t h e l a t e r one among men.  Both  o n t h e same l u c i d a w a r e n e s s a n d t h e same  struggle,  and both  present  t h e same  i n v i t a t i o n t o l i v e and t o create, i n the very midst o f the desert.13 T h u s Camus i s s u e s a c h a l l e n g e the  inauthenticity  commitment, standards  t o the s p i r i t u a l apathy  o f t h e modern age;  compassion and i n d i v i d u a l  essential  to the l i f e  proposing  r  responsibility as.  of rebellion,  purpose and meaning t o the absurd challenge and the standards  a n d , by  and  struggle.  are important  he g i v e s Both  the„  to the  Absurd  Novel. The present  fact  t h a t some n o v e l s  of the mid-Twentieth  t h e same c h a l l e n g e a n d s u g g e s t  human s o l u t i o n ,  does n o t presuppose  the French  philosopher-artist.  d o o c c u r may n a t u r a l l y human e x p e r i e n c e  arise  from  a s i m i l a r l i m i t e d and  the n e c e s s i t y of any  conscious master-disciple relationship and  Century  between t h e i r  authors  S u c h r e semblances'!a s a shared v i s i o n of  a n d a common c o n c e r n  f o r man's  perilous  9 state in  i n t h e modern w o r l d .  the reasoned  discourse o f t h e essay  gave t ot h e word "Absurd" clusions,  t h e term  novels*,.  t h e contemporary  "Absurd"  t o a very  William Styron's,  Lawrence D u r r e l l ' s ,  Catch-22  (1961),  critic.  examination  novels  o fthese  they  cannot be considered  sub-species form at  o ft h enovel genre.  and content  i simmediately  Catch-22  least,  i sa very  of,a drunk;  classical  classical tragedy, ;  a sa  that  both o f  on war and  i n form,  psychoanalysis;  Quartet  i schiefly  heavily  on the point-of-view technique  i s a  o ft h e l a s t day i sa  extent,  mystery-  suggests  and which i sr a t h e r h e a v i l y laden  Freudian  there-  particular  Under t h e Volcano  to a lesser  each  Superficially  S e t T h i s House o n F i r e  suspense -murder s t o r y , which,  convenient  c r e a t i o n and that,  'modern' s a t i r e  tragedy,  almost  suggests  apparent.  domestic  overtones,of  Heller's,  f o r discussion.  A wide d i v e r s i t y  a n d economic bureaucracy;  thel i f e  (1961) ,  I tprovides a  collectively  military  in  of possible  (1957-1961),  novels  work i s a n i n d i v i d u a l a n d i s o l a t e d fore,  selection  and Malcolm Lowry's, Under t h e Volcano  on which t o group these Cursory  The a p p l i c a t i o n  (195*0, J o s e p h  o ftheF l i e s  (194-7), i s , f o r t h e m o m e n t t e n t a t i v e . peg  term t o  S e t T h i s House o n F i r e  Alexandria Quartet  William Golding's, Lord  t oh i s con-  descriptive  limited  h i s ideas  and, i n s o doing,  a meaning p e c u l i a r  he has added y e t another  the vocabulary,of of  A s Camus p r e s e n t e d  with  theAlexandria  a c h a r a c t e r a n d theme n o v e l , l e a n i n g o f Henry James o r  10 William  Faulkner,  and  p l a c i n g an  reminiscent  o f Thomas H a r d y ;  allegory  the  school  of  examination novels,  as  evidence  of  basic  the  Lord  h i s t o r y o f man,  c h i l d r e n m a r o o n e d on  a  of  of  the F l i e s  e n a c t e d by tropical  themes a l l o w s  wide range  o f any  o v e r - e m p h a s i s on  the  fictional  group acceptance  of a  setting  is  an  aj-group  of  island.  Only  grouping  of  techniques uniform  close these  gives  mode  no  of  expression. This  diversity  Absurd Novel  of  technique  c a n n o t be  considered  o f A b s u r d Drama, w h i c h r e a c h e d during plays  the  Although  were s p o n t a n e o u s ,  them a a  Fifties.  similarity  of  Absurd Novel difference imply  an  i n the  the  negative  effect  the  fiction  portrays  characters,  the  him.  for  protagonist  in  that  The  of  least  fact  that  the  i s among  independence  the  The  ultimately  novels  contrasts  sprinkling  marked  strongly  the of  i s recognizably or  of  with  plays.  Although  grotesque human,  despite  hysterical aberrations  i t i s possible to f e e l is in itself  existence  of  as  even  i s the  i n his anguish  i t presupposes  these  the Absurd  that  liberal  delusions  afflict the  a  prominence  Perhaps an  g e n e r a l l y p r o d u c e d by  hero a t  whatever a l c o h o l i c  the  effect. life  offshoot  t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s them  of  Theatre  a f f i r m a t i o n of  fictional  the  creations, there  forms of drama.  total  the  a  i t i s Insisted that  individual  indication  from  as  i t s greatest  technique  group from a l l other  more s i g n i f i c a n t  suggests a l s o that  may  sympathy  an a f f i r m a t i o n ,  c o m p a s s i o n and  a  11 recognition  o f common h u m a n i t y .  characterization any  such  i n the plays,  :; i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  i s t o "shock"  absurdity  that  i n h i s own l i f e — t h e  stops in  with  stark  recognition:  confrontation  achievement beginning  that  novels, world  this  of the absurdity past  that  or, as i t  point  t o the  o f some m e a s u r e o f s e l f - k n o w l e d g e a n d t h e action.  the apparent d i v e r s i t y  will  give  rise  their  and independence concern with a  t o thematic  absurdity  Since  i n human l i f e ,  as representative  and  t h e p o s i t i v e e l e m e n t s o f Camus' t r u e i n the s a t i r i c  content,  of both  quest f o r selfhood  shared  each  the  state novel  negative  rebellion:  the l a t t e r  a f f i r m a t i o n , usually achieved  of these  and t e c h n i c a l  a l l suggest a  be c o n s i d e r e d  character's  t h e drama  has begun and  life,  may  limited  often  t o be d o n e " i n  struggle  by c a r r y i n g beyond  rebellion against  former  more  by t h e v i e w e r  of conscious  resemblances w i t h i n the group. of  effect,  however, u s u a l l y reaches  i ti s inevitable that  vision  total  the absurd  ,of r e s p o n s i b l e  Despite  i n t o recognition of  e i t h e r by i m p l y i n g a t t h e p o i n t  t h i s marks the beginning f r e q u e n t l y does,  impossible.  I n t e r m s o f Camus' e s s a y ,  The n o v e l ,  renders  the aim of the Theatre of  "Nothing  the "confrontation"  h i s own l i f e .  this of  f o rGodot.  bizarre  hand,  and o f t e n  the viewer  than not, suggests Estragon's, Waiting  on t h e o t h e r  difficult  Furthermore—even granting the Absurd  The g e n e r a l l y  the /  i n at least a  a s t h e r e s u l t o f one  and purpose  i n h i s own  life.  12 As  satirists,  iconoclasts.  these  Sensitive to  dehumanizing pressures, age,  i n which  figments  of  Lord;  the  t o be  iality  and  the  refuse  deceived  nonentity  and  the  destructive  gaze.  decry  and  bureaucratic point,  terrestial existence truths. existence Sisyphus; dogma a n d peace  to  no  longer  "Our  Ford"  as  utterly  t o be  deceived.  The  a  of  has  proven to  They  selfishness, artificsensualists;  of H e l l e r ' s b u r e a u c r a t i c  innate  exposed t o be  by  depravity the  p r o j e c t i o n s of  cold,  the  technological  r a t i o n a l man.  but  they  creatures  and  institutions validity  push beyond the  to question  the  T h e y do  not  smugly and  o f God  any  more t h a n Camus d o e s i n The  p r a c t i c e , the tormented  failure souls  of any  of r e l i g i o n  they  moral  deny  reduction to  p o r t r a y , and  of the  absolute  victoriously  to of  realm  and  ironic  Up  limits  o f God  the  censuring  institutions.  social,  n o v e l i s t s remain w i t h i n the  nevertheless,  the  Styron's  about modern  the  con-  of G o l d i n g ' s . c h i l d i s h  novelists'  deceived  an  mere  successor  of D u r r e l l ' s A l e x a n d r i a n  satire:  the  the  confusion  "Big Brother"  dehumanizing force of  these  traditional  "Soma" a r e  a b o u t man.  the  refuse  All  this  spiritual  p a r a l y z i n g g u i l t - b r o o d i n g of  a l l are  the  thorough  s e l f - d e c e p t i o n s of Lowry's Consul;  and  They  the  inhumanity  Cass K i n s o l v i n g ; Yahoos:  very  inauthenticlties,  mind, and  than  power-lust  formists;  and  satiric  they  refuse  the  "Newspeak" and  even l e s s s a t i s f y i n g our  n o v e l i s t s are  the Myth  of  of  religious  bring the  Inability  13 of  the searching  necessary the  comment.  to arrive  Like  a t firm  Camus, t h e y  belief,  simply  imply the  cannot f i n d , i n  e v i d e n c e a v a i l a b l e t o man's r e a s o n a n d s e n s e s , a n y  proof  that an absolute The  ordering  implications of this  suffering  protagonist  Camus d e s c r i b e s the  hero  absurdity  principle  does  exist.  complete  iconoclasm  i n the spiritual  condition  as that  o f t h e man who s u d d e n l y  leave the which confronts  of h i s l i f e :  in a universe suddenly divested of i l l u s i o n s and l i g h t s , man f e e l s a n a l i e n , a s t r a n g e r . H i s e x i l e i s w i t h o u t r e m e d y s i n c e he i s d e p r i v e d o f t h e m e m o r y o f a l o s t home o r t h e h o p e o f a p r o mised land.14 It  i s out of this  despair  element  i n these novels  knight,  who p r o c e e d s  a  religious  by  a moral  his  from  and despair,  certainty,  existence.  faith  and attempts  important  motivating  impotence creative  self  to find  life.  with  i n h i s quest proceeds  from moral, and through  often  living,  f o ran individual  than the love  f a c t o r . O n l y  can the i n d i v i d u a l and thereby  of despair  questing  a meaning and purpose f o rh i s continued  compassion—rather  egocentric  the mediaeval  t h e modern q u e s t e r  Human l o v e — e i t h e r l o v e  t o humanity,  the quest  i n God and a f f i l i a t i o n  separation  universal  or  Unlike  that  a n d who i s g u i d e d  code o f behaviour;  institutions,  only  arises.  institution,  from a n x i e t y social,  and u n c e r t a i n t y  to free  and n i h i l i s m ,  o f God, i s a n  by commitment  hope  t o anothcer  t o transcend  himself  or  the  from the  to positive  a c t i o n and  14 The  questing  presented  Styron's  from  religious  upbringing,  spiritual  him  to paint.  town, into  school  pedantic,  survive,  l , x  excessive ceptions  ^  world  conscious  with  i s exiled  of Pianosa,  o f s o u l by  o f "a r e a l  failure  a n d h i s own  a  of the w i l l  to  above h i s  critical.preconForce  o f war on t h e remote  a l i e n a t e d by h i s h y s t e r i c a l  The c h i l d r e n i n L o r d ? o f  on a p u r e l y n a r r a t i v e l e v e l their  escaping  insignificant  Yossarian, an A i r  and s p i r i t u a l l y  Mexican  Darley,  i nAlexandria, passive,  and a n n i h i l a t i o n .  from  free  i n an obscure  of the a l c o h o l i c .  self  a  alcohol,  that w i l l  Consul,  by t h e e x i g e n c i e s  the  of interpretation, are  homeland and c u t o f f from a l l t h e  and assurance  physical isolation  noted  through  with  i s i n m u c h t h e same c o n d i t i o n .  of the novelist's a r t .  removed  of h i s strict  t o w r i t e , but cannot r i s e  accustomed.authority The  to find,  as B r i t i s h  teacher  tries  fear o f death  far  seeks  exiled i n  States and  and desperately a f f l i c t e d  t o deaden h i s anguish  concern  bombadier,  Flies,  and t r a d i t i o n s  Lowry's Consul  the illusionary  island  a l i e n a t i o n and p h y s i c a l  repose and " s e l f l e s s n e s s "  he s t r i v e s  British and  the beliefs  Englishman l i v i n g  a r e usually-  Cass K i n s o l v l n g , v o l u n t a r i l y  o f h i s own e v i l ,  the  An  novels  f r o m h i s home i n t h e S o u t h e r n U n i t e d  alienated  sense  o f these  i n a state of spiritual  isolation. Europe  characters  o f t h e "grown-up"  i n a foreign land  i s more a n a r t i s t i c  than  a thematic  world.  that i s frequently necessity.  I t  15 emphasizes concretely and  allows  this  spiritual  f o r the b i z a r r e and a n t i - s o c i a l  state  prepares  the heroes'  o f mind  frequently  f o r the sense  manifests  of return  community, which i s o f t e n  loneliness actions  itself.  t o humanity,  i n which  I t also  or to the  i m p l i e d a t the end o f a  successful  quest. The an  spiritual  uncharted  journey  course  of the quester,  lengthened and complicated .Perplexed  yet  afraid  for  a time,  The  Absurd Novels,  follow  f r o m a c o n d i t i o n he d o e s n o t u n d e r s t a n d  t o a d e s t i n a t i o n he c a n n o t f o r e s e e ,  turnings.  who m u s t  b y many  will  i n e v i t a b l y be  t w i s t i n g s and wrong-  and oppressed by d e s p a i r  i n this mental state stumble along like  and  anxiety,  of taking action;  he may,  the dark  side  paths  of escape.  the Twentieth Century, are w e l l 17  supplied escape any  with  from  " f u g i t i v e s from  themselves and t h e i r  one o r s e v e r a l  t o m o d e r n man, obsessive  self-hood,"  ' who t r y t o  insecurity.  T h e y may u s e  o f t h e numerous escape methods a v a i l a b l e  such as: drugs,  work o r e x c e s s i v e  sex, alcohol,  hedonism,  i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m , masochism, l Pi  sadism,  submission  Even i n t h i s difficult work. this  conformity  l i m i t e d selection of novels,  t o observe most o f these  Many o f t h e s u b s i d i a r y stagej  painful along  to authority,  search  routes  i ti snot  escape mechanisms a t  characters  and even the questing  or asceticism.  never pass  protagonists,  i n their  f o r t h e r i g h t way, a r e t e m p o r a r i l y  o f escape  that  lead  them s t i l l  beyond  deeper  diverted into  16 a l i e n a t i o n and quester  negation.  i s a matter  awareness" and him  of  trial  Penetration and  for  the  the  self  of  and  the  o r any  him  other  creative  knight.  hide  under the  This  difficulty  pressures  of a  p e r s o n a l i t i e s and unrestrained  or  of  the  conformity,  threat to  n o v e l i s t s are masks, and  of  the  a l l concerned,  role-playing.  On  mask a p p e a r s among G o l d i n g ' s begin so  that  that On  painting their t h e y may  t h e y may  hide  up  their  on  p u p p e t s who  of  have no  which  guilt  has  long  accentuated  products  to breed  the  conformity  and to  and  of  a very  of without  flourish.  mass-bred  with  disguises,  primitive level,  c h i l d r e n , when t h e bodies with  the  "hunters"  coloured  pig unnoticed,  and  clay also  self-consciousness.  i t appears i n H e l l e r ' s  o f f i c e r s as  significant  by  self-knowledge,,these some e x t e n t ,  the  been  needs,  the  i n s e c u r i t y and  senior A i r Force  in  that manufactures  a much more s o p h i s t i c a t e d l e v e l ,  portrayal  knowing  of  i d e a l o g l e s cannot  task  of  up  f a c e s and  steal  sense  fig-leaf,  'fig-leaf  self-identity  universe  vague  individual  never-ending  is infinitely  which a u t h o r i t a r i a n p o l i t i c a l Aware  direct  the  difficulty  in a  a t t i t u d e s t o use  materialism,  obscure  is a  mythical  civilization  "lucid  life.  The  individual,  the  through love  that  i n s e c u r i t y , f e a r , and  to  of  error until  illusions  modern q u e s t i n g  recognized. the  and  m a n ' s a s s o c i a t i o n s w i t h men  man's b a s i c drive  normal progress  commitment t o humanity  toward responsible  self  The  identity  mere u n i f o r m s , beyond  that  con-  as  17 ferred  by  their  u s e s masks and emphasize and  the  or  the  with  error,  with a  hides  hatpin  the  hollowness  the  Justine  replies  k n o w who  that  girl  one  and  I was." ^  To  have  The  1  throughout the the  To  possible reality  d i d not  With Styron  films  alities that  and  film-making  merely  man  the  latter  and  the  life  wears a  by  these i s the  acting a "Then I  mask com-  I •  part," should  is a  Durrell  and as  only  almost  mask one  Lowry,  facet  the  two  novels,  use  the individual  the  o f masks has  s e r i e s of  d i s g u i s e and  fictions,  acts a  part.  of  mask  i t represents which the  as  hides;  p o r t r a y a l of movie  emphasize what the  f o r many p e o p l e ,  which every  partially,  than s o c i a l ,  In  hopelessly  Nessim's wearied-  s e l f - d e l u s i o n s behind  from h i m s e l f .  self  Whereas the  personality at a  to  of  i s u s e d by  only  hides  onej  hide  some o f  insight:  the m i r r o r r e v e a l s , but  of a l c o h o l i c  loved  falls  t o k e e p on  mask d e v i c e .  becomes more p e r s o n a l  or  mirror, which appears u b i q u i t -  Quartet,  time.  individual  masks,  that  man  to  another dies, quite  w i t h unaccustomed  i n v e r s i o n of  wall  Quartet,  the  l o v e r surrounds the  emptiness w i t h i n . we  of  metaphorical  in his brain.  only  " I f only  an  the  completely  noseless  plaint,  ously  be  which the  so  with a  characters,  not  and  a c t u a l , a l l - e n v e l o p i n g "dominoes"  love  that  i n the A l e x a n d r i a  r o l e - p l a y i n g extensively i n order  T h e s e may  individuality in  Durrell,  artificiality  society.  illusions,  rank.  references personimplied: in  18 Because of  of the great  illusions,  honest the  f a c i n g up t o s e l f  questers,  death, the  and r e a l i t y ,  of himself  the island,  life,  civilization  consciousness  creative  living.  Consul's  dying  suggests  may b e g i v e n  into  positive  self-awareness)  sets  the oppressed  off i na  i n Spain.  happiness  and  from l i v i n g  has been l i b e r a t e d  according  to  carry  a c t i o n and  of  positive Cass i s working satisfaction  from h i s s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n and  has faced  again to  up t o h i s p a r a l y z i n g a n x i e t y the joy ofh i s  life.  hero's metamorphosis from  impotent one, t o t h e " r e b e l , " ations  direction  to his capabilities.  i s f r e e t o a c t and t o experience  The  i n a l l  o f a b s t r a c t t h e o r i e s and i s beginning  Yossarian  liberation  "the darkness of  protagonists  and  write.  Ralph  Lowry's Hugh ( t h e r e i n c a r n a t i o n o f t h e  to relieve  tyranny  confronts  Golding's  purpose and  The o t h e r absurd  of reality  meets  that future a c t i o n i n the  p a i n t i n g , a n d a c h i e v i n g some m e a s u r e  the  b y some o f  h i s e n d he  life.  world  that  Lowry's Consul  and  Darley  implying  H i s confrontation of "the beast"  h i s new a w a r e n e s s .  attempt  and h i s past  i na  the hero's  achieved  b u t he h a s r e c o g n i z e d  including himself,  "grown-up"  this  only  may b e l a t e r a t t a i n e d .  man's h e a r t . " ^ 0 men,  end w i t h  b u t i n the few seconds preceding  reality  leaves  of knowing,  a s u c c e s s f u l q u e s t may  responsible and purposeful  the  by  difficulty  of reality  the "stranger,"  t h e o n e who f a c e s  and r e s o l v e s t o l i v e  the: l o s t ,  the l i m i t -  i n defiance  o f them,  19 is  usually  of  death  Darley  motivated  and  his life  i n the  Cass,  Francesca, motivated he  has  and  through  h i s l o v e of the  become e n s l a v e d  with  the  soul  that follow arises  America, his  take  guilt,  on  and  into  of death,  the  live  p e r s o n a l exposure  the  his  pre-  ultimately  opeasant  is  of e v i l  by  which His  immediate c o n f r o n t a t i o n  and  out  of  the  convulsions  t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o go  responsibility to the  to  girl,  father,  chains  by  t o the d i a b o l i s t Mason F l a g g .  murder of F l a g g b r i n g s him finality  i n which,  i s f r e e d t o a c t and  l o o s e from  love.  r i s e s above  compassion f o r her dying  to break  through  underwater scene,  f o r l o v e o f C l e a , he  o c c u p a t i o n w i t h s e l f and create.  his recognition  h i s c o m m i t m e n t t o human l i f e  faces death  risking  o r a c c o m p a n i e d by  best  home  of h i s family,  of h i s a b i l i t y .  to imminent death,  w h e n he  of  to  and  of  Ralph*s  realizes  the  21 implications forces the of  stick  h i s r e c o g n i t i o n of  t e a r s he  "rebel,"  rises again, l o v e and The  speaking, the absurd  "the  knowledge  of  ends,"  i n a l l men;  innocence" friend  hero, by  like  the  god  but  are a l s o tears  called  i n the metamorphosis from  Piggy." "stranger"  of myth, d i e s  h i s commitment t o l i f e  and  through  death.  is difficult and  of  wise  indeterminate nature  individually  at both  beast"  end  true,  regenerated  self-knowledge only  "sharpened  sheds f o r "the  compassion f o r "the  Figuratively to  of the  of  the quest,  t o a t t a i n and  conditionally  from  i n which  values life,  can  even arise  suggests  20 artistic shared t o be  by  thematic.: consequences  this  group of novels.  the l a r g e dimensions  formless the  and  structure noted  Flies  and  t h a t a p p e a r t o "be  A logical  superficially  i n most o f these  i s , of course, an exception. o f t h e theme c o m p r e s s e s  the  complexities of experience.  provoke l i m i t l e s s they  imply  the endless  human q u e s t semblance  of  of formlessness  has  careful  (Alexandria) unity  and  and  order  of r e a l i t y .  o f theme  Heller's  the  frenzied  presented  So numerous a n d that only a  (Truth bears  events  disorder portrayed.  suggests  impose  few  as  of the  on  The  The  i s , however,  on  each the  c a n be of  chaos the  mentioned.  place  many f a c e s . )  gives  interpretations  psychological chronology, and  images,  artistic  the chaotic  t h e i r a e s t h e t i c agreement  of the a r t i s t  thus  diverse are  diverse  imposition of a  of symbolic  novelists  description  order and u n i t y  t o h i s m u l t i p l e and  his repetition  these  images  i n most o f the n o v e l s  employed  images  uncertainties  p r e s e r v a t i o n of the u n i t y  and  that  symbolic These  of  allegorical  purpose i n e x i s t e n c e .  strict  presented.  techniques  Durrell's  the  as close observation reveals that  imposed a  experience  unifying  and  Lord  o n many l e v e l s ;  paradoxes and  f o r meaning  only apparent; novelist  Interpretations  works.  into  seems  s p r a w l i n g and  Here,  presentation infinite  consequence  regulate  discipline  experience with  Camus'  rebel.  The r e a l i s t a r t i s t a n d t h e f o r m a l a r t i s t t r y t o f i n d u n i t y where i t does n o t e x i s t , i n r e a l i t y in i t s crudest state, or i n Imaginative creation  21 which wants t o a b o l i s h a l l r e a l i t y . On t h e contrary, u n i t y i n a r tappears a t the l i m i t of the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n t h a t t h e a r t i s t imposes on reality. I t cannot dispense with e i t h e r . 3 5 2  This  obvious  interest  i nartistic  form i s demonstrated  in  the Alexandria Quartet,  is  o u t l i n e d i n t h e o b s e r v a t i o n s and posthumous notes  novelist-character,  i n which an a e s t h e t i c of the novel  Pursewarden.  seen a t work i n t h e Q u a r t e t .  of the  T h i s a e s t h e t i c c a n be  Ironically,  the c r i t i c a l  addenda i n P r e f a c e s and Notes parody t h e r i g i d i t y and pseudolntellectualism  of formalistic creation. ^  One i n e v i t a b l e quest do  of the undefined i n these  n o t 'end' i n t h e f i n i t e sense.  itely. the  that the absurd  Even death  "rock"  i s still  h i s search  "climb  i sthe  struggle w i l l continue  there and absurd  t o do?"  r e b e l s a r e born.  The r e p e t i t i o n  comment i n K i n g L e a r . 2  i s not the f i n i s h  E r i c h Fromm,  indefin-  does n o t end t h e s t r i v i n g a s l o n g a s  o f the n o v e l s , ^ suggests  development i n l i f e  life  I n each there  They  must  according  "Ripeness  i s a l l , "  of the  of a process  t o e a c h man's u n i q u e  i n Man f o r H i m s e l f ,  always,  of variations  that the goal  but the beginning  Man,  Ralph,  2  three  of the  novels.  t h e mountain" a g a i n , 5 f o r , a s Simon asked  of Edgar's c r y p t i c  quest  nature  f o r purpose and meaning i n l i f e ,  "What e l s e i s t h e r e  in  result  i s t h e 'open e n d ' o b s e r v e d  implication  in  2  of  potential.  d e s c r i b e s man's g o a l i n  i n m u c h t h e same w a y : i f he f a c e s t h e t r u t h about himself and h i s fate w i t h o u t p a n i c , he w i l l r e c o g n i z e t h a t t h e r e  22 i s no m e a n i n g t o l i f e e x c e p t t h e m e a n i n g a man g i v e s h i s l i f e by u n f o l d i n g o f h i s p o w e r s , by l i v i n g p r o d u c t i v e l y . Only constant v i g i l a n c e , a c t i v i t y , and e f f o r t can keep him from f a i l i n g i n t h e one t a s k t h a t m a t t e r s - t h e f u l l d e v e l o p m e n t o f h i s powers w i t h i n t h e l i m i t a t i o n s s e t by t h e laws of h i s existence. ' A of  the  and  f u r t h e r consequence of  the  spiritual  n o t i c e a b l e absence  noble  quest  actions or  i s the  'heroic  complexity  characters  1  and  uncertainty of  i n these  great  novels.  The i n d i v i d u a l h a s t h e f r e e d o m t o a c t , b u t he m u s t act i n a h i g h l y complex and d i f f i c u l t w o r l d w i t h l i t t l e assurance about the value or consequence o f h i s a c t i o n ; ' T h a t he m u s t a c t w h e n he k n o w s s o l i t t l e i s dreadful; t h a t he m u s t a c t w h e n t h e e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n a r e so t r i v i a l , y e t the a c t i o n i t s e l f so m e a n i n g f u l , i s a b s u r d . The heroism of a f r e e l y a c t i n g i n d i v i d u a l i s s e v e r e l y l i m i t e d once the dread and the a b s u r d i t y of the situation are c l e a r . 2  Children;  drunks,  journalist do  not  an  unsuccessful  i n cowboy c l o t h e s , a n  comprise an  impressive  stature,  i n the  upon the  power-lusters  society. * 5  reserved only  one',  f o r noble Darley's Michel  1  although  victim  of  high  and  Neither  teacher,  deeds.-  the  Of  these  ironically  inauthentic conformists  those  dies i n spite  the  of Clea,  of Cass  best  the  1  admiration  i s  efforts;  innocent tradition,  f o r w h i c h he  truly  heroic,  really  superhuman  classical  crime  i s there anything  of  actions closest to  the murderer of an  of  ex-  Heroic  estate, i s conferred  underwater rescue  guilty  an  h y s t e r i c a l airman:  their actions incite  v e n g e a n c e on  i s not  school  r o s t e r of heroes.  i s h e r o i c a c t i o n i n the  Mason F l a g g killed.-  sense  N e i t h e r do  successful. and,  0  heroic  is  i n the  final  23 accomplishments  of the heroes _merely  each  free  has  broken  Since  into  conscious l i v i n g  these novels portray a  proceeds ; w i t h o u t the guide  the  of v a l u e and  t h e y do  equiovocal  being essentially his  involvement  may  they  be.'  uncertain  Camus' v i e w  life  which  t h e s e a u t h o r s sense.  The  immoral  or evil  standards;  Christian  in  h i s words,  which sive  her stupidity,  we  has  atonement."  must a l l pass,"30  one  of A l e x a n d r i a n s e x u a l i t y , h e r e g o c e n t r i c i t y and  not f o r adultery."  Justine,  and  Clea arises  and D a r l e y i s"enriched"  d e s p i t e the f a c t  destroyed her/  In a l l  by  Puritannical  Justine,  through  of the most i s castigated  her lust  fulfilled  judged  protests against  "a t i r e s o m e o l d s e x u a l t u r n s t i l e  exponents  1  throughout  from  aggresfor  f o r power, the  that his faithlessness  but  affair  his liaison  these v a r i a t i o n s  or  aberration  according to r i g i d  Pursewarden  paradox  right  i n Alexandria i s not  ideas of s i n , g u i l t  presumably  with Amerili  group  in itself,  i n fact,  the  s e x u a l p r o m i s c u i t y and  a  Consequently,  1  a b s o l u t e l y wrongs  Never-  through  expresses the moral  considered either absolutely  i n d u l g e d i n -by'the a m o r a l  require  as  innocent, yet inescapably g u i l t y 2  the  and  o f man  actions are rarely  as  that  standards of m o r a l i t y .  i n history', ^  contemporary  itself,  i m p l y v a l u e judgments,  though"they  quest  absolute values, to  in life  suspension of t r a d i t i o n a l  theless,  in  purpose  that  i n the present.  spiritual  of any  8  discovery  the i m p l i c a t i o n  T  to  with Melissa  on t h e theme  of  24 modern l o v e ,  there i s an amoral  means o f g r o w i n g i  but, a t the  justification  same t i m e ,  value  judgment a g a i n s t n a r c i s s i s t i c  which  d e s t r o y s w h i l e i t seeks  these novels  imply  to  the l i m i t  a t which  on  the r i g h t s and  they is  permitted,"3''-  for  individual  course,  as  he  responsibility  a  t h a t between duty and  limits  it,  for action.  conflict  i s no  i n the  in  fact  that  time  of  these  the hero's conflicts  t h a t Camus' a b s u r d p o s e d by The the that  respect,  The  s u g g e s t i o n of an  problem,  regarding  represent  lack  between duty  case,  and  resolved  i n Catch-22. of the 1  is virtually  just  stance,  moral suicide  over  the k i n d of moral  can never  of r e s o l u t i o n  equivocal value  than  Critics  Pursewarden s  because of the  standards  of  conflicting  d e s e r t i o n . - ^ 3 Ft'l-seemsc e^:MeaiJ.»  rebel,  inevitable  implication  first  t h a t t h e war  his rebellious  traditional  impinge  the n e c e s s i t y  more d e c i s i v e l y  personal liberty  issues presented:  the  liberty  by  have o b j e c t e d t o what they c o n s i d e r e v a s i o n s  the  up  limits.  The  i n the Quartet  the l a t t e r ,  speaking,  world  In this  certain evasiveness  i s noticeable."  friendship  commitment,  a t Camus' c o n c l u s i o n t h a t " e v e r y t h i n g  i s to define these  loyalties  of an amoral  a  implied  Generally  p e r s o n a l a m o r a l i t y and  limited,  Consequently,  i s an  sex w i t h o u t  w e l l - b e i n g of others."  seem t o a r r i v e  there  to create.*  the acceptance  of sex as  at however, issue  contradictions settle absolutely.  is also  evident  in  judgment upon a c t i o n s  of m o r a l i t y would  condemn.'  The  t h a t such a c t i o n s — C a s s ' murder of Mason F l a g g ,  25 Nesslm's conspiracy relationships culpable,  against  i n Under the Volcano—-are both  clearly  reflects  moral u n c e r t a i n t y of an policeman-friend, problem of  the B r i t i s h , and  the  age  Luigi,  authors'  without  the  adulterous  justified  perception  absolute  of  and the  values,  Cass  r o m a n t i c a l l y g e n e r a l i z e s upon  1  the  justice: I t h i n k t r u e j u s t i c e m u s t a l w a y s somehow l i v e i n t h e h e a r t , l o c k e d a w a y from, p o l i t i c s a n d g o v e r n m e n t a n d e v e n t h e law«'*34  But  Camus' s t a t e m e n t o f  the  rebel's struggle  the  ceaseless  to find  and  f a r more r e a l i s t i c a l l y e x p r e s s e s prevails  i n these  conflict  maintain  inherent  personal  in  values,  the moral a t t i t u d e  that  novels:  i f he c o u l d e s t a b l i s h t h e r e i g n , by h i s own decree, of s i n c e r i t y , innocence, and justice, he w o u l d be God H i m s e l f . . . .Thus t h e r e b e l c a n n e v e r f i n d p e a c e s .'..The v a l u e t h a t supports him i s n e v e r g i v e n t o him once and f o r a l l . he m u s t f i g h t t o u p h o l d i t , u n c e a s i n g l y . 3 5 In  shorty  l i k e Camus, t h e s e  standards to  life  and  The obviates these  o f m o r a l i t y and unfolds  failure the  novels;  justice;  to a r r i v e at absolute o f human g u i l t . * '  i t becomes a  truth  "relative"  "that  comes  In  this  values  i n no  way  Always present  powerful  destructive force  respect,  Frederick Karl  Styron  and  on  s i m i l a r i t y b e t w e e n Camus a n d  the  at  at  i n men."^  problem  Lowry.-  novelists arrive  Goldingj  in  In with  comments  their  mutual awareness that g u i l t i s g r e a t e r i n a world that d o e s n o t p u n i s h t r a n s g r e s s i o n t h a n i n one that severely penalizes.3?  His  comment i s a p p l i c a b l e t o m o s t n o v e l i s t s o f t h i s  Thus g u i l t , to  be r e c k o n e d w i t h  the by  remorse, and the need  religious confession,  who  his guilt  E v e n when he c a n e x p i a t e  to the island,  finally own  arrive  assumption of i n d i v i d u a l  clearly  does i n t a k i n g  with  1  faces h i s Although  !  f o r his actions.  and r e c o g n i z i n g  inescapably  involved i n evil,  his  paralyzing^ i n t r o s p e c t i v e brooding  t h a t a l l men  the quester  transforms  into a positive force  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and  compassion. ' 1  The q u e s t upon w h i c h t h e A b s u r d N o v e l f o c u s s e s s o l i t a r y and s p i r i t u a l ; of  the tragic  unanimously  world  Since  they  imply  The  novels  o f man's i n n a t e  fallibility  u n c e r t a i n t y and i n s a t i a b l e  thirst for  knowledge».  shams a n d c r u s h i n g  i s  the implications  p r e s e n t e d ,uur g e n t .  project a vision  of h i s isolation*, absolute  i t i s a l s o , from  vision  must  stated, i ti s implied i n h i s •  are  him t o a c t with  it.  a l l monstrously  pressures  little  of  Melissa s  attempts t o d o — h e  responsibility  I n f a c i n g u p t o h i s own g u i l t  quester  through p o s i t i v e acts  and determines t o l i v e  condition i s not always  motivating  h i s soul  a t a s t a t e i n w h i c h he c o n s c i o u s l y  culpability  this  as Yossarian  Unlike  the absurd  i n ways l e s s  c o m p a s s i o n — a s Hugh does, a s D a r l e y child  knight;'  c o u l d make p e a c e w i t h  a b s o l u t i o n and penance;  m u s t come t o t e r m s w i t h defined.'  f o r e x p i a t i o n a r e elements  by t h e modern q u e s t i n g  quester,  group.'  accentuated  of a materialistic  hope o f a n y f o r e s e e a b l e  and  by the civilization social  change; a n d e v e n l e s s hope o f a n y imminent D i v i n e r e v e l a t i o n  27 that w i l l  order  possibility individual  of  this  chaos,  consciousness^  and  quest  living  and  to  nature,  faith,  to e x t e r n a l i z e the  within ties  the  evil this  enjoyable ^ 1  which  i t i s given By  rather  For and  For  1  the of  s t i l l  way  the  was  goal  these  them i t i s  called  raging,  can  be  God;  no  "God"  and  an  and  is carried  while  i s nothing  uncertain-  goal  was  for  these  more  certain  a t t i t u d e of  made b e a r a b l e  and  defiant  even  Individual responsibility,  by  1  reader with; fact,"39  e m o t i o n a l and  lead  waged amid a l l the  self-honesty  purpose.  than r e c i t a l s an  the  sense of  confronting  recreate  quest—its individual  C h r i s t i a n Humanists the  which existence a  life  b a t t l e b e t w e e n human p o t e n t i a l s  "humanists;"  and  between  i n days of u n i v e r s a l l y accepted  same b a t t l e ,  attainment of  c o u r a g e , by  struggle  i n terms of a d v e r s a r i e s  Eternal Life;  than the  the  i n d i v i d u a l mind and  contemporary  said,  Its urgency—naturally  i t was  of disbelief.*'  clear,  i t i s the  and  p o s s i b l e , as  Now  the  3  longer  "Devil"?  only  Other; there i s only oneself f a c i n g problem of one's s e l f - d i s c o v e r y  stress interior realityi  f o r good and  the  found w i t h i n  Pursewarden  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of  spiritual  novelists  As  i s urgent;  death.  These  suggest that  c r e a t i v e l i v i n g m u s t be  T h e r e i s no f o r e v e r the Thus the  they  "intensities  these a r t i s t s  spiritual  experience  of f e e l i n g  seek and  to to  28 evoke an  emotional response rather  of  rules;*  as  means o f  Novel,  The  communicating the  is illustrated  failure  of  quester  from  mind  ineffectiveness  that  the  the  errors  be  is a  from of  C o n s u l be  the  by  1  advice  mystify  the  fate  l i b e r a t e them from  is a  As  and  the  the  extent  reflect  of•the  external  the  Absurd  r o u t i n e : *.:"  struggling  the  agonies  of  i m p o s s i b i l i t y of  Cass can his  own  a  boyhood  no  more  evil,  by  than  his  and  tell  the  is he  is  that  the  failure  significance: ignores,  his  crab-  only  truth  I n Simon's case,  society  can  f r i e n d or  not  the  alcoholic  boys unheeded, but  universal  and  c h e s t n u t s and  Yossarian;  fear.  t a k e s on  props of  his  comes t o  his or  i t s prophets and v i s i o n a r i e s ; '  a t t e n t i o n . i s centered  conflicts  of  horse  symbolic reminder that  worse, d e s t r o y s ,  theme.'  of  frightened  h o r r i b l y m u r d e r e d . w h e n he  exemplar  or  The  t o abandon the  Orr's r i d d l e s of  to  the  experience  b l i n d i n g sense  the  f r u s t r a t e and  Simon s advice  the  save  exhortation,  the  humanist-Fascist policeman;  induced  half-brother.'  of  to  the  set  Pursewarden senses between h i m s e l f  the  self-deceptions,  will  n o v e l s by  commonly i l l u s t r a t e d  exhortations  apples  the  each quest n e c e s s i t a t e s .  dissuaded  the  of  d i d a c t i c i s m and  u r g e n t message of  exemplar f i g u r e  communication that Darley  within  of  than to d i c t a t e a  questing  on  man,  the  inner  portrayal  states  of  and  physical  w o r l d assumes i t s r e a l s i g n i f i c a n c e  to which  these externals  protagonist's  state  either influence  of mind.  Even i n Set  action in or This  29 House on F i r e , thriller, is  which has a l l the elements of a  the progression  o f secondary  importance  of events leading  i n the consciousness  other  hand, p o r t r a y a l o f t h e e x t e r n a l world  interior  sinister, are of  stated  o f t h e m u r d e r e r , Cass;'  of character  proOn t h e  1  often  The b i z a r r e and w i l d l y  impossibilities  t o t h e murder  t o the s p i r i t u a l c r i s i s  voked  an  suspense-  reflects  comic, y e t i n Catch-22  and incident  i m p o r t a n t p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y , a s they: s u g g e s t t h e p r e s e n c e hysterial  other  fear  i n t h e mind  of the protagonist.  words," a s i s f r e q u e n t l y  t h e case  1  real  drama p r e s e n t e d  i s t h e one t a k i n g  3  In  i n these novels; the place  i na  troubled  mind.' The  means b y w h i c h t h e n o v e l i s t s a c h i e v e  subjectivity absurdist point  produce e f f e c t s p a r t i c u l a r l y  view  of view  of  reality  is  exploited  o f human e x p e r i e n c e d  i sa technique t o the point  the of  characters  frequently  by various  objective novel, them f a k e d ) ,  source  enlarges  employed.  of  prospect This  device  i n the Alexandria  and i n c i d e n t s a r e i n t e r p r e t e d by another,  sources:  Mountolive,  through  the great  Clea.  notebooks,  and corrects another,  A s one v i e w the point  insights  "interlinear,*' diaries  l e t t e r s , work-books, and that  of information,  tothe  The m a n i p u l a t i o n  of virtuosity  member o f t h e g r o u p a f t e r  contributed  relevant  t o express a multiple and diverse  Q u a r t e t , where one  the desired  (some  unfailing  successively i s gradually  made  30 that,  as the absurd  man r e c o g n i z e s , a b s o l u t e  n e v e r be a s c e r t a i n e d . plicity  and d i v e r s i t y  A  similar  other novels:  subjective Styron's  completely  of the multi-  interpretations  w i t h Ralph's  of objective and  o f t h e same e v e n t , officer's,  terrifying  as i n  "Fun a n d games,  emotional  experience;  by t h e o p p o s i t i o n o f r a t i o n a l and i r r a t i o n a l  of view, The  points  a s In'-.-Under t h e V o l c a n o . attempt  t o place  the reader  mind u s u a l l y i n v o l v e s a r e l a x i n g structure,  i n the protagonist's  of the logical  plot  a n d a n emphasis on p s y c h o l o g i c a l r a t h e r  chronological  time."  1  Consequently,  n o t as they  they  t o t h e mind; whether c o n s c i o u s l y w i l l e d  occur  past, as i n Styron  arily  into  strict an  logical  absurdity events past  time  out of  freedom from besides  a  creating  of the d i s c o n t i n u i t y and d i s o r d e r of the w i t h i n t h e mind,  reflects the  a n d l a c k o f u n i t y t h a t t h e man c o n s c i o u s  faces  exist  This  and c h r o n o l o g i c a l order,  f l o w o f thought  irrationality  but as  or springing involunt-  t h e mind, a s i n H e l l e r .  impression  actual  happen i n space and time,  or Durrell,  than  n a r r a t i v e events a r e  presented,  the  of  i s communicated i n  by the j u x t a p o s i t i o n  novel, and i n the naval  contrasted and  implication  o f knowledge and the d i f f i c u l t y  knowing oneself o r another the  truth can  i n human l i f e . ;  only as they  Furthermore,  a r e re-enacted  i s brought t o the present.  on a p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r e s e n t  since  of  past  i n the mind,  This  concentration  i s relevant t o the absurd  man's  31 emphasis on The  life  i n the  present  evidence  i n these novels,  conscious  emotions that  These m a n i f e s t a t i o n s  the  the  only  subjective approach a l s o leads  symbols, dreams, v i s i o n s and  double  as  purpose.  of  only  expressed  subconscious r e a l i t y  irrational  to  nature  the  of  Thus, p a r a d o x i c a l l y , they both create of a b s u r d i t y  Finally, the  author as  experience Needless  own  a  and to  Nevertheless, individual  the  by  value  use  judgment and  the  t u r m o i l and  he  heightens  authenticity of  the  is s t i l l  the to  of  that  the  discipline  identification.-  very  busy behind  the  reader  instead  implies  of  By  thus  recreating  of d e s c r i b i n g i t , immediacy  e s t a b l i s h e s the  preservation  of a  comic or a t  l e a s t an  and  sincerity  final affirmation.  The  the  into direct  protest, gives  s t r u g g l e , and  the  final affirmation.'  experience.  of  removes  protagonist's  objective presentation  strife,  intensity the  fre-  almost  h i s puppets,  h i s own  i n agony b r i n g s with  techniques  sympathetic  his apparently  contact  of  in  and  i n t r u d i n g between the  his manipulation  soul  a  and  unifying devices  subjective  author  emotional inner  of  reader's  the  1  projected.-  presence  say,  scenes and, his  the  sub-  i n images. '  existence,  novel.  vision  in  impression  they act as  the  structurally  of  serve  quently 1  use  communication of be  They c o n t r i b u t e  b i z a r r e and  the  h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , much  f o r the  can  to  certainty.  ironic  32 spirit  seems a n e c e s s a r y a t t r i b u t e  suggests  a  absurdist  to these novels.  common a w a r e n e s s o f a w a r n i n g  implicit  I t  in  r  the  attitude: W e r e man e v e r t o f o r g e t t h e c o m i c , e v e r t o s e e his p o s i t i o n as c l e a r , s i n g l e , o t h e r than i n c o n g r u o u s , he w o u l d i m m e d i a t e l y f a l l i n t o t h e simple d e f i n i t i o n , the a b s t r a c t i o n beyond a l l c o n c r e t e f a c t w h i c h would l e a d him t o presumption, f a i t h and folly.^l  Of  the novels  the  comic  Apart  c o n s i d e r e d , the  i s barely distinguishable  from  a  children's  few m i l d l y  a d u l t o r d e r and  is  deadly  in  current of  the grim  similarity  irony.  between the " f u n and  whose wisdom the  pretensions as  the  of  I n the  grotesque  such  heroes  This  i s felt  children's  " f u n and  their  devastating a  of the  the  by  the  This  human and  excellent  characteristics;  I n the best  source  traditions  of  the the  the  sustained  of H e l l e r  Hugh and  a  especially  c o n t r i b u t e s t o t h e humour, and  as Y o s s a r i a n , Cass,  novel  adults,  reduction of  burlesque  idea  games" a n d by  o t h e r n o v e l s , a l t h o u g h an  figures  comedy.  the  throughout,  question.  c h a r a c t e r a r e a more i m p o r t a n t  ironic  on  of  Flies.  frequently understated, of  comedy a n d  certain burlesque-clown of  to enforce  the atmosphere  children never  j u s t as  1  sense  of the  based  games" b e i n g e n a c t e d  irony achieves  Durrell.  i s Lord  a  I t i s , nevertheless, undercut  reminders,  destructive  efforts  authority,  serious.  i n which  humerous scenes  rather pathetic  of  strong  o n l y one  array even  Consul  have  pretensions  of sustained, satire,  these  33 pretensions are whether the  unmercifully  comic  intellectual  spirit  reduced.  manifests i t s e l f  w i t of Pursewarden  and  or Heller's  statements and the  ironic  heroic action.  of  fate,  to  t h e company o f ..Sisyphus. By  joy i n the  but  "leaping"  the  Durrell's  literary  What d o e s m a t t e r  refusing  that admit  absurdity  to escape  the  that  a  defiance  these  authors  t h e human .  challenge i t offers  to absolute conclusions;  Camus' g o v e r n i n g c r i t e r i o n  of  cliche'  i s  " l u c i d awareness,"  struggle  p r e s e n t i n g .the t r a g i c  condition, by  a  keen,  s l y parodies of meaningless,  l a u g h t e r suggests a  and  little  i n the  the Consul;  back-woodsy, p r o f a n e humour o f C a s s ; parodies,  -I t matters  these novels  o f the a b s u r d work:  f u l f i l l  "An  absurd  of  satiric  42 work does not protest,  provide a  suggests  t h a t Camus demands a s The  quest  of  absurd  absurd live or  creatively  universal,  them f r o m individual  a  reduc<ti6n<n  the  of  illusions  confrontation with  i n the u n i v e r s e to the  freed  and  absurdity  the b e g i n n i n g of c o n s c i o u s and  Both from  the  spiritual  paralyzing Both  f e a r and find  powerful motivating force,  preoccupation with self 1  the  that progress  condition  s u c c e s s f u l q u e s t e r and  i n the present;'  responsibility/  creative  the course  t h e o n l y h o p e o f m o d e r n man:  rebellion.'  rebel are  element  theme r o u g h l y p a r a l l e l s  Camus o u t l i n e s a s from a l i e n a t i o n  The  5  w i t h i t s consequent  self-deceptions,  life..  reply. "  Both  the  anxiety to  i n love, which  individual  liberates  and  thereby  promotes  find  in this  new  sense  of  34 responsibility, direction  to life,  uncertain, the live  v a l u e s and purpose  although values are only "relative"  and must c o n t i n u a l l y  process  of living."  creatively  that g i v e meaning and  Both  i n the midst  that' i t n e c e s s i t a t e s  and  be l e a r n e d a n d r e v i s e d i n  sense  that  the struggle t o  of absurdity  i:s u n e n d i n g ,  and .  constant awareness of the l i m i t a t i o n s  i m p o s e d b y t h e i n c o n g u i t y o f human e x i s t e n c e . '  F i n a l l y and  significantly,  i s worthwhile.  As two  both  conclude  that  the struggle  a g e n e r a l .survey s u g g e s t s , and c l o s e  novels—Under  the Volcano  and Catch-22—hopes  t h e s e n o v e l s e x p r e s s a welcome s p i r i t affirmation arises, escapism,  n o t from  b u t from a c o l d ,  existence.  Although  courage  attitude a  creations,  despair and  grows o u t o f an  t h a t Camus d e f i n e d a s " a b s u r d i s t , " t h a t he d e f i n e d a s " a b s u r d , "  "Absurd".  o f human  the challengerof honesty,  Inasmuch as t h i s a f f i r m a t i o n  way o f l i f e  termed  and diverse  and defiance t o an e r a of anxiety,  violence.  This  hope o r r o m a n t i c  hard look a t the facts  offer  t o confirm-}  of affirmation.'  illusionary  independent  t h e y a l l , t o some d e g r e e ,  examination of  and inheres i n t h e s e n o v e l s earn ble  FOOTNOTES "^William  Styron,  S e t T h i s House on F i r e  (Toronto:  S i g n e t B o o k s , 1968), p.477. J e a n - P a u l S a r t r e , "An E x p l i c a t i o n o f The S t r a n g e r . " C a m u s . e d . G e r m a i n e B r e e ( E n g l e w o o d C l i f f s , N . J . , 1964), 2  in p.  108.  - ^ A l b e r t Camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s a n d O t h e r ( N e w Y o r k : V i n t a g e B o o k s , 1955), p . 2 4 . ^Sartre,  p.  "An E x p l i c a t i o n o f T h e S t r a n g e r . " i n Camus.  109.  5camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , ^Albert  1956), p . 21.  Essays  Camus, The R e b e l  p. 50.  (New Y o r k :  Vintage  Books,  ? C a m u s , T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , p p . 40-41. 8  Camus, The R e b e l , p. 2 4 .  9lbid.,  p . 304.  0  Ibid.,  p.  284.  1 ]  -Ibid.,  p.  301.  Ibid.,  p.  290.  l  1  1  2  3camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , P r e f a c e , p . v .  ^Ibid.,  p.  5.  ^ J o s e p h J . Waldmeir, "Quest W i t h o u t F a i t h , " i n Recent A m e r i c a n F i c t i o n , e d . J . J . W a l d m e i r ( B o s t o n , 1963), P P . 5 6 - 5 9 . . -^Lawrence  ture  Durrell, Justine  (London:  Faber,  1963)  ,  P.19.  ^ D a v i s Dunbar McElroy, E x i s t e n t i a l i s m and Modern L i t e r a ( N e w Y o r k , 1963) , p . 9 . 1  8  Ibid.,  pp.  •^Lawrence p. 209.  9-10.  D u r r e l l , M o u n t o l i v e (London:  William Golding, Lord of the F l i e s P e n g u i n B o o k s , 1965), p . 192. 2 0  35  Faber,  1965),  (Harmondsworth:  36 2 1  Golding,  2  Ibid.,  2  2  Lord  of  theF i l e s ,  p . 188.  p . 192.  3camus, T h e R e b e l , p . 269.  ^ L e o n E d e l , The Modern P s y c h o l o g i c a l Novel U n i v e r s a l L i b . , 1964), p p . 187-188. 2  2  5Golding,  Lord  o f theF l i e s ,  6 s e t T h i s House o n F i r e , J u s t i n e , p . 111. 2  2  p . 123.  p . 478;  Catch-22.  p. 450;  7Quoted i n E x i s t e n t i a l i s m a n d M o d e r n L i t e r a t u r e , p . 14. James G i n d i n , P o s t w a r B r i t i s h F i c t i o n  1 9 6 3 ) , P. 2 3 5 . 2  (New Y o r k :  (Berkeley,  Calif.,  9camus, T h e R e b e l , p . 285.  3°Lawrence D u r r e l l ,  B a l t h a z a r (London: Faber,  31camus, T h e M y t h o o f S i s y p h u s , p . 5 0 . [ [ Q u o t e d  Dostoevsky's,  The Brothers  1966) p . 9 6 . from  Karamazov.ja;  3 F r e d e r i c k R. K a r l , T h e C o n t e m p o r a r y E n g l i s h N o v e l (New Y o r k , 1965), P P . 5 3 - 5 4 . " Q A c t u a l l y , t h e s u i c i d e i s n o t the i r o n i c deus ex machlna t h a t K a r l l a b e l s i t , since, before committing that f i n a l a c t , Pursewarden had reported the c o n s p i r a c y i na l e t t e r t oM o u n t o l i v e a n d had warned N e s s i m b y t h e s c r a w l e d n o t e o n t h e m i r r o r . What more w o u l d he h a v e d o n e i f h e h a d l i v e d ? Thus, t h e i s s u e had a l r e a d y been evaded before t h e suicided] 2  3 3 j o h n W a i n , "A N e w N o v e l a b o u t O l d T r o u b l e s , " T h e C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y . V : i i ( S u m m e r , 1 9 6 3 ) , 168-173. 3^styron,  S e t T h i s House on F i r e ,  p . 474.  35camus. T h e R e b e l , p . 2 8 5 . 36camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , p . 5 0 . 3?Karl, The Contemporary E n g l i s h Novel,  38Lawrence D u r r e l l , C l e a ( L o n d o n : F a b e r , 39Edel,  The Modern P s y c h o l o g i c a l Novel,  p . 255.  1966), p . 8 6 . p . 173.  37 ^Golding, ^Gindin,  Lord  Flies,  Postwar B r i t i s h  ^ C a m u s , The 2  of the  p.  Fiction,  Myth of Sisyphus,  p.  191. p. 83.  236.  CHAPTER I I Under the Volcano, . Under the Volcano half-pathetic  nightmare  Twentieth Century Unlike  short  man  world hell-bent  of the brink  that a l lthis w i l f u l  necesario."The  of pessimism  descent  in  these  living  struggle  t h e i m p l i c a t i o n o f hope.  statements,  i s necessary,  establishes  pulls  by i m p l y i n g  i s not "only  the novels  through-  "absolutamente  against  death  does  a n d i t s p o s i t i v e c o r o l l a r y , "man,  e v e r y man, m u s t c e a s e l e s s l y strengthen  on s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n .  however,  c e n t r a l theme,  c r y out i n vain,"  half-humorous,  o f an e x - B r i t i s h Consul and the  i t sdrunken p r o t a g o n i s t ,  up w e l l out  i sa frenzied,  that  upward," (112) The c o n v i c t i o n  t h e human s t r u g g l e  f o r creative  endless, and worthwhile,  the a f f i n i t y  implied  clearly  of Under the Volcano  t o absurd  thought. The is  immeasurably  given  clarified  i f some p r e l i m i n a r y  to the autobiographical  Volcano  and t o t h e numerous  inspired letters. is  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the n o v e l and absurd  phantasmagoria" A well  J  established  "a gargantuan  drunk."^  38  "mescal-  throughout  f a c t of primary what  attention i s  of Under the  remarks on t h i s  scattered  t h a t Lowry was, i n l i f e ,  termed  background  thought  one c r i t i c  the author's  significance has a p t l y  His alcoholism,  which  was  39 well  established  by  the time of h i s u n i v e r s i t y  threatened  t o cause  a  stage during  critical  the  scene  first VIII  his expulsion  from Cambridge,  h i s 1936-1938 v i s i t  o f Under t h e V o l c a n o and  version,  a  i s based.  short  that  t h e a u t h o r has  inferno  i n w h i c h he  of t h i s  descended  places h i s drunken  Knowledge of t h i s  element  forty-thousand-word version "not  written  thorough  into  or honest  he n o t i f i e d  clearly  the  alcoholic  of the w r i t i n g  In several  admitting  t h a t h e may  He  discarded  enough."^  letters  of  he  the  the  early  finished  When a  failed  h i s agent  the  Consul.  of the s t o r y ,  i n s i x m o n t h s i n 19^0,  lishers, it,  period-'  to the author's apparent view  f o r absolute honesty.  of  the present Chapter  the s e r i o u s n e s s of h i s u n d e r t a k i n g and  necessity  as  Mexico—  of personal experience lends  the n o v e l as almost a moral duty. stresses  to  and  reached  the b i r t h - p l a c e  on w h i c h  Correspondence  reveals  credibility  story  days  in  1937,  longer version,  to interest  of h i s intention  the  to  have c o n s i d e r e d i t "an  pub-  rewrite  artistic  7 t r i u m p h w h e n i t was  only a  session  to achieve complete  to  stemmed f r o m a  have  integrity rightly  sort  of moral  honesty  in this  p a i n f u l awareness  i n his past l i f e  and  one."' work  of a  His  appears  lack  work, a d e f i c i e n c y  ob-  of forth-  attributed to: Y o u t h , p l u s booze p l u s h y s t e r i c a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s p l u s v a n i t y p l u s s e l f - d e c e p t i o n p l u s no work p l u s more booze.8  40 Confident final had a  t h a t he  had  achieved  this  essential  v e r s i o n of Under the Volcano,  written a  "pioneer work"—"one  he  honesty  considered  in  that  r e a l l y good book  the  he  about  drunk."9 It  i s not  involved with  surprising  i t s interpretation.  humour o f  review,  author  with his creation should  t h a t many r e a d e r s the  t h a t an  he  and  be  so  earnestly  In particular,  critics  the n o v e l .  had  he  almost  Speaking  emotionally  of a  concerned  noted  ruefully  completely favourable  missed French  complained: G o d w h a t a g l o o m y g h o u l i t m a k e s me sound! E s p e c i a l l y w h e n I t h i n k t h a t my a m b i t i o n w a s , much a s t h e f a m e d S u l l i v a n - t o be a h u m o r i s t .  Elsewhere,  he  insisted:  I m e a n t p a r t s o f i t t o be f u n n y , seems t o have r e a l i z e d that,H and  again, advised a  hostile  t h o u g h no  one  critic:  Perhaps i f you would r e a l l y read the book you w o u l d see t h a t q u i t e a l o t o f i t i s i n t e n d e d t o be - a n d i n f a c t is-,p f u n n y , a s i t w e r e a s a t i r e upon myself. Along  w i t h these  satiric indeed  elements goes a  of  the  of  t o what e x t e n t adherence  total effect  doomed, t r a g i c maelstrom  presence  recurrent plea  f o r multiple re-readings  remarkable the  reminders  of  the Consul's  figure  of h e l l  being  does not  the to  of humorous  and  for re-reading, novel.  I t is  this advice lightens  descent.  Perhaps  i n e x o r a b l y sucked wholly disappear,  into but  the the  i t at  41 least and  merges w i t h the humorous, p a t h e t i c  somewhat j a u n t i l y  (26)  to oblivion.  Such a view  the author's p e c u l i a r l y  his  destructive  disease period  drinking.  with almost a  situation, for  he  h i s drunken  Autobiographical recollecting  the globe, felt  i f not  compelled  analysis.  As  also  a  Viewed  distinct an  the  evidence, then, h i s own  result,  he  was  desire  relationship  latter  of a b j e c t remorse quite  behaviour. that  the  i n a l l corners  at least  in  of  sobriety,  alcoholism to rigorous through  the  to the u n d e r l y i n g escapism,  for self-destruction. i n part,  spiritually-stultifying  i n t h i s way,  to  I n the  a b l e t o see  of the a l c o h o l i c  long  re-writing  ironic,  that his novel i s , at least  uncompromising  final  suggests  debauches  toward  d u r i n g the  g a v e way  humorous,  in tranquillity  p r o t e s t a g a i n s t such life.  as  of h i s Irresponsible  p a r a n o i a and  suggests  a  t o s u b j e c t h i s own  self-deceptions self-pity,  of w i l l ,  between f e e l i n g s  misdeeds and  to  fought h i s  serio-comic resignation.  f o r t h r i g h t acceptance  author,  t i m e s he  a t o t h e r t i m e s he  vacillated  seems  ambivalent attitude  t h a t made p o s s i b l e  of Under the Volcano; it  of the Consul  At  w i t h tremendous e f f o r t of sobriety  wilfully  g o i n g h i s " w i b b e r l e e - w o b b e r l e e WAiLK"  reflect own  figure,  Under the Volcano  t o Camus' a b s u r d  awareness of r e a l i t y ,  and  his  retreat exhibits  thought,  which  revolt  It  from a demands  42 against a l l that conspires t o lessen any man's c a p a c i t y f o r f u n c t i o n i n g w i t h t h e g r e a t e s t chance o f happiness w i t h i n these human limitations. The enemies... a r e a l l t h e f o r c e s t h a t s t i f l e human b e i n g s . . . w h e t h e r t h e s e f o r c e s be m e n t a l , i n d i v i d u a l , o r i n s t i t u t i o n a l . 3 x  Literature to avoid  of the absurd  facing reality,  the Volcano deals an  with  e r a o f gamesmanship:  deals  t h a t most  reading  appears  ally  reveals  terribly  serious  Consul  uncertainly the  almost  of a drunk.  the twelve  at or participating  ordinary  enough  to satisfy  actually  f a rremoved  step  hour period  Firmin,  encloses  superficially and e x t r a -  the narrative-hungry, of the physical  i n alcoholic isolation with  h a l l u c i n a t i o n s and h i s phantasy s t i l l  he i s activity  h i s "familiars,"  of self.  A t seven  drinking i n a bar a f t e r an  debauch, he i s r e j o i n e d by h i s w i f e ,  who h a d l e f t  to strip  that  although  his  all-night  by step  M e x i c o , w e a v e s h i s way  lives  i n the morning,  gradu-  and sometimes  i n e v e n t s numerous  from most  first  manner,  As Geoffrey  and  o'clock  What a t  of a person i n  ironic,  proceeding  exterior action of the novel,  present  Under  o f a l l games i n  i n the classical  I n Quauhnahuac,  through  fall  a s a humorous,  satire  away t h e p r e t e n s i o n s ex-British  from l i f e .  t o be t h e t r a g i c  itself  dangerous  at least,  Play"  t h e game o f t h e a l c o h o l i c i n h i s  and destructive f l i g h t  portrayed  t h e "Games P e o p l e  a n d , on one l e v e l  evasive  authority,  with  h i m one y e a r b e f o r e ;  Yvonne,  a t seven i n the evening,  43 having  been f a l s e l y  Fascist Military barranca. activity  of the  i n between, h i s c h i e f a g a i n s t any h i a t u s  drinks before, he i s i s o l a t e d  after,  conscious i nthe  and during  b o d i l y from t h e  t h r e e m a i n c h a r a c t e r s , b u t e v e n when p h y s i c a l l y i n  In  he i s u s u a l l y m e n t a l l y  this  isolated  the Consul  assumption  in  the hours  Frequently  by t h e  he i s dead a t t h e b o t t o m  o f "necessary"  t h e i r midst  early  of spying and shot  consists i n ensuring  most events.  mind,  Police,  During  succession  other  accused  life  i n the novel,  removed.  w i t h i n h i s mescal-enshrouded•  p l a y s many p a r t s .  o f masks,  and s p i r i t u a l l y  or false shortly  This  identities,  idea  of the  i sestablished  a f t e r Yvonne r e j o i n s  the Consul  the cantina. S h e w a s w a t c h i n g t h e C o n s u l who s e e m e d l e s s o n the defensive than i n process while s t r a i g h t e n i n g out t h e l e a f l e t s on t h e b a r o f changing m e n t a l l y from the p a r t played f o r Fernando t o the part he w o u l d p l a y f o r h e r . (53)  In  this  game, t h e C o n s u l  performer.'  He p r o j e c t s i m a g e s r a n g i n g  official  and B r i t i s h  betrayed  husband,  the to  proves a seasoned and v e r s a t i l e  g e n t l e m a n , who c a n ' t  subjected  unconventional  genius;  and  reality  from  g e t drunk;  the i n t e l l e c t u a l  D a n t e , Adam, a n d e v e n a t o u c h pathos a r i s e  the dignified the  t o p l o t t i n g and i n t e r f e r e n c e ;  such e s o t e r i c o r mythical  and  from  figures as Dr. o f Prometheus.  the d i s p a r i t y  between  and  philosopher  Faustus, Both  humour  make-believe  as h i s s e l f - d e c e p t i o n s a r e exposed.  44 One is  the most l u d i c r o u s  his belief  flick this he  of  in his British  of h i s dark pose  feels  insecure without  confers. swift  view,  At  times  transition  aplomb.  As  he  he  from  regularly,  and the  view,  dons  when  imagines  the  to dignitary to walk  he  a  i s able,  even f o r p r i v a t e  to effect  leaves the bar  With  i f he  superiority  i s able drunk  delusions  consular dignity.  g l a s s e s , he  for public  of the Consul's  i t  lightning-  with  complete  home w i t h h i s w i f e ,  on t h e i n s t a n t , c o r r e c t , a b r u p t , army and n a v y , c o n s u l a r , the Consul, w i t h scarce a tremor now, f o u n d a p a i r o f d a r k g l a s s e s and p u t them on. (56) Later,  setting  affects  out  on  the admirable  the  trip  public  to Tomalin,  the  Consul  again  figure:  He w a s w a l k i n g m a g n i f i c e n t l y e r e c t , s h o u l d e r s thrown back, chest out: the best t h i n g about i t was h i s d e c e i t f u l a i r o f i n f a l l i b i l i t y , o f the unquestionable. (192) The  humour and  incongruity and  the  case, him  seven and  immediately  drunk a t  i n the morning plagued  enacted  n a t i o n and this  instances l i e i n  image o f  and,  bizarre  totally  preceding:  t h e Red s t i l l  i n the  Cross B a l l  supported  i n the  scenes  superiority  latter  that  by a  bar  blank  case,  shakes.  i s h i s tendency,  One  first left stool, f o r many  the  of d i s o r i e n t a t i o n ,  incapacitating  the  of d i p l o m a t i c correctness  w i t h a worrisome mental  the n i g h t ' s events;  recently  i n such  between the assumed pose  the a l l - n i g h t  at  satire  circumstances  sockless, of  the  halluci-  element  of  i n threatening  45 circumstances, background.  to assert  on  from  h i s drunken  the  h i s face i n the C a l l e  sound  reverie  of the  fellow Britisher, the  Nicaragua,  to sober,  "King's Parade"  who  had  stopped  h i s own  more " E n g l i s h ^  (85)  with  he  his wife,  clothes.  At  drunkenness such  he  (84)  when,  snaps  instantly  attention  voice of  the  to lend assistance. school ties,  uses  i n the f o l l o w i n g  his correct British  w h e n he  i s less  times, the r e s u l t ,  little  scene,  accent as  alone a  apologizes f o r his dusty  o t h e r times however, to dignity  As  "the  v o i c e becoming i n v o l u n t a r i l y a Again,  cover f o r h i s g u i l t  effect,  "British"  c o n v e r s a t i o n t u r n s t o c o l l e g e s and  Consul" found  At  old-school-tie  T h i s happens, w i t h h i l a r i o u s  flat  at  his British,  no  the  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n from  effectively less  accomplished.  ludicrous,  verges  on  the  pathetic. T h e C o n s u l , who h a d w a k e d a m o m e n t o r t w o a g o on t h e p o r c h and remembered e v e r y t h i n g i m m e d i a t e l y , was a l m o s t r u n n i n g . He was a l s o l u r c h i n g . In v a i n he t r i e d t o c h e c k h i m s e l f , p l u n g i n g h i s hands, i n an e x t r a o r d i n a r y attempt a t nonchalance, i n w h i c h he h o p e d m i g h t a p p e a r m o r e t h a n a h i n t of c o n s u l a r majesty, deeper i n t o the sweatsoaked pockets of h i s d r e s s t r o u s e r s . And now, r h e u m a t i s m s d i s c a r d e d , he r e a l l y was r u n n i n g , (130) toward  the b o t t l e  garden.' control s t i l l  of t e q u i l a  D e s p i t e the throughout  suggested  recalling  that  hidden a t the bottom  obvious d e t e r i o r a t i o n  the day,  shreds  of the  the use  the  Consul's  o f h i s c o n s u l a r mask  i n the recurrence of d e s c r i p t i v e image and  of  of the  title  are  words  "the  Consul"  46 instead  of the protagonist's  Another aspect is  of this  the Consul's belief  that  he s i m p l y  suggestion  that  delusion  that  they d i s c u s s  izations.  He r e m e m b e r s w i t h  his  i n the road  bravery  there;"  like  Horrified  the matter  he d e l i v e r s a l o n g  partly to h i s wife,  "fall"  of correct  he d r i n k s  can't g e t drunk.  when he i s s o b e r , himself,  name.  full  a  behaviour  gentleman,  a t h i s wife's  of h i s"salvation"  address,  partly to  of hilarious  pride  rational-  h i s behaviour a f t e r  a s " h i s aplomb, coolness,  he r e m i n d s h i m s e l f  even  that  he w a s n o t t h e p e r s o n t o b e s e e n r e e l i n g a b o u t i n t h e s t r e e t . T r u e , he m i g h t l i e down i n t h e s t r e e t , i fneed be, l i k e a gentleman; b u t he w o u l d not r e e l . (90) He a d d r e s s e s h i s w i f e  with  dramatic  emphasis,  " B u t my l o r d , Y v o n n e , s u r e l y y o u k n o w b y t h i s , , t i m e I c a n ' t g e t d r u n k h o w e v e r m u c h I d r i n k ; (90) reassures than  "foolish",  tapering full  himself  that  and c o o l l y considers  o f f on b e e r — " T h i s  of vitamins"—(90)  drinking  and perhaps  more  the p o s s i b i l i t y  Mexican stuff  i n his.imaginary  behaviour,  his  sockless  not  by p o v e r t y )  presence  i s nothing  serious of  i s partially  some d a y g i v i n g u p  altogether.  Secure correct  h i salcoholism  state  l i t t l e  mantle  of p u b l i c d i g n i t y and  does the Consul  realize  that  (made n e c e s s a r y b y h i s a l c o h o l i c n e u r i t i s ,  i s much more commonly o b s e r v e d  of h i s Chagfordian  t i e , and that  than the  he i s a  notorious  47 "borracho"  among  Only during of  bartenders  the l a s t  visit  and tradespeople to the F a r o l i t o  h i s public decline begin  to sink  i n t h e town.  does an  inkling  home.  Y o u was d r o n k t h r e e t i m e s a d a y . D i o s d a d a s a i d , and h i s l o o k , t h e i n s u l t , t h e i m p l i e d e x t e n t o f h i s d o w n f a l l , p e n e t r a t e d t h e C o n s u l . (34-3) Probably deception  i s the Consul's v i s i o n  philosopher^ sense  t h e most s u s t a i n e d  of i n t e l l e c t u a l  and s p i r i t u a l  erects a comfortable  and  the -real world. refuge  signify an  by r e a l little,  honest view  both  he a v o i d s  from  of himself  he h a s  personal  erudite d i s s e r t a t i o n s , which Attempting  t o escape  or any involvement with  from T o l s t o i  alchemy  t o r a i l w a y t i m e t a b l e s and t r a v e l  i s a repository of an i n f i n i t e  from  reality,  he c l u t c h e s a t t h e  word:  Tortu,  reality,  himself  dis-  printed  information.  between  superiority  possibly threatening  to himself.  anything  inordinate  facts.  o f w h i c h he f i n d s i n t o l e r a b l e ,  brain  as s c h o l a r and  of a b s t r a c t i o n s and unrelated  o r imagined even  self-  uniqueness and  w a l l of "ideas"  In his flight  i n a world  Consequently, cussions  of himself  a d e l u s i o n w h i c h endows h i m w i t h a n  and  taken  and d e s t r u c t i v e  or Latin treatises folders.  on  His  variety of bits  of  the "drinking" u n i v e r s i t y , the  Bishop of Tasmania's mirage,  Cortez'  visit  to the zoo,  the  habits of the scorpion, Guelphs, angels  with  s i x wings,  and  M a y a n n a m e s , t o m e n t i o n o n l y a f e w , a l l come i n t o h i s  48 conversation, nothing a  at a l l .  brilliant,  Salon  that  the  only  on  the  at  issue:  (312)  find  to relate he  this  can't  h i s b r o t h e r and  not  brief  on  calculated  a  frequently  indulges  Yvonne, a  this  word  theme  fact  the  impressive  terms a t own  by  Indian  resume  the  real  damn  befuddled  of  point  business?"  return  to  erudition deteriorates of  personal  resentment  0  are  a  r e c i p i e n t of i n this  of  the  Consul's  rather pseudo-intellec-  the  remark f e e l  s o r t of a t t i t u d e with  o f w h i c h Hugh, a t  pompously recommends t h a t  is  attempting,  d e s t r u c t i v e l y f a c e t i o u s humour,  t o make t h e  the  emerged  i n c i d e n t of  their  reaches  comparative  uttered a  and  vulgar diatribe  of mental b r i l l i a n c e  s n o b b e r y and  in  of  impressed  t h a t has  but  l o n g and  wife  dinner  Developing  the  sometimes  learning  has  most unendearing m a n i f e s t a t i o n s  delusions  He  and  the  "order"  chaotic d i s p l a y of  against  Hugh and  has  people mind  Insulting  tual  he  arrives i n bald  i n t o an  The  at  t h a t he  i t to  gives a  Following another  Tolstoi,  He  that  significant  finally  "Why  d i s p l a y of  a u t h o r i t y of T o l s t o i ,  the,roadside,  h i s t o r y - and  something,  discourse  interference.  unsuccessfully, by  imagines  his learned  to  moral against  calling  pretentious  w h e n he  only  of  shattering climax  Y v o n n e by  religions,  a  His  and  Ofelia,  Hugh and  and  sometimes apropos  they  should  least,  is  both inferior. both conscious.  l e a r n f r o m War  and  49 Peace, before  Hugh p o i n t s out  snidely  remarks that "of  obscure  figure,  with  of clever,  emphasize her when d e e p l y their  and  on  the Garden  letters,  and  alter  of  walking  an  home  e n t e r t a i n s her w i t h  a  humour, a l l i n t e n d e d  he  can't  resist  to  Even  questioning  involving  t o Rousseau and  unkind  t o be  l o v e d and  Moreover, specialized  garden  innuendos  a  knowledge  on  in his  admired  figure  are  Adam interior  for his  exempt  intellectual  calculated d.t.'s  of C a b b a l i s t i c  attempts  his  t o evade  the  extremely  r e g a r d i n g Hugh and  (220)  Implied  Blackstone,  delusions, i s not  h i s e x p o s i t i o n s on  obvious  scene  i n some r e s p e c t s  consequently,  star"  Heloise  his discourse  f a c e t i o u s n e s s and  "horned  etymology, are  and  Even L a r u e l l e ,  and,  His mocking  Venus the wound.  ego,  i n the  of  i t i s frankly admitted  h i s need  genius.  letters  plain-spoken neighbour.  c a t scene,  of Eden,  the  i s evident  to the a l c o h o l i c ' s  friend's  ionism.  dour,  references  stating  challenging  and  the  words i n the  Consul's  to  her  heard  incorrect;  past a f f a i r with Laruelle.  Yvonne been r e a d i n g Abelard? (347)  the Consul's  brilliance  and  year,  and,  subtly cruel  i n the  moved by  Quincey,  monologue  his  in a  same d e s i r e t o i m p r e s s  play  Yvonne has  is  originality:  w i t h Mr. by  but  guilt  Had and The  course"  William Blackstone;  her" f o r ; the. f i r s t time  display  that his reference  from  exhibitYvonne, attempts  and  remorse,  philosophy  personal  50 honesty  by  himself  intellectually  The  r e s o r t i n g to  Consul's  mystical vision  camouflage  In  unposted  the  plays,  he  of  t o be  to  show  opponent.  t o p h i l o s o p h i c a l wisdom  little  more t h a n  and  high-sounding  his secret desire forself-destruction.  letter  speaks of  e r u d i t i o n and  superior to h i s  pretensions  prove  public  impersonal  found  the  i n the  subject  of  book o f  Elizabethan.  his projected  book  as:  t r y i n g to answer such questions as: Is there any u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y , e x t e r n a l , c o n s c i o u s , and everp r e s e n t , e t c . e t c . , t h a t c a n be r e a l i z e d by a n y s u c h m e a n s t h a t may b e a c c e p t a b l e t o a l l c r e e d s and r e l i g i o n s ? (44) Strangely an.y in  work  on  i t since  his wife tshe  tells  hasj  Hugh, "he's  known him."  self-defence against L a r u e l l e ' s attempt  with he  enough, as  the  d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s and  sententiously reproves  never  (122)  done  Later,  to confront  s e l f i s h n e s s of h i s  behaviour,  him:  " Y o u a r e i n t e r f e r i n g w i t h my t o h a v e a d r i n k o r t w o now, s h a l l become c o n f u s e d , l i k e  great battle....I myself....else I yourself."  " A g a i n s t d e a t h . . . . .My b a t t l e f o r t h e s u r v i v a l t h e human c o n s c i o u s n e s s . " (220-221) Ostensibly drinking  with  this  himself  into  arduous  to maintain,  sober!"  (89)  signify  d e a t h and  the  But  the  end  i n view,  "this of  his life  precarious  being  drunk  visionsof this  oblivion,  i n w h i c h he "precious"  which w i l l  consciousness  that  tells  him  of to  stage, alone  so was  stage  b r i n g peace  he  have  i s dedicated  precious  s t r u g g l e between h i s d e s i r e f o r f i n a l  remnant of  him  from  escape and must c a r r y  some on  51 this  unsupportable  describes apt  the  existence.  e f f e c t of  than h i s muddled  The  image by  which  he  drinking tequila is infintely  perceptions  more  allow:  [Ke~] f e l t t h e f i r e o f t h e t e q u i l a r u n down h i s spine l i k e l i g h t n i n g s t r i k i n g a tree which thereupon, miraculously, blossoms. (219) The  d e s t r u c t i o n of  blossoming,"is d e a t h and  the  :lightning  blast,  a l l h i s d e s i r e , and  annihilation f i l l  his  not  the  t h o u g h t s and  unlikely Images  of  mescal-visions;  w i t h o u t m e s c a l , he i m a g i n e d , he h a d forgotten e t e r n i t y , f o r g o t t e n t h e i r world's voyage, that t h e e a r t h was a s h i p , l a s h e d b y t h e H o r n ' s t a i l , doomed n e v e r t o make h e r V a l p a r a i s o . . . O r that i t was a b u s , m a k i n g i t s e r r a t i c j o u r n e y to T o m a l i n and n o t h i n g . (289) In  his yearning  certain  cantina,  f o r the the  way  down a n d  Farolito  in  out,  he  dreams of  a  Pariany  h e r e . . . . l i f e reached bottom. But here a l s o great w h e e l i n g thoughts hovered i n the b r a i n . (204) He  ;senses;; t h e a t m o s p h e r e ' ; o f t h e l c a n t i n a ; e n c l o s i n g s him. a l r e a d y w i t h i t s c e r t a i n t y o f s o r r o w and e v i l , and with i t s c e r t a i n t y of something e l s e too, t h a t e s c a p e d him. B u t he k n e w : i t was p e a c e . (204) He w a s s a f e h e r e ; this sanctuary, the p a r a d i s e  The  city  of T l a x c a l a v ,  who  gave  refuge  in  overthrowing  Because the  of  to Cortez'  that  home o f  the  invading  i t s historical desire  threatenrhlm  loved (339)  a r m i e s and  aided  symbol of  them death.  s i g n i f i c a n c e , i t suggests as to  from  surrender within:  -  traitorous natives  Montezuma, a l s o becomes a  Consul's w i l f u l  forces  the  was t h e p l a c e he of h i s d e s p a i r .  to  the  well  destructive  5  2  i t a p p e a r e d t o him.... p e r f e c t l y empty. T h a t was t h e q u e e r e s t t h i n g a b o u t i t , a n d a t t h e same t i m e t h e m o s t b e a u t i f u l ; t h e r e was n o b o d y t h e r e , n o one....to i n t e r f e r e with the business of d r i n k i n g .  (303)  The  Consul's  fear of the dark  combined w i t h a s u g g e s t i b l e the  related delusion  that  who h a s s o l d h i s s o u l  and morbid  Laruelle's  sort of  engenders philospher,  t o t h e devil., and must pay t h e p r i c e .  f o r no a p p a r e n t reason,  to Dr. V i g i l  himself,  imagination,  he i s a F a u s t i a n  He d r a m a t i c a l l y e x h i b i t s t h i s out,  forces within  as the clock  house), with  obsession  i n public,  on two s e p a r a t e  strikes  the  twelve  bursting  occasions  and again  (once  at  exclamation:  ti God, t h a t t h e dream o f d a r k m a g i c i a n i n h i s v i s i o n e d cave, even w h i l e h i s hand shakes i n i t s l a s t decay - t h a t ' s t h e b i t I l i k e - were t h e t r u e e n d o f t h i s s o l o u s y w o r l d ..I'(20 6 , a l s o 150) The  almost  tion  identical  suggests  pose.  that  Furthermore  repetition  the Consul  two o u t b u r s t s — t h e  the  earlier  substitution of "lousy  that underlying  i s a rapidly progressing  reality.  I n keeping with  this  Consul's drunken rumination C h a p t e r V, shattered idea  i s developed  forces  h i s true  between  world" f o r state  black  o f mind.  t h e mask o f t h e b l a c k  rejection of l i f e magician  i n the bathroom  i n w h i c h he v i e w s h i m s e l f by t h e v e r y  proclama-  i s deliberately affecting a  "lovely world"—indicates  change suggests  magician  depressive  t h e one s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e  the  This  of this  and  role i sthe  scene i n  a s , "one...being  of the universe."  further, a t the f i n a l  dinner  (149)  This  i n Chapter  X,  53 in  h i s ostentatious  Just in  listing  how d e e p - s e a t e d  his silent  prayer  room a t t h e S a l o n  this  of the elements threatening  obsession  h a s become i s e v i d e n t  to the V i r g i n i n Cervantes*  Ofella.  The p r a y e r ,  honest plea  f o r help and an admission  suffering",  shifts  p a r t way  him.  beginning  little with  an  of h i s "senseless  through t o :  " G i v e me b a c k my p u r i t y , t h e k n o w l e d g e o f ^ h e M y s t e r i e s , t h a t I have b e t r a y e d and l o s t . (291) Once a g a i n he  calls  having  invitation  particular  to the forces  overwhelm him.  soul  rather  erable  h i s delusion  upon t h e V i r g i n t o "Destroy  danger o f t h i s  to  asserted  the t r u t h that  with  of ordinary  suggestion  this  i n i t s open  his life,  damned  Despite  to L a r u e l l e of hidden e v i l s  —no  evidence  into  h i s youth,, a n d n e i t h e r h i s b r o t h e r  childhood in  horror  seems t o b e a w a r e  the l a t t e r  obsessed with  i s given  intol-  philosopher  role  of an u n v e r l f i a b l e  his histrionic  i n his past—  i n the  But...  flashbacks  nor the friend  of any s c a r l e t s i n s .  d a y s o f h i s d i s s o l u t i o n * he a p p e a r s feelings of guilt  damned  i s an  " i know i t , i t i s w o r s e t h a n t e r r i b l e . t h e c o l d w o r l d s h a l l n o t know. ( 2 2 0 ) of this  threatening  escape.  the Consul's assumption human g u i l t .  The  destruction as a  burden, and death a wished-for  associated  burden  the world!"  of destruction that are  On a l e s s e s o t e r i c l e v e l , is  self-damnation,  self-deception lies  H e r e he i n v i t e s  than face  of  regarding  of h i s  Although, t o be  the Samaritan  54 incident,  any personal  thoroughly  responsibility  f o r this  outrage i s  d i s c r e d i t e d by L a r u e l l e ' s memories i n t h e  first  chapter: B u t by t h i s t i m e t h e p o o r C o n s u l had a l r e a d y l o s t almost a l l capacity f o r t e l l i n g the t r u t h and h i s l i f e h a d become a q u i x o t i c o r a l f i c t i o n ....he h a d g r o w n r a t h e r c a r e l e s s o f h i s h o n o u r and t h e German o f f i c e r s were m e r e l y a n e x c u s e t o buy a n o t h e r b o t t l e o f m e s c a l . (39) ' The  suggestion  that  of a l l p r o p o r t i o n a  d i f f e r e n t way  horizontal  the Consul%:obsession with  t o any j u s t i f i a b l e  p o s i t i o n i n the Calle Nicaragua).  h i s brother  fearing  the possible  fear  that  inflicted, for is  i n later  f a r exceed  lessons  life.  the injury  f o r himself:  and that  Yvonne,  the g u i l t y  responsibility  that  remorse  one i s i n  t h e v i c t i m o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s w h i c h he h a s n o t . ' . i n v i t e d -  lesson  to himself,  ratifies Equally  resentment. given  Laruelle,  However, t h e C o n s u l a p p l i e s loath to s t i l l  h i s determined self-deceptive  as. t h e b e t r a y e d  is  imply  crippling,  cannot c o n t r o l .  that  with  a n d h i s a d m i s s i o n o f h i s own p a r t i a l  spiritually  and  e f f e c t s o f remorse  (from h i s  He w a n t s t o  i n the a f f a i r  H u g h ' s r e m o r s e may  the situation,  part  from g u i l t  i s out  i s implied i n  i n h i s unspoken message t o Hugh  absolve  His  causes  guilt  progress  Although  i n Yvonne's past  conscience  toward s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n .  i s Geoffrey's  husband, d r i v e n  Lven  the brooding  neither  image o f  himself  t o e x c e s s by j e a l o u s y  j u s t cause  infidelities  f o r such a with  such i n c i d e n t s were, as L a r u e l l e  and  reaction  b o t h Hugh a n d enlightens  him,  55 rather effects condition. fairly in  than causes  That  obvious  the Consul, a t heart, agrees,  i n h i s momentary a c c e p t a n c e  both cases.  errant  t o crumble  i s made  of the  h i s d e f e n s i v e mask o f  A t t h e t i m e , he s e i z e s u p o n t h e d i f f i c u l t y  f o r g i v e n e s s as an excuse t h i n k i n g about wanders  alcoholic  of responsibility  N e v e r t h e l e s s , even the a r r i v a l  postcard f a i l s  resentment.  of the long-existing  f o rh i s cold  the significance  through the F i e s t a  but later,  o f t h a t m e s s a g e a s he  grounds,  omed i n s i g h t a n a n s w e r c l o s e r  behaviour;  of  he s e e s w i t h  unaccust-  to the truth:  I t proved the l o n e l y torment unnecessary, proved, e v e n , he m u s t h a v e w a n t e d i t . Would a n y t h i n g r e a l l y have b e e n c h a n g e d h a d he r e c e i v e d t h e c a r d a t the r i g h t time? He d o u b t e d i t . (218) This its to  statement true  shows t h e whole  colours,  relating  jealous-husband facade i n  i tboth  the Consul's masochistic desire  a s a means  himself  f o r "unnecessary  o f exonerating h i m s e l f and blaming  worM" f o r h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e to be l e f t  to Laruelle's reference  actions,  alone, without threat  suffering"  the "lousy  and t o h i s d e s i r e  of salvation,  to drink  t o death.'  The  thorough and p e n e t r a t i n g a n a l y s i s  self-deceptions conscious  leaves l i t t l e  of reality  are  consistently  his  description  save  drowned  that  of the Consul's  i s honest  h i s own f l e e t i n g i n another drink.  or truly  insights,  which  Consequently,  of the S a m a r i t a n — " E v e r y t h i n g about the  S a m a r i t a n was a r u s e . " ( 1 8 8 ) — m i g h t  well  be a p p l i e d  to  56 himself. looking  As he goes on t o p o i n t e x t e r i o r s hide  implications  instruments  widen t o suggest  own d e l u s i o n s .  I n terms  of absurd  a  of the "repudiation"  p a r t i c i p a n t of long  he  i s doomed  is  the s p i r i t u a l  loss  counterpart  of identity His  that  has  struggle i n  i s suicide. ** 1  i n t h e Game o f t h e A l c o h o l i c , and f u t i l i t y  of a l i f e  of a c t u a l death:  to  that  isolation,  i s obvious  from  i n the extent  the a c t i v i t i e s  to which  of the others,  he  the  swimming and r i d i n g and t h e s i g h t s e e i n g a t t h e F i e s t a . as and of  clearly  portrayed  spiritual blackout  Cervantes fuddled  1  i s h i s ' own s e n s e  detachment,  particularly  of both during  stone  excusado.  questions,  "Why  was he h e r e ?  (269);  aware of h i s i s o l a t i o n  I n the l a t t e r Why  indicate;-' t h a t  was he  longing  f o r t h e moment when he c a n s t e a l away  Later  waiting with  f e e l s c u t o f f even from  the world:  the reason  Never-  desperate to the  Faro-  the sun and the beauty  "The s u n l i g h t . . . d i d n o t know h i m . "  he s u g g e s t s  always  he i s n o t o n l y  he d e s i r e s  of  or i n  instance, h i s  theless  He  h i s periods  b u t a l s o d i s t r e s s e d by i t .  t o be a l o n e ,  Just  physical  and d e l i r i u m tremens i n the bathroom  m o r e o r l e s s here?""  lito.  As  and d i s i n t e g r a t i o n .  isolation  absents himself  thought, t h e C o n s u l  of l i f e  to the s t e r i l i t y  underlying h i s  and courageous  standing  innocent  of destruction, the  the nihilism  renounced awareness of r e a l i t y favour  o u t t o Hugh what  forhis alienation:  (80)  57 B u t he h a d l o s t t h e s u n : i t was n o t h i s s u n . L i k e t h e t r u t h , i t was w e l l n i g h i m p o s s i b l e t o face; he d i d n o t w a n t t o go a n y w h e r e n e a r i t , l e a s t of a l l , s i t i n i t s l i g h t , facing i t . (208) Finally,  the voice  s u n l e s s and  of h i s " f a m i l i a r "  a d d r e s s i n g him  darkening Gantina E l Bosque, d i s c l o s e s  secret desire  to escape  from  light  into  i n the his  the darkness  of  death. " G e o f f r e y F i r m i n , t h i s i s what i t i s l i k e t o d i e . . . . a n awakening from a dream i n a dark p l a c e , i n w h i c h , a s you s e e , a r e p r e s e n t t h e means o f escaping from y e t another nightmare." (229) Although wife, use  i n answer to her plea  of escaping from  found  both  complete  the use  out  rather  start,  his  "What's  (89)/he a p p e a r s  ourselves?"  and  pompously asked  f o r a new  to  the have  the means, t o t h e e x t e n t t h a t  nonentity i s painfully  to himself. set  the C o n s u l has  his  obvious both to others  Hugh i s m o m e n t a r i l y  struck  by  this  as  and  they  f o r Tomalin: i t w a s a s t h o u g h f a t e h a d f i x e d h i s a g e a t some u n i d e n t i f i a b l e moment i n t h e p a s t , when h i s p e r s i s t e n t o b j e c t i v e s e l f , perhaps weary of s t a n d i n g a s k a n c e and w a t c h i n g h i s d o w n f a l l , had a t l a s t withdrawn from him a l t o g e t h e r , l i k e a s h i p s e c r e t l y l e a v i n g harbour a t night. (187)  K e e n l y aware cally  loss  questions himself,  where had admits  o f h i s own  ' I ' gone?"  explicitly  identity,  " B u t who  (209)  where  of  and,  i t has  was  the C o n s u l  I , how  find  i n a moment o f been  franti-  that  I,  honesty,  lost:  s o m e w h e r e , p e r h a p s , i n one o f t h o s e l o s t o r b r o k e n b o t t l e s , i n one o f t h o s e g l a s s e s , l a y , f o r e v e r , the s o l i t a r y clue to h i s i d e n t i t y . (294)  58 Thus a l i e n a t e d from humanity and from nothing  but a ghostly  shell  long  since departed,  feel  human c o m p a s s i o n .  or wire doctor  f o r help..  distant, the  h e r absence  His love  t o move h i m ;  never does.  views  escape  reality  even he, a t times, into  inescapable  the  seems u n r e a l a n d too."  (200)  t o take  philosophy  Even  some a c t i o n ,  1  drink,  conviction.  of which  Having drunk  himself  ( 1 4 2 ) he s u f f e r s f r o m a l l  that this  disease  "familiars",  the other  the c r a w l i n g advance  unfounded delusions  a toll  this  c o n t r o l l e d , a l l - p o s s e s s i n g , and  he t o u c h e s a n o t h e r d r o p ;  even the cracks  he  instead of  or personal  taken  i s w e l l aware.  to h i squarrelling  relatives,  have  d e l i r i u m tremens,"  therapeutic'  ation and  he i s a b o u t  and s e l f  the mental a b e r r a t i o n s  11  t o phone  something f o r the dying  o f human f e e l i n g  "a case o f c h r o n i c ,  listens  or to  d e s t r u c t i v e m e a s u r e s b y w h i c h he h a s r e a c h e d  from  has  L a t e r , when t h e i n c i d e n t i s d i s c u s s e d ,  showing any evidence  if  so strange  i ti n terms o f a borrowed  The  to love,  o r even t o telephone  f o rh i s wife  urgent necessity of doing  but  to act,  and spirit  He f i n d s i t i m p o s s i b l e  "so f a r away....and  peasant f a i l s  the  from which t h e r e a l  he i s u n a b l e  Yvonne d u r i n g  the world,  entails. t h e one  threatening  He ratifying  to "cry"  watches w i t h h o r r i f i e d of grotesque animals  i n the wall; of spying  and even sunflowers.  and i n s e c t s  and experiences  and persecution As c o o l l y  fascin-  strange  by f r i e n d s ,  a s he s t a t e s h i s  59 condition  to Dr. V i g i l ,  and even a s f a i n t l y  proud  of the  originality  o f h i s h a l l u c i n a t i o n s a s h e may a p p e a r  ("'Not t h a t  he was much b o t h e r e d by a n y t h i n g s o s i m p l e a s  snakes,'  he r e f l e c t e d  he  i n dread  lives  sounds  disintegration,  "as though  and were f l i t t e r i n g  bits  other  by a sense  and j i t t e r i n g  times, as h i s description  of physical had  with  adjusted  human m e c h a n i s m  disintegration  the fragmented  of  the Consul's thoughts.  which  evident on  "absolutamente Consul's scene  Cervantes'  of a mind i n  has "decompose"  i s particularly  are a l l  garbled  I t i s suggested again i n the #  i s reflected  the voice  t h e n e x t room, a n d t h e b a r t e n d e r ' s  1  remarks.'  (367)  from  (148-9)  "twitching"  i n Chapter I I , i n which  n e o e s a r l o " - ' (51)  i n Chapter V  tongues"  a l l  voices  This reflection  system  i n t h e b a r scene  the radio,  mind  conversations and the e r r a t i c  the communication  contrasted  i s agonizing.  of a once-brilliant  in  at  of h i s soul as a beseiged  t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f h i s own d e c a y  The  symptoms  w r y l y humorous;  town r e v e a l s , the well  broken  b e f o r e him." (148)  the grotesque  s u p p o r t a b l e , even  sights,  These  of h i s eyelids  Although a t times the Consul finds of h i sd i s s o l u t i o n  pandemonium o f  come i n t h e n i g h t .  f a n t a s i e s a r e accompanied  (131);  of pride.")  of the t e r r i f y i n g  and sensations that  bizarre  off  w i t h a degree  t o be  with the bathroom  i n "theBabel.v..the confusion of  of the f i n a l  stone c e l l .  scene, and i n the episode i n  In this  last  scene, fragments o f  t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n s o f t h e d a y come r u s h i n g  into  h i s mind,  60 to  jostle  f o r room w i t h  conversation Tlaxcala his  travel  unable  with  descent (362)  capable  brilliance soul.  i s significant  that  to a  of the from  confusion  the within  retentive but uncontrolled, of b r i l l i a n c e ,  that precedes  but  the  only  enveloping  t h e p a i n f u l a n d humorous  by w h i c h t h e a l c o h o l i c  perpetuates  specific  analysis his  s t a t e o f " d e a t h more dead t h a n d e a t h  does n o t d i s c l o s e any  destroying  pandemohic  s t i l l  of the dying  the delusions  bits  h i s conversational .digressions,  s t i l l  the unsustained  It  This  of a mind  to relate,  darkness  of  folders.  the e f f e c t  thoughts,  the dining-room, and excerpts  mind, together  gives  of  from  h i s own  itself,"  cause f o r t h i s  soul-  disease. Why am I h e r e , s a y s t h e s i l e n c e , w h a t h a v e I d o n e , e c h o e s t h e e m p t i n e s s , why h a v e I r u i n e d m y s e l f i n t h i s w i l f u l manner, c h u c k l e s t h e money i n t h e t i l l , why h a v e I b e e n b r o u g h t s o l o w , w h e e d l e s t h e t h o r o u g h f a r e , t o w h i c h t h e o n l y a n s w e r was the s q u a r e gave him no a n s w e r . (3^2)  Neither  does  the Consul's reference  to "the cold  g i v e a n a n s w e r a n y more s a t i s f a c t o r y the back  opening l i n e s of a  or conclusive  idea  than  o f h i s u n f i n i s h e d poem s c r i b b l e d o n t h e  menu: Some y e a r s a g o h e s t a r t e d t o e s c a p e , . . . been escaping ever since. (331)  The  world"  that  the Consul  satisfied,  i s reiterated  throughout  the novel.  He  i s simply  has  an escapist, s t i l l  i n the Blackstone identifies  theme  himself  with  that  unruns  William  61 Blackstone,  who  "people with that  ideas."  Furthermore,  Flashbacks into  some a b i l i t y ,  sportsman, the  t o t h e I n d i a n s t o escape  h i s present condition belies  hood. of  fled  from the  i t becomes e v i d e n t the promise  of h i s boy-  h i s youth suggest that  a talented  he was a b o y  young poet and an  a n d one o f s u f f i c i e n t m o r a l  fibre  excellent to withstand  s o m e w h a t rummy a t m o s p h e r e o f t h e T a s k e r t o n s . W i t h o u t k n o w i n g q u i t e why M. L a r u e l l e f e l t h e might have a c t u a l l y p r o v e d a g r e a t f o r c e f o r good. (37)  This for  suggestion of an inherent good,  hours in  contrasted  with  rather  which  shows t h e powers  t h e p r o c e s s o f b e i n g overwhelmed  been  urge,  chosen  living,  have e n j o y e d  instead  f o r good  o f good  may  des-  n o t have  that  h a d he  i n conscious and  o f e s c a p i n g i n t o a - . b o t t l e , ~he >  o f t h e a b s u r d man,  to positive  Such a d e s t i n y  seems  as  into a living  h i s descent  fate  T h e 3M®$to&W6mls  the reward  gresses beyond n i h i l i s m  twelve  by a t r e m e n d o u s  t h e gloomy  necessary".  t o use h i s p o t e n t i a l  courageous might  suggests that  "absolutely  potential  the evidence of the l a s t  of the Consul's l i f e ,  tructive  superior  and c r e a t i v e  just as possible hell  who  pro-  living.  f o r one o f h i s p r o m i s e  and h i s u l t i m a t e  "dingy"  end. The  stress  strengthens of  this  laid  on t h e w i l f u l n e s s  affirmative  evidence to d i s c r e d i t  suggestion  of tragic  of h i s decline  t h o u g h t by p r e s e n t i n g a  both the Consul's n i h i l i s m  inevitability  that  mass and the  s u r r o u n d s h i s doom.  62 His  own  r e c o g n i t i o n of  his  downward c o u r s e ,  the  outset  of  the  and  possibility  the  means t o  the novel, i n e x c e r p t s  of an it,  alternative  to  is. e s t a b l i s h e d a t  from h i s  unposted  letter: r i g h t through h e l l there i s a t h o u g h I may n o t t a k e i t . . . . Love i s the only o u r p o o r ways on Later, (97)  the  statement,  delivered with  passing nature  out of  repeated crucial  the  destruction, of being  debate w i t h  than  i n these  and  i s repeated  scene  of  back,  implying  toward the  this  hell  Ironic.  (213)  necessary  f o r c e s of  by  spiritual  t h a t he  has  the  the as  he  the  wilful is  Consul's  survival  and  possibility  i n the  and  battle.  house, has  his  of  will  phrase  ironically,  L a r u e l l e leave  Here i t both to continue  and "No  se  decided  looks  plunging  forward  to sin  foregothe  love, p r e f e r r i n g destruction to  the  looks  puede v l v i r to  that (130)  therapeutic drink,"  determined  t h a t he  the  the  , a l s o used  1  on  to  statement  inflexibility  " l o s borrachones *,  implying of  (51)  ;;  the Consul  lost  with  help  The  necessary,  words i m p r i n t e d  amar'J  the  during  words i s c l e a r a g a i n  i n "the  prior  This  when, f o r a moment, i t has  other  echoed  just  i s t o make. (209)  to  i s unconquerable,"  l o n g debauch, u n d e r l i n e s  " a b s o l u t a m e n t e necesarib'.' is  o f man  profundity  a t L a r u e l l e ' s house interior  implied  will  ironic  d e c i s i o n he  mine)  t h i n g which g i v e s meaning earth. (45)  "The  following a  path....and (42 - i t a l i c s  the  63 "salvation" decision rushes  that  love entails.  i s translated  from  The w i l f u l n e s s  into melodramatic  o fh i s  action,  a s he  the Salon -Of.elia, proclaiming,  "i love hell. I can't w a i t t o g e t back t h e r e . I n f a c t I'm r u n n i n g . " (316) He p u r s u e s  h i sdestructive (354)  contamination" sense The  of r e l i e f  course u n t i l ,  of the Consul's  is  reflected  of  E d e n theme, a theme s u g g e s t e d  on  public  (132)  again i n h i s ironic  gardens  Expounding  personal view  h i s "ultimate  w i t h t h e p r o s t i t u t e M a r i a , he f e e l s  a t having reached  stubbornness  after  throughout  t h e p o i n t o f no desire  t o escape  distortion  reality,  appearing  t h e n o v e l : "Le Gusta  o f Adam's f a t e ,  return.  of the Garden  by t h e s i g n  t o an unsympathetic  a  Este  Jardin."  Mr. Quincey h i s  he c o n j e c t u r e s t h a t  "the r e a l r e a s o n f o r t h a t punishment....might w e l l h a v e b e e n t h a t t h e p o o r f e l l o w , who k n o w s , secretly loathed the placeJ Simply hated i t and had done s o a l l a l o n g . " (137-8) A w a r e o f h i s own h a t r e d o f t h e " g a r d e n " - - l i f e of  i t s "abominations"  (133) life  i s an i n v i t a t i o n  cantina,  in  the F a r o l i t o ;  invites  this  which  earth—  responsibilities,"  of "eviction".  an invitation  o f t h e name  His  clearly  of h i s favourite  "The L i g h t h o u s e , t h e l i g h t h o u s e  the storm and l i g h t s  i t ! " (203)  emphasis on t h e w i l f u l n e s s  self-destruction  life,  to disaster,  i n histranslation  While ist's  and "untenable  t h e Consul welcomes t h e thought  implied  that  (138)  on t h i s  implies  the Consul  indirectly  of the protagonthat  refuses to recognize;  there i s value presentation  64 of  hisinterior  nihilism. fact  struggle directly  The s p i r i t u a l  that, despite  the  his slight  level  insists that and  is  guilt  that  this  his isolation  that  that guilt that  most determined from  wasn't q u i t e mind  absolutely,  the only  i s exaggerated  persecutor.  the Salon  love  help  ideas."  him t h a t  none  o f h i s own  through  the acceptance  beyond a l l cause o r i s "fatuous",  and  E v e n when he a p p e a r s when he r u s h e s o f f t o  (316)  This  painful division  symbolically i n the splbt crag "couldn't  i tc l u n g  that  O p f e l i a , " t h e q u e e r t h i n g was, he  serious."  that  himself,  release,  he i s " s t r a i g h t e n i n g  i na hell  i s possible  to destroy  Paradoxically, death,  the Consul  by "people w i t h  hisrationalization  i s expressed Farolito  that  of truth t e l l  he i s l i v i n g  he i s t h e s e l f i s h  "hell"  delusions,  On  c a n n o t be r e m e d i e d , a n d t h a t  that deliverance  necessity,  the  are unattainable,  i s so, that  love,  to survive.  i s unsupportable and death  A c t u a l l y , h i s glimpses  making, of  nurtured  i n t e r f e r e n c e and persecution  (311) of  instinct  state, or to  and remorse a r e a b s o l u t e l y necessary,  forgiveness  up",  but tenacious  life  t o d i s a s t e r , he i s  b y h i s own d e s p e r a t e  of h i s carefully  that  will  i nthe  t h e f l e e t i n g moments o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s  w h i c h he i s h o r r i f i e d  crush  of h i s condition l i e s  his inflexible  unable e i t h e r t o escape in  agony  undermines h i s expressed  make u p i t s m i n d  so, c l e f t ,  to life."  of  outside  t o crumble  (339)  the c l o s e r the Consul approaches t o  t h e c l e a r e r h i s i n s i g h t s become.  Thinking  o f t h e plc'ture,  65 Los Borrachones, on  he r e a l i z e s a t r u t h  the "abominations"  of l i f e  that years of brooding  has obscured:  Y e s , b u t h a d he d e s i r e d i t , w i l l e d i t , t h e v e r y m a t e r i a l w o r l d , i l l u s o r y though t h a t was, might have been a c o n f e d e r a t e , p o i n t i n g t h e w i s e way. (362) Nevertheless, before  he c a n a t t e m p t  threatening the  road."  confront spiritual the  resolution  situation, (365)  still  t o escape  from  O n l y a t t h e moment  return  compassion  "one f o r  o f d e a t h , d o e s he  honesty, and s i g n i f y h i s  t o t h e human b r o t h e r h o o d  o l dpotter's  obstacle:  h i s immediately  he n e e d s a n o t h e r d r i n k ,  h i m s e l f w i t h complete  power o f l o v e .  f o u n d e r s o n t h e same  by a c c e p t i n g  and recognizing  Someone h a d c a l l e d  the healing  him "pelado".  And i t was a s i f , f o r a moment, he h a d become t h e pelado. the t h i e f - y e s , the p i l f e r e r of meaningl e s s muddled i d e a s out o f which h i s r e j e c t i o n o f l i f e h a d g r o w n , who h a d w o r n h i s t w o o r t h r e e l i t t l e bowler hats, h i sd i s g u i s e s , over these a b s t r a c t i o n s . . . . B u t someone h a d c a l l e d h i m c o m p a n e r o t o o , w h i c h was b e t t e r , much b e t t e r . I t made h i m h a p p y . (374) The spirit life The  survival  of the Consul's unconquerable  i n the face of h i s intractable  will  human  t o escape  from  i s a t once h i s agony a n d t h e hope o f h i s r e d e m p t i o n . persistent viability  of this  confrontation with reality  spirit  and w i t h s e l f  leads to a that  final  signifies  the r e t u r n t o consciousness, the escape from everyday s l e e p CthatJrepresent the f i r s t steps of a b s u r d freedom.^ Although the f i n a l awakening  comes t o o l a t e  t o do more  than  66 momentarily for  the  its  urge  dark  redeem the  future:  possibility i n the  characters: childhood  yet  intended  the  ordained  other  imagery,  "or  of  they  and  (40)  suggestion  aware of  the  a  series  p a r t f o o l and  human  aspects  spirit." ^ 1  growing  prematurely  affirmation these  the  small ray  two  of  clearly  charac-  gloom  of  hope  t h a t h i s d e s t i n y was  p a r t hero,  Recognizing  between honesty  clarify  and  maintain  express  h i s compassion  and  h i s own  of f l a s h b a c k s  problems t h a t beset  imperfect world. ations  stated,  represent  the  of  Lowry  hardy and  The  attitudes  s u s t a i n the  Consul's  the  are  male  the  s t i l l not  chosen.  a c t i o n s , and  y o u n g man,  the  even Yvonne),  figure,  is  principal  These, as  Hugh F i r m i n i s r e v e a l e d , t h r o u g h  a  in  the  realized  two  contrast, to l i g h t e n to  i n the  but  the  the Consul.  history  f a t e and  flickering  hope b e i n g  same r o o t t h a t n o u r i s h e d  t h a t was  i n the  a  (and  "Everyman"  d o e s much, by  Consul's  such  Consul  the novel's  from  branch  of  Jacques L a r u e l l e .  the  composite  shoots  and  hope  invincible  transcend  h a l f - b r o t h e r , Hugh, and  friend,  terms of  ters  t o a s p i r e , may  p o r t r a y a l of  the  together with  cut  and  human s p i r i t ,  of  forces that threaten to crush i t .  expressed  In  i t i m p l i e s a note  hope t h a t t h e  to l i v e  The  of a  Consul,  into  who  his past,  a l l men  shame h i s own  h y p o c r i s y , he  his consciousness for suffering  of  words as  i s becoming  h i m s e l f and  with  thoughts,  in  vacill-  i s struggling reality  humanity  an  and  to to  in action  6? that  s t r i v e s t o improve  p o o r s o r t o f g o o d man," called  (111)  h i m , he i s , i n s h o r t ,  struggle defeat  i t s desperate  o f t h e a b s u r d man  him.  condition.  as h i s f r i e n d  "A  Cerillo  o n e who h a s t a k e n u p t h e  i n a universe  that  threatens  to  H i s sudden awareness, a t age twenty-nine, o f  time a s an enemy— t h a t one c o u l d n o t be y o u n g f o r e v e r - t h a t i n d e e d , i n t h e t w i n k l i n g o f a n e y e , one was n o t young any longer (154) is a t y p i c a % a b s u r d ;  recognition.  So, t o o , i s h i s r e a l i z a t i o n  of  t h e many f a c e s  o f man e x h i b i t e d  i n h i s own  life:  A c c e p t i t ; one i s a s e n t i m e n t a l i s t , a m u d d l e r , a r e a l i s t , a dreamer, coward, h y p o c r i t e , hero, an Englishman i n s h o r t . (186) Such r e c o g n i t i o n s  are spurring  sciously  and honestly  his  self—"I'm  past  (106) formal  guises  abandoning  i n the present.  merely  and h i s attempt  on h i s e f f o r t s t o l i v e  H i s abhorrence of  fed to the teeth  to find  a real  with  identity  and name-tags o f l i v i n g ,  the clothes  con-  myself"—  under the  a r e suggested  by h i s  of h i s j o u r n a l i s t past a t the  b o r d e r a n d by h i s l o n g - s t a n d i n g  carelessness  passport.  o f t h e a b s u r d man i s n o t  But the self-honesty  t o be a t t a i n e d frequent  lapses  ridiculous time, feet  with h i s  i n a m o m e n t , a f a c t made a p p a r e n t b y h i s i n t o day-dreams  involving both  self-identifications.  Within  h e i s a p r i m i t i v e man o f a c t i o n , two ( i n s t e a d  of five  feet  eleven);  serious and  a short  cowboy  space o f  style,  "Potato  of s i x  Firmih"  68 at  t h e wheel  of a ship;  ....the world,  the figurative  helmsman,  "steering  o u t o f t h e Western Ocean o f i t s m i s e r y ; "  (108) G e n e r a l W i n f i e l d S c o t t ( 1 1 7 ) ; J u d a s ; a n d e v e n t h e saviour from  o f mankind,  t h e burned  churches,  brotherhood.  (242).  Consul  say.  his of  would  frequently their  enlisting  idle  than  i n t h e cause  The evanescence  o f these day-dreams and  and rather  humorous  Now h e i s m o r e l i k e l y  fancies w i t h a muttered  t o s u s t a i n and pursue  "silly  he had i n t h e p a s t .  "a  c r o s s between B i x Beiderbecke,...the  in  send  anyone  and "a h u m i l i a t i o n into  upon  to cut short  ridiculous  Then, h i s i l l u s i o n  c h i l d h o o d o f R a l e i g h , " (l6l) his life  recognition  b a s t a r d " (242)  them t o s u c h  as  the  of universal  act as a deterrent to his seizing  them a s a way o f l i f e . his  whom h e h a s l i b e r a t e d  However, he i s " p r o g r e s s i n g " , a s t h e  immediate  falsity  Christ,  lengths  of himself as  infant Mozart, and  had l e d t o a r t i f i c i a l i t i e s i nitself  even more d e s p e r a t e  sufficient to  retreat  than  t o sea."  (163) Glimpses frustrations than  this  escape in  one  h i s past l i f e  that might  humiliation  t h e snobbery  r u n n i n g away  even more v a l i d  f o r h i s seeking thealmost  of his alcoholic  from  reveal a history of  have proved  brother.  h i s a r t ( h i s composing),  escape by  into  total  He h a s b e e n d i s a p p o i n t e d  frustrated  i n his attempt t o  of his middle-class  t o sea and i n h i s desire  of the small brotherhood  grounds  environment  t o be a c c e p t e d a s  o f seamen, f r e q u e n t l y  defeated  69 in  his very  recently the  real attempt  thwarted  temptation  action This  evident  suggest the constitute  joy  of  d o e s he  felt  onto the  ride  repeatedly  on  to  frustration.  Such  the  Consul's  struggling against  specific  a p p l i c a t i o n of i n the  subsequent "atonement"  dishonesties  flying  from  personal  t r u s t and he  Although  universal  i s shown i n  of  "atonement".  the  "Judas redeemed"  past a f f a i r shows him  theme t o  w i t h Yvonne and progressing  The  toward  a t t i t u d e toward  h i s past a c t i o n s .  the  pleasure  h i s r i d e w i t h Yvonne poisoned  he,  f o r a moment, i m a g i n e s h i m s e l f J u d a s , t h i n k i n g :  by  Hugh's  his  properly absurd of  that  i t s d a m a g i n g e f f e c t s by  c o n s t r u c t i v e course the  the  actions  destructive brooding.  i n his youthful anti-Semitism,  on a  is  overlooking  assaults his conscience,  entering  positive  limitations  t o send him  guilt  sense of g u i l t  bull.  mastered  man.  i n h i s b e t r a y a l of  of  and  parapet  the  guilt  process  turned  a l l o w h i s remorse f o r the life  and  7  nevertheless,  and'iscorn of  to i n t r o s p e c t i v e and  guilt  good,^''  f o r a c t i o n " (2?7)  the absurd  misdeeds of h i s past  reality  has,  r e t r e a t and  defiant living the  t o do  sense of f u t i l i t y  in his wild  Neither  his  to negative  n e c e s s i t y he  and  and  He  i n his daring leap  barranca  and  i n love.  t o overcome h i s  "absurd  t o be  a Peeling  his  remorse,  how s p l e n d i d i t a l l m i g h t be i f o n l y I h a d not b e t r a y e d t h a t man l a s t n i g h t . . . . i f o n l y i t w e r e n o t s o a b s o l u t e l y n e c e s s a r y t o go o u t and hang oneself. (115)  70 Immediately,  though,  with h i snewly-acquired  habit of  s h o r t h i s l a p s e s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s , he c o r r e c t s melancholy  cutting  this  brooding; And h e r e i n d e e d i t was a g a i n , t h e t e m p t a t i o n , the cowardly, the f u t u r e - c o r r u p t i v e serpent; t r a m p l e o n i t , s t u p i d f o o ^ (115)  and  shortly  a f t e r w a r d g i v e s Yvonne c o n s t r u c t i v e  ways a n d means o f s a v i n g t h e C o n s u l . being, almost this  of exhilaration,  discussion  of h i s f r i e n d human  Juan  (126)  This  Cerillo's  The sense  that,  episode  on  of w e l l -  t h a t he e x p e r i e n c e s  leads him t o f e e l  somehow, r e d e e m e d . "  advice  following  "Judas had been, reflects  p r e c e p t a n d example  the  •  essence  regarding  guilt, t h a t t h e p a s t was i r r e v o c a b l e p a s t . And c o n s c i e n c e h a d b e e n g i v e n man t o r e g r e t i t o n l y i n so f a ra s t h a t might change t h e f u t u r e . (112)  The  attitude  similar  toward  remorse expressed  t o Camus' t h o u g h t s  here  i s remarkably  o n t h e same s u b j e c t :  i t [ t h e absurd] r e s t o r e s t o remorse i futility. A t v e r y most, such a mind imbued w i t h t h e absurd] w i l l consent experience as a basis f o ri t s future The  honest  appraisal  of self  and r e a l i t y  c o m e s t o r e c o g n i z e h i s own c u l p a b i l i t y has  l e d him t o extend  small the a  events  hot-dog  vendor,  general concern  brotherhood.  (freeing  signing  1  by w h i c h  i n human  a n a t i v e compassion,  of h i s youth  t s [ a mind t o use past actions. " Hugh  affairs,  evident i n  the sea-gull,  helping  on t h e Oedipus T y r a n n u s ) ,  f o r humanity and a d e s i r e  That h i s war a g a i n s t i n j u s t i c e  to  f o r universal and dishonesty  71 is  a  purely  correcting  humanitarian and  the.Consul's insinuations  commitment w i t h a  system  l o v e and  but  the statement  s i m p l y " a new  charity  difficulty and  i s a  easy  of h i s  clear,  political  (306)  a  spirit  i s not of  men.  his ideal  of complete  honesty  clear-sighted appreciation  of i t s attainment.  integrity  he m a k e s  t h a t Communism t o h i m  spirit",  b r o t h e r h o o d among  Coexisting with active  p e r s o n a l one  Neither are  of  and the  personal  honesty  to m a i n t a i n —  We d o w a n t t o d o g o o d , t o h e l p , t o b e b r o t h e r s i n d i s t r e s s . . ' . .but t o an Englishman i t ' s s u c h t e r r i b l y b a d f o r m t o be a b o n a - f i d e m a r t y r  (329)  —nor  practical  effort  attempts  i t i s by  elemental (126)  ences  the  spiritual  strength The  constantly  these  receives (127)  i n landscape  "strange exaltation"  i n s u c h moments, and  For  1  humanitarian  again as  (238) he  that  thinks  from  the  isolation,  swelling  he  experi-  of h i s  a mixture of emotions  a b s u r d man's j o y i n t h e  nostalgia  s t r u g g l e and  i n a w o r l d i n w h i c h no  sense  of  reflecting  his inescapable  a b s o l u t e s c a n be  Hugh's c l e a r e s t  e x p r e s s i o n of the a t t i t u d e  man  i n h i s comparison  i s embodied  the  or  imminent embarkation-for Spain, i s mingled w i t h a l o n e l i n e s s and  reasons,  renewed and r e d e d i c a t e d ,  c h a l l e n g e he  of nature  (e.g. h i s  h i s proposed  to Spain) , assured of success.  H u g h ' s s t r u g g l e m u s t be  sea.  distress  t o a i d the d y i n g peasant, and  adventure  as  to relieve  of the  of h i s l i f e  to a  defined. absurd mountain  72 climb: S o now, a s I a p p r o a c h t h e s e c o n d h a l f o f my l i f e . , . . I am g o i n g b a c k t o s e a a g a i n : perhaps t h e s e d a y s o f w a i t i n g a r e more l i k e t h a t d r o l l d e s c e n t , t o be s u r v i v e d i n o r d e r t o r e p e a t t h e climb....Yet i n l i f e ascending or descending you were p e r p e t u a l l y i n v o l v e d w i t h the m i s t s , the c o l d and the overhangs, the t r e a c h e r o u s rope and the s l i p p e r y b e l a y ; o n l y w h i l e the rope s l i p p e d t h e r e was s o m e t i m e s t i m e t o l a u g h . (185) In  this  passage,  striking;  he  Hugh's a f f i n i t y  becomes, i n f a c t ,  w i t h the absurd almost  a  t o n e v e r - e n d i n g , c o n s t a n t l y renewed, and  futile  effort,  defiance  evidence i n the  inclusion of  by  probably  the  joy  and  of h i s s t r u g g l e .  The present  transcending his fate  is  modemSisyphus,  doomed  but  hero  of absurd  thought  characterization  of Juan C e r i l l o ' s  Laruelle.  Cerillo's  the  constant  individual  and  t h a t Hugh i s t r y i n g  and  absurd  o f Hugh, i s seconded  p r e c e p t s and  by  lessons for l i v i n g  the  by  the  portrayal  emphasize  struggle that absurd to  living  living  demands  maintain:  F o r man, e v e r y man, J u a n s e e m e d t o b e telling him. .. .must c e a s e l e s s l y s t r u g g l e u p w a r d , What was l i f e b u t a w a r f a r e a n d a s t r a n g e r ' s s o j o u r n ? !  (112)  Similarly, he  too  f o r the  Hugh i s , a s  Laruelle but  portrayal  is spiritually  struggle If  the  i s the  of Jacques Laruelle,  u n i t e d w i t h Hugh i n the  p r e s e r v a t i o n of decency and  Lowry  indicates  says,  the youth  sober middle  no'less determined  age,  to free  absurd humanity.  of Everyman,  less  r a s h and  h i m s e l f from  that  the  then  impetuous p a s t and  to  73 take what p o s i t i v e  action  i s possible  i n the  present:  he h a d a c q u i r e d a c e r t a i n i d e n t i t y w i t h H u g h . L i k e H u g h he was g o i n g t o V e r a C r u z ; and l i k e H u g h t o o , he d i d n o t k n o w i f h i s s h i p w o u l d ever reach port. (15) Older  t h a n Hugh,  sharing  like  him,  film  p r o d u c t i o n , and  he  had  frustrated—creatively,  even  seeking  his  and  suggests  and  he  the  sorrow a r i s i n g  on."  he  possesses  (15)  future,  Yet a  he  hope  appears  o f f the  his brief  of  the  to  follow  t o have  affair  " o n e ' s own  has  sensed  endeavouring  past.  too resembles  accepted  He  sees  symbolism  The  battle  stands as y e t another a f f i r m a t i o n  be  opposed  to  escape  to the Consul's w i l f u l  hope f o r  a new  of Mexico workers,  future."(17)  on w i t h t h e  t h e a b s u r d man  one  would  i n these young f o r the  of  w i t h Yvonne,  i n the s i g h t  to build  He  from  for  oppressive weight  h i s sober determination to carry  Laruelle  man  have been tempted  i s that,  also,  for Yvonne—  t o f a c e a w o r l d a t war.  t h a t he  "a m a g n i f i c e n c e . s o m e In  i n h i s love  i s n o t w i t h o u t some d i s t a n t  workers  of her agonized  and  t o h i s heavy d r i n k i n g  from  i s leaving Mexico  young Mexican out  shaken  isolation,  than the younger  t h a t h e may  and  of  i n h i s hopes f o r h i s  p a t h ; h o w e v e r , he  frustrations  certainty go  Reference  the Consul's  guilt  personally,  greater reason  escape.  past year in  h i s sense  struggle,  i n the modern w o r l d . o f t h e human s p i r i t  surrender to his  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and  to  desire  frustrations  of  reality.  74 With a his  typically  writing—to  novel  into a  magnify a  tri<f>logy,  the  author  the  Everyman f i g u r e ,  picture,  progresses  horrifying  from to a  world  extension  the  individual analysis  figure.  This  level  hopeful  by  ashes By  of  implied  her  explicit  of  i n t o an  infected  i s rescued  the  that  a new  s t a t e m e n t and  implied  Establishing  marshalling  i n t e r n a t i o n a l borrachos.  scene  of  drunkenness  description  of  Hugh's d e s p a i r  "the  to  the  a  Geoffrey's  end,  Consul's is  as  and  i t s state  has  been  shown  pessimism  of  of  arises the  by from  composite  on  a  is arising  national from  extension  through  diagnosis  of  widespread  staggering  the world  drunken madly  of::modern  the  novel  corps  revolving  civil-  incidence of  local  extends the  situation.  The  immediate Consul's  world,"  (198)  civilization,  Good God, i f our c i v i l i z a t i o n f o r a couple of days i t ' d d i e third, (121) and  to  past.'  illness.'  and  a  universal  is validated Mexico  in  sequence—  the  from  portrayal  ization's  by  with  condition  Image, Lowry makes c l e a r h i s  alcoholism  The  catastrophic  theme and  of  novel,  such a f f i r m a t i o n as  and  extend  entire  society.  affirmation  signs  into a  destructiveness  Nevertheless, i t too  implicit  story  to  individual character,  Consul's  the  the  the  his  in i t s wilful the  compulsion  trilogy  i n danger of  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n as be.  a  short  showing c i v i l i z a t i o n  d i s e a s e and  to  Lowryesque  were t o sober o f r e m o r s e on  d y i n g v i s i o n of wartime d e s t r u c t i o n ,  up the  which  75 strangely  resembles  the picture, Los Borrachones,  the volcano was i n e r u p t i o n , y e t n o , i t w a s n ' t t h e v o l c a n o , t h e w o r l d i t s e l f was b u r s t i n g , bursting into black spouts of v i l l a g e s , catapulted i n t o s p a c e , w i t h h i m s e l f f a l l i n g .through i t a l l , t h r o u g h t h e i n c o n c e i v a b l e pandemonium o f a m i l l i o n tanks, through the blazing of t e n m i l l i o n burning bodies, (375) leave like  no d o u b t  of the conclusion  the Consul, This  intended:  i s characterized  same d e s t r u c t i v e d e s i r e s a n d e s c a p i s t  by  Faustian  istic  war-time natural it  the Consul  delusions  progress,  forces  turn  on mankind.  earth  ually,  and i n j u s t i c e ,  h i s "garden":  the things of line,  of recognizing and a c t i n g  and  spirit-  to h i s  against  he r e s o r t s t o p o l i t i c a l  intellect-  o f appeasement, perpetuates  He h a s r e t r e a t e d  human f e e l i n g  machines  i t s r i d e r and  away h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s  oppression  suffering.  ruined  of the production  Instead  a n d , by p o l i c i e s  by t h e  materialism i s  t o unseat  by n e g l e c t i n g and d e s t r o y i n g  by r a t i o n a l i z i n g  for material-  destroyed  progressive  Man h a s s e l f i s h l y  f o rthe f r u i t s  l e d on  and the destructive  threatening  brothers.  uality,  of being  I n a sense,  the f r e n z i e d horse,  the  Society,  t o o much a n d , i n a p r e - w a r a n d  i thas l i b e r a t e d  like  phsyically,  to disaster.  i s i n danger  has i n v e n t e d .  by t h e  rationalizations  of grandeur i n i t s desire  has meddled  period,  civilization,  i s drunk.  u n i v e r s a l drunkenness  that are leading  world  too f a rfrom r e a l i t y  t o be a n y l o n g e r  capable  human  and  of performing  the  ? offices the  of a Good S a m a r i t a n ;  battle  men,  of  the  with malice  the  Ebro."  conclusion,  Camus' s t a t e m e n t  consequently,  (182)  or without,  H a n d s o f OrlaQf  This  6  poster  the  are  this  as  losing  Laruelle  h i e r o g l y p h i c of  throughout the  inescapable  are  drunken w o r l d , a l l  culpable;  i s "the  reiterated on  In  "they  novel,  culpability  the  notes,  times."  echoes  o f man  in  history: Man i s n o t e n t i r e l y t o b l a m e ; i t was n o t who s t a r t e d h i s t o r y ; n o r i s he e n t i r e l y i n n o c e n t , s i n c e he c o n t i n u e s i t .  he  0  Like its as  the  "corpse  by  Express",  destination, this i t pursues  w h i c h m u s t be  universal illness  i t s downward c o u r s e .  accompanied  i n v o l v e s and  Just as,  scene,  i n d i v i d u a l s become i n v o l v e d and  in  l a r g e r scene, nations  are  of g u i l t ,  r e s e n t m e n t , and  the  circle  horribly  remorse and  i n wars and  accidents  the  to  m a t e r i a l i s m and,  progressive  d e s t r u c t i o n and  world.  This  consumed w i t h  t u r n f o r "decent and  teeters  on  the  Consul,  the  i s making In  descent  the  irrational  like  destroys smaller  die;  so  in a vicious millions  the  society,  Hugh  clear values,"  die  generalized  therefore, oriented  dedicated to  having (175)»  abyss, almost d e s i r i n g , l i k e  into annihilation  that  i t s  the  behaviour  inevitable.  progressing the  from  author  portrays  of  universal patient.  the  involved  guilt,  nowhere to  edge o f  innocents  because of  drunkenness of  i n the  to  the  spiritual  individual and  This  to  the  general,  the  physical disintegration  s t a t e of d i s s o l u t i o n  is  (331)  77 suggested  i n the Consul's  town, and v e r i f i e d experiences novel. of  vision  by t h e e v i d e n c e  and observations  The f r e q u e n t  the l o c a l  of h i s soul as a of events  and the  of the characters i n the  d i s r u p t i o n s i n the l i g h t i n g  cinema and the townspeople running  cantina during  beseiged  the sudden storm  suggest  system to the  the s i t u a t i o n i n  wartime Europe, where s e r v i c e i s d i s r u p t e d and people  are  21 running with and  i t s wild  This  the f u r y o f war.  of voices  The l a s t  of r a d i o , drunken  slnarquistos.  extends  by  present  of present  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and imminent d e s t r u c t i o n  t o o i n Yvonne's r e c o l l e c t i o n  o f news f l a s h e s i n  Square:  occurs  radio dial His  patrons,  implication  news o f d i s a s t e r , o f s u i c i d e , o f banks of approaching war, o f n o t h i n g a t a l l . It  scene,  the l o c a l to a world-wide c o n d i t i o n , i n which c o m m u n i c a t i o n i s l o s t , m o t i o n mere o b s t r u c t i o n , b o m b s t h r e a t e n , i d e a s s t a m p e d e . (14-9)  sense  Times  from  "Babel"  drunken f a s c i s t  beyond  is  to shelter  again from  i n the effect program  o f Hugh's t w i d d l i n g t h e  t o p r o g r a m , e a c h one c r y i n g " H a v o c " .  o b s e r v a t i o n on t h e r a d i o v o i c e  extension  failing, (267)  of the Consul's  obsession  implies a with  world-wide  self-destruction:  the p u l s e of t h e world b e a t i n g i n t h a t l a t t i c e d t h r o a t , w h o s e v o i c e was now p r e t e n d i n g t o be h o r r i f i e d a t t h e v e r y t h i n g by w h i c h i t proposed t o be e n g u l f e d . (157) Hugh's memory o f L o n d o n ,  78 a b o v e them t h e m o n s t r o u s d e c e p t i o n s t w i t c h e d on and o f f , and a r o u n d them the b l a c k s o u l l e s s b u i l d i n g s stood wrapped i n a c o l d dream of t h e i r own d e s t r u c t i o n , (156) and  Y v o n n e ' s o f New  York,  t h e numb, b r i l l i a n t , j i t t e r i n g c i t y . . . A n d everywhere, t h a t darkness, the darkness of a world w i t h o u t meaning, a world w i t h o u t aim, show t h e C o n s u l ' s  state  of a l c o h o l i c  dissolution  to world-wide  proportions.  This desolate view  civilization,  as  to the  in  the  reality  spiritually  carry  on  for less"  materialist critical is  sterile—against  (267)—the universal  itself  material  comforts,  escapist  substitutions,  for  honest  for  these  ized,  and  f o r , as  compromises  and  the  must  by  t h a t such  propaganda,  thought,  on  itself.  appeasing  human n e e d  for  and  his;portrayal  of  the  a Mankind  with  or simply  with  responsibility,  ship,  by  being  the  making concessions  s t r a n g l e h o l d on  a  for struggle.  must pay  board  head,  a l c b h o l of  reason  reality  p a n a c e a s , man  i t s v i c t i m s by  extending  soul-  man  Yvonne's  perpetuates  intellectual  Hugh r e a l i z e d  manner,...keeps a By  and  independent  illusive  participants  the absurd  through  s o c i e t y — s u g g e s t s the  from  modern  rebellion.  condition exists  escaping  of  the m e c h a n i s t i c ,  which  s i g n t h a t keeps f l a s h i n g  best  magnified  of modern s o c i e t y — i r r a t i o n a l , d e s t r u c t i v e  his endless  The "the  struggling  immediate drama, r e p r e s e n t s  destroying and  i t appears  (267)  soul."  individual  But  dehuman-  "system" and  " i n this  (171) alcoholic  79 escape  from a personal  a world the  civilization  author voices  to a universal  drunk with  a protest  Camus the  i n The R e b e l .  "worthless,  finds,  stupid  of the last  dehumanized  condition  human r e a s o n a g a i n s t urged  abstraction.  suit also  the  Consul  of  r e b e l l i o n of of unity  t o excess,  r a t i o n a l i s t ion  o f man's finite  i n life,  has r u n unchecked  n i h i l i s m a n d h a s r e d u c e d man that  to build the perfect  times  state  has seized  upon t h e  unaware  between h i s c o n d i t i o n  f o r power,  The f a c t  intellectualization,  o f h i s own  and the  a link  that  and consequently  i n frenzied  goods a n d power, e s t a b l i s h e s  on  a n d , d i s t o r t i n g them  ironically  of a c i v i l i z a t i o n  to an  historical rebellion,  r u n t o n i h i l i s m and d e s t r u c t i o n .  the s i m i l a r i t y  material  the beginning  of expediency and i t sl u s t  escapism and excessive  Camus  of philosophical  p r i n c i p l e s of philosophy,  i s a t most  by  calls  of history,  This  i n the future,  i t s purposes  has  the Consul  i n j u s t i c e and lack  desire  a t some t i m e  disembodied to  of today.  S i m i l a r l y , he s e e s  i t s unbridled  earth,  (311)  two c e n t u r i e s ,  destructive  goods and power,  similar to that voiced  rationalism  o n b y t h e human t e n d e n c y  to absolute  in  course"  and showing  the condition of  L o o k i n g upon what  i n the excessive  rebellion  material  against  m o d e r n man a n d i t s c a u s e s v e r y  level,  excessive  pursuit  of  between  L o w r y ' s v i e w o f t h e m o d e m w o r l d a s " d r u n k e n " a n d Camus' view  of the present  civilization  as the v i c t i m of  excessive  80 rationalism. God-like a  Both  s e e t h a t u n i v e r s a l man, s t r i p p e d  image a n d s e p a r a t e d  pawn i n t h e p o l i t i c a l  technological  race  advance a "cure". itating forces also,  "lucid  from  race  God, has been reduced  f o r power o r a machine  f o rprogress.  Both,  Camus p r o p o s e s  absurd  awareness" and constant  that threaten to annihilate i n terms o f h i s f i c t i o n ,  ofh i s  however,  to  i nthe  ultimately  rebellion,  necess-  revolt against a l l  man's h u m a n i t y .  proposes  Lowry  and i l l u s t r a t e s  a  remedy. Desolate grimness escape this As  and c r i t i c a l  i s relieved  the Consul's  universal  as the world  p i c t u r e may b e ,  b y t h e h o p e t h a t m a n k i n d may tragic  end.  disease l i e s  Dr.' G u z m a n s u m m a r i z e d  i t s  ultimately  The hope f o r t h e c u r e o f  again  i n i t s wilful  the Consul's  nature.  case,  t h e r e was n o t h i n g w r o n g w i t h P a p a a n d n e v e r h a d b e e n s a v e t h a t he w o u l d n ' t make u p h i s m i n d t o s t o p d r i n k i n g . ( 1 2 1 ) \X] The  suggestion  the world would  t h a t he c o u l d  situation  stop trading  humanity  existence worth  call  and i t s  o f f e r e d by  stop delivering  Again  and r e v o l t  i s n o t answered  of a consciousness  that i f society  i t s honesty  mess o f pottage  over t o  i t s soul  w i t h ideas", i t might y e t f i n d  living.  consciousness  carries  implication,  i t s consciousness,  i fi t would  bondage t o "people  for  the similar  f o rthe i l l u s i v e  materialism,  i f he w o u l d  i n time  the c a l l  human  o f Camus' a b s u r d  i s sounded. by t h e C o n s u l ,  that momentarily  into  Although  man  this  the persistence  rebels against  81 extinction This  i m p l i e s the  tough d u r a b i l i t y  on a w o r l d - w i d e isolated and  of  individuals  the  against gain  i n the as  conscious  human s p i r i t p r o t e s t and  and  inhumanity  The  hope t h a t the  note  of  spirits  hope o f  represents  signs of recovery  the  of  the  atrocities,  p e o n s who all,  ruins,  the  frequent  the d i s s o l u t i o n  indomitable  spirit  Even the Consul members of their  the  warfare  is  s t r u c k by  New  Mexico,  (109)  and  the  relics  the  the v i t a l i t y "running,  scene  insect  racked  disease. are  religions,  i t s memories of r e v o l u war-mutlliated permeating  roads,  symbolic  evidence  future i s fiesta  S o c i e t y as  they  population;  joyousness  laughing,  L a r u e l l e sees a  gay,  conscious  and  primitive  the dry  the  and  personal  country  cantinas—and,  f o r the  Horticultural  a  poverty  old order, yet  i s aware of  against  of  with  from  building  fight  such  i n Mexico,  the Mexican  the Consul's  of  Cerill  to a national scale  disease-ridden and  suffocating dust  to  hope o f  i s enlarged  the arena the  such  unseen  there  existence of  evident  past—the  the  of  success.  everywhere throughout  crumbling  tionary  activity  without  c e n t u r i e s by v i o l e n c e , o p p r e s s i o n ,  reminders  revolt.  i s demonstrated  Hugh, L a r u e l l e and  real  Although  of  the  o r even any  the  for  of  of  s m a l l bands gathered: ihere and  injustice  rebelling in  level  possibility  t o work,  "magnificence"  of  an  unmistakable.  spirit  of  carry  on  while  of workers  the  Hugh in  i n the  sunlight;"  i n the  truckloads  82 of  workers.'  The  c r e a t i n g an  model farm w i t h  atmosphere of  giving  promise  spirit  can  f o r the  overcome  upward-looking and  the  the  Webers,  signs,  Tlaxcalans the  D i a s d a d o s and  of  the  v i s i o n a r i e s and  of  p r e s e n t , and  continue  to die.  inability  to  implies  basic  versal Just  a  the  presence  Man  of  evil,  so  it,  tilling  sympathy and from Sr. the  !  on  "rotten  the  spirit  can  exploiters,  the  roadside prey  that  course"  survive,  innocent  t o man  forces  the  his ancient  point  and  Dr.  as  of  the the  within.  thought,  or  struggling The  has  to  on  i t has  old  his  Consul missed  unexplained  to  by improve  like  of  potter  legless  the  old courtesy,  society and brother,  in his dissertation  I t proves  survived  uni-  s u r v i v a l of  the  p i t y on  history.  the  overcome.  the  acting  own  situation  contending,  p a s t and  Vigil  his  This that  explained  father.  victims  to  seen i n a l l gradations  the  in  traitorousfellow-travellers),  Mexicans are  o n e - l e g g e d b e g g a r who the  foreign  from  Bustamente and  proves  Cortez,(1?ontez^uma\  must contend a g a i n s t  compassion,  these ,  (the  t h e i r g a r d e n , by  carrying  despite  sinarquistas.  c a n n o t be  the  striving  Fascist  dark  r  this  the  the  a b s u r d man  of  of  of a b s u r d i s t  evil  that  and  have been r e i n c a r n a t e d  is s t i l l  tenet  t h e i r heritage  Indian  past  beside  facing by  the  conquer the  problem  as  spirits  fields,  security  Nevertheless,  the  pelados  irrigated  peace and  i s proof  past.  Sanabrias,  native the  present  future,  the  i t s lush  that  In Mexico,  the and,  human  83 surviving, dignity  c a n work toward  the reestablishment  o f human  and n o b i l i t y . 22  This author  " t r a n s cende-nt" a n d " u n i v e r s a l " ' '  describes  supernatural ional  tradition useless Ruined  church  into  of voices  shed  prominently  and the wayside  prophecy"  of the f i n a l  practice  abound:  crucifix,  toward which the  "The c o n f u s i o n  scene,  i n which and  of  i nthe  frenetic  falsehood  to the low voice of  through  the letters.  The  of confession and absolution loses a l l i t s  spiritual  significance i n the ironic  cold  of confession,"  bath  Cerillo  spirit.  f o r pumpkins,  becomes a mockery  a n o b l i t e r a t i n g accompaniment  love and compassion continuing  outworn  on t h e neck o f  cross  rumours o f v i o l e n c e , c r u e l t y , immorality supply  symbols  the gold  arms a r e o u t s t r e t c h e d . 23  tongues o f B i b l i c a l "Babel"  cantinas,  stolen), displayed  Indian's  o f t h e human  now u s e d a s a s t o r a g e  turned  of an  symbols t h a t a r e e i t h e r  b u i l d i n g s and s t e r i l e  t h i e v i n g pelado,  dying  t o empty  tradit-  religious  cast and i n d i c a t e the d i s s o l u t i o n  o r converted  (probably  Such  of  a r e numerous, a r e u s u a l l y  or destructive to the welfare  burned  on f a i t h i n  i n the efficacy  symbols and p r a c t i c e s .  or a clinging  monasteries  the  or belief  a s do a p p e a r , and they  of a n i r o n i c  the  religion  religious  references  i t ,appears n o t t o depend  hope, a s t h e  was s t i r r e d  reference  to"the  (112) f o r l a c k o f which  t o p o s i t i v e a c t i o n t o atone  Juan  f o r his  84 guilt. of  A similar  the Consul's  ironic  reduction  experience  occurs  i n the "confession  i n f e r n a l m a c h i n e , d u r i n g w h i c h he f e e l s stripped  o f a l l "meaning o r c h a r a c t e r ,  identity."  (226) The f a l l a c y  snide  had  left  death, with  observation t h e stopped  True liberal  bus t o walk  conversations,  for  living,  desirable  of Biblical but these,  than  the opening  Golgotha Hole,"  golf  course;  i nhis  thoughts  and with  iron  screen  lesson  like the  of Golgotha, as a trap  as  i na  h u m o u r h e n a m e s h i s l a s t : .meal  " t h e s u p p e r a t Emmaus" ( 2 9 2 ) ,  i s t h a t s u f f e r i n g humanity religion.  a  and his actions denigrate t o  of the original.  from a dying  he  God, s p y i n g  and accusing  (206) t h e b a r r a n c a , chilly  as less  of the cantina;  of a persecuting  supper which h i s conversation parody  d f Heaven, b u t only  he f a c e t i o u s l y t h i n k s  w i t h Hugh a n d Yvonne,  or help  (251)  includes a  f a r from p r o v i d i n g a  or disapproving  "the  out  "since  to interfere  the Consul  references  of the opening gates  the sunflower  ironic  i s mocked i n  a r e usually d i s t o r t e d out of any significance.  neighbour Quincey;  an  i nlife  religious  t o the cemetery,  schooling,  •has v i s i o n s o f G o d , b u t o n l y like  to a  must n o t be a l l o w e d  t o h i s Wesleyan  sprinkling  thinks  o r purpose o r  f o r r e s u r r e c t i o n , i n the cemetery."  and  He  being  o n t h e y o u n g women i n m o u r n i n g w h o  by t h e r o a d s i d e ,  one's plans  box" o f t h e  himself  of clinging  myth t o t h e e x c l u s i o n o f involvement the  i n thedescription  1  The i m p l i c a t i o n  can derive  little  through-  comfort  85 The and  traditionally  redemption  reduced  religious  a r e woven i n t o  themes o f g u i l t ,  the novel, but these a r e  t o human e x p e r i e n c e i n t h i s  symbolic  description  crucifixion  of a church  life.  Hugh's  i n London,  f r o m whose s o o t y w a l l a f i g u r e o f C h r i s t on t h e c r o s s had been removed l e a v i n g o n l y t h e s c a r and t h e l e g e n d : I s i t n o t h i n g t o you a l lye w h o p a s s b y ? (156) suggests the  that a l l that  indelible  Fall  i s left  fallen  into  compassion,  since  through  d i s u s e , b u t human c o m p a s s i o n  is  That  1  suggested  this  i n h i s paraphrase  no  o f C h r i s t has  that atones f o r  to relieve  i s the d i r e c t i o n  since the  compassion,  the figure  o n e ' s own e x i s t e n c e i n i t s a t t e m p t suffering.  religion i s  mark o f man's g u i l t a n d s u f f e r i n g  a n d t h e hope o f r e d e m p t i o n  longer divine  of traditional  universal  o f Hugh's  of the legend  purpose  on t h e church:  i s i t n o t h i n g I am b e g i n n i n g t o a t o n e , t o a t o n e f o r my p a s t . . . . N o t h i n g t h a t a f t e r a l l I am w i l l i n g t o g i v e my l i f e f o r h u m a n i t y ? (156) Crucifixion,  i n t h e sense  of sacrifice  becomes a n i m p o r t a n t theme the n o v e l . branch  The d i v i d i n g  life  the  "Like  the perils  death  through  image i m p l i e s  level,  two c h a p t e r s o f the jungle,  one  the other to the Farolito,  t h e a r m s . . v . o f a man b e i n g  The two d e s t i n a t i o n s  amid  other,  path through  running to the f a l l s ,  seems t o Y v o n n e , (319).  i n the last  o n a human  suggest,  crucified,"  on t h e one hand,  and b e a u t i e s o f t h e e a r t h and, on the escape  that  and renunciation.  Consequently,  t h e Consul and mankind a r e t o r n  86  between the two a l t e r n a t i v e s .  A shortcut to the F a r o l i t o ,  coming f u r t h e r on, Yvonne sees as, "the shadowy crossbar, from which the man's arms were hanging." (319)  This i s  the path of c e r t a i n doom, the one along which the Consul is fleeing.  Nevertheless, h i s f a t e , too, i s a c r u c i f i x i o n ,  since, although g u i l t y , he i s y e t strangely innocent of the crime (spying) f o r which he d i e s .  Man, then, i n t h i s  human c r u c i f i x i o n , i s both the g u i l t y one and the s a c r i f i c i a l lamb.  Thrown on h i s own resources,' he must confront t h i s  i r r a t i o n a l i t y of h i s existence and, as C e r i l l o has admonished, " c e a s e l e s s l y struggle upward." (112)  Vera Cruz, "the true  cross," (308) as the Consul t r a n s l a t e s i t i n tones of i r o n y , the l i f e of absurd a c t i o n , rather than the cross of C h r i s t , i s the symbol of redemption i n the modern world. Therefore, i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that the novel i m p l i e s no hope of d i v i n e r e v e l a t i o n i n l i f e or death, of assurance of Prime Causes, or of knowledge of absolute t r u t h s . To the Consul's drunken ponderings and speculations, h i s e s c a p i s t l i f e answers only w i t h a dog's death a t the bottom of the barranca;  to Hugh's question, "Why were there  v o l c a n i c eruptions?" experience and l e a r n i n g provide only the answer that, "the whole t h i n g was a complete mystery still."  (242) To Yvonne's questions, the s t a r s give no  answer, as watching the c o n s t e l l a t i o n s , she envisions men of d i s t a n t generations:  87 — a l l t h i s , l o n g a f t e r s h e h e r s e l f was d e a d , men w o u l d s t i l l b e r e a d i n g i n t h e n i g h t sky,— w o u l d t h e y n o t , t o o , s t i l l be a s k i n g t h e h o p e l e s s e t e r n a l q u e s t i o n : t o what end? What f o r c e d r i v e s t h i s sublime c e l e s t i a l machinery? (323) The  constant  questioning  throughout the novel,  only  by s i l e n c e ,  reflects  who,  confronting  the universe,  answered  the awareness of the absurd  man,  comes t o t h e c o n c l u s i o n :  I d o n ' t know w h e t h e r t h i s w o r l d h a s a m e a n i n g that transcends i t . B u t I know t h a t I d o n o t know t h a t m e a n i n g a n d t h a t i t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r me j u s t n o w t o k n o w i t . . . . A n d t h e s e t w o c e r t a i n t i e s — my a p p e t i t e f o r t h e a b s o l u t e a n d f o r u n i t y a n d t h e i m p o s s i b i l i t y of reducing this world t o a r a t i o n a l and r e a s o n a b l e p r i n c i p l e - - I a l s o know t h a t I cannot r e c o n c i l e them. ^2  Under the Volcano never loses fact  o f human m o r t a l i t y .  much t o be d e s i r e d ; "supreme a b u s e " . ^ 2  insist.  women i n m o u r n i n g ,  celebrate  the fact.  action;  battlefields, in  radio  and  dead,  taining,  ceremonies  multitudes  proa l l  of the main  o f t h e human b r o t h e r h o o d d i e o n or i n accidents,  o r i n the memories and  of the characters.'  t u r n up everywhere. in:the  funeral  i n graveyards,  the period  i n natural catastrophies  reminders,  the  Y v o n n e a n d t h e p e a s a n t by  during  o r newspaper r e p o r t s  imaginations  Mourning b e l l s ,  The Consul,  die violently  while  condition  Death i s "absolutely necessary,"  cessions,  roadside  1% a  This, t o the Consul,  t o t h e a b s u r d man, H u g h , i t i s t h e  innumerable reminders  the  sight of the unassailable  form  Animals and i n s e c t s , Grim, but tasty o r of chocolate  dying  enter-  skulls,  marzipan  88 coffins, are  clockwork  s k e l e t o n s and  p a r t of the f e s t i v a l  Farolito, part  Tlaxcala,  by  express;  Besides a l l this evidence present  state  and,  corpse  hovering over a l l ,  e m p h a s i s on  physical  or s p i r i t u a l  of hope, however,  i s o n l y one  phase of  brings rebirth.  Mexican  fiesta  during which,  come a l i v e . '  day  funeral,  festive.  (6l)  a The  strong  i n the .unmistakable  in  juxtaposition  g i v e s way  f o r the  on This  the  as  also  i n the  Consul's of  suggestion  i n the  implication  that  faintly  of e v i l and  the  incongruous of the  o f hope  events.  inevit-  of the Dead,  signs of r e b i r t h  l i b e r a t i o n and  i s  i t i s believed,  bizarre mixture  of n a r r a t i v e  to the f o r c e s  year later, forth  i n the  i s not without i t s  e v e n t s , t h e Day  I t i s suggested  the c h i l d ' s  battle  vultures.  i n a l l the r e l i c s  T h i s cheering thought  of the  the  the  t h e c y c l e of nature, which  i n t h e day  the  being  there i s constant  death,  gloomy p r o s p e c t o f d e a t h  implied  and  important  are  death,  the  past.'  a l l e v i a t i n g note  of  Symbols of death,  i s continually  of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and  Even t h i s  ably  the  of d e a t h - i n - l i f e  Mexico's  death  trappings,-  i n skeleton cloaks,  t h e D o m i n o woman, p l a y a n  i n the n a r r a t i v e ;  shipped  dancers  dead details  mournful  i's c l e a r  i n Mexico, As  a  the  and and  Consul  d e a t h , Hugh p r e p a r e s  rebirth  of humanity, and  the wheel turns a g a i n , L a r u e l l e ,  too,  to one  goes  same m i s s i o n .  theme o f r e b i r t h  or eternal  recurrence i s  stressed  89 in  the form  of the n o v e l and  imagery and the b e l l s , political of  is  themes,  reiterated  throughout:  ground,  t h e end and  to the  expressed i n the of Chapter I .  the wash o f the f r e i g h t e r  wheel  of the c o n s t e l l a t i o n s , illustrated  in Laruelle's eccentric ride  farewell  orbit  round h i s house,"  physically,  spiritually,  At  r e t u r n and  back  this  to their  point  of " a f f i r m a t i o n  point,  of  the  great  characters: "an  to the  morning right,  of d e p a r t u r e , and,  [[his]  soul  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  rededication perhaps." the  theme  t h e t h o u g h t o f t h e a b s u r d b e g i n s t o emerge.  relationship  i s clearly  the perpetual mountain gains  turn always  printer's  machines  i n the  t o H u g h ' s e x h i l a r a t i n g moment o f  to h i s s t r u g g l e , (128)  of the  (29) and  "wheel"  of nature.  t o u r around Quauhnahuac,  i n w h i c h Hugh and Yvonne  coming,  the e t e r n a l wheel  i n the actions  idea  breaking  the curved shore, the r e v o l v i n g w o r l d , and  i s further  of  and  along  It  ferris  i n the  lights  sense  This  the use  fly-wheel  the c i r c l i n g  X I I —  storm,  add  e x t e n d e d by  the spinning  the b i c y c l e wheel,  the f a i r  the  t h e theme o f l o v e — a l l  at  by  i n Chapters I and  horse, the l e t t e r s ,  backward  constantly  shop,  Repetitions  which i s symbolically  turning  imagery  in  the w i l d  return,  wheel  action.  profusely.illustrated  emphasis  expressed l a t e r climb as a  symbol  through r e p e t i t i o n as  i n Hugh's use of l i f e .  of This  of  I t  i t i s expressed again  i n Yvonne's p e r c e p t i o n of the symbolic meaning  of the  events  90 in  the  bullring, i t s t r u c k h e r now t h e b u l l was l i k e  Her of  resume of the end,  Consul?).'  the b u l l - t h r o w i n g ,  w i t h the  of  renewed d e f i a n c e ending  finally, now  of  the  symbol of  the  the  clearly  summary  bull,  business  stopped  short  bull  (with  the  bull's  retreat  to the  h i s honourable bulls  delineates  this  l e d by  event as a  the m y t h i c a l Sisyphus, forever beginning again to  outline  the  true  battle  s p i r i t " — a  battle  believing  c o u l d be  recognizes as  "in a  struggle  p r e s e r v a t i o n of the  the Consul  waged  the absurd  push  Such symbolic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s  " f o r the  which  one  history  of  the mountain-side.'  and  common  the  r o c k up  pen,  defeat,  of  his  and  (the  the f i r s t  recurrence, the  Everyman f i g u r e ,  of  the f i r s t  of a l l the  theme o f e t e r n a l  composite  of  i n ignominious  second  the entrance  revived),  however,  capitulation  Completion  the a r r i v a l  t h a t t h i s whole a l i f e . (26l)  had  bottle,"  been deluded but which  human into  Hugh  a  struggle t h a t i m p l i e s a t o t a l a b s e n c e o f hope ( w h i c h h a s n o t h i n g t o do w i t h d e s p a i r ) , a c o n t i n u a l r e j e c t i o n ( w h i c h m u s t n o t be c o n f u s e d w i t h r e n u n c i a t i o n ) , and a c o n s c i o u s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n ( w h i c h m u s t n o t be c o n f u s e d w i t h i m m a t u r e unrest). ° 2  The to  relationship  the world  mation mined  of the  of nature  t o Camus to escape  1  i n Mexico  i d e a of from  a  three principal bears  t h e a b s u r d man.  reality  that  he  out  male c h a r a c t e r s  their approxiThe  sees as  Consul, deter"loathsome,  91 (210)  how i n c r e d i b l y l o a t h s o m e , " nihilism  and h i s escapism  either distorts  (339)  lyrical beauty  escapism about  spiritually attitude as  hostile see  i n the projected  these  behind  description  face  Toward  so s t i l l , "  (19)  nature,  the clear  i t s duality but or frightened  of a universe  he  that  (241-242), and L a r u e l l e ' s  of the mountains,  so c l o s e ,  He i s  of the r e a l i s t i c  Hugh's acknowledgment t h a t  the enigmatic  of  physical  t w o men p r o j e c t  by i t s beauty  with volcanic activity  yet  incapable  by L a r u e l l e a n d Hugh.  t o be d e l u d e d elements.  (43)  new l i f e .  o f t h e a b s u r d man, r e c o g n i z i n g  refusing  into  i n flights  the "unearthly"  toward a l l r e a l i t y ,  vision  or indulges  and emotionally  displayed  of nature  He  images and f e e l s drawn t o t h e "dark,,  places,  he e n v i s i o n s  both h i s  onto the n a t u r a l world.  the b e a u t i f u l things  demonic and t h r e a t e n i n g melancholy,"  projects  by i t s  cannot destroys perceptive  "so mysterious.... so withdrawn, both  suggest  awareness o f "that denseness and that  the absurd  strangeness  man's  of the  27 world." actions  A brief  to the absurdity  differing  signifying  himself  looking  Consul,  drunkenly,  of reality  a t t i t u d e s toward  ravine,  The  summary o f t h e t h r e e  i s suggested  the barranca.  This  symbolically,"the abyss 28  i n t o now,"  i s viewed  half-humorously, addresses  intellectualized  men's v a r y i n g r e -  distance  b y e a c h man  depths from  and confesses  precipitous  t h a t man  half-desperately,  i t s rotting  i n their  finds i n turn.  quite  h i s usual  i t s attraction.  92 Ah the f r i g h t f u l c l e f t , the e t e r n a l horror of opposites! Thou mighty g u l f , i n s a t i a t e cormorant, d e r i d e me n o t , t h o u g h I s e e m p e t u l a n t t o f a l l i n t o t h y chops. (134) I n marked c o n t r a s t T h e s e men refuse it  look  upon i t s dangers w i t h  L a r u e l l e takes  s i n i s t e r nature  the  c l e a r awareness, but  t o be cowed by f e a r o r e n g u l f e d  represents.  its  i s t h e a t t i t u d e o f L a r u e l l e o r o f Hugh.  i n the destruction  a coldly  and suggests  realistic  i t s symbolic  view of  meaning f o r  times: h e r e was f i n a l i t y i n d e e d , a n d c l e a v a g e ! Quauhnahuac was l i k e t h e t i m e s i n t h i s r e s p e c t , w h e r e v e r y o u t u r n e d t h e a b y s s was w a i t i n g f o r y o u r o u n d t h e c o r n e r . (21)  A  "lucid  awareness"  barranca more is  a n d o f human e x i s t e n c e  closely  approximating  the s p i r i t  overlooking the  defiance  destroy  and scorn  the  idea  to absurd  jump o n t o  of e v i l  the struggle and death  man  the parapet  His reckless action  t h a t mark  that  time  away  the Consul's  that  time  o f time  thought.  suggests  of the absurd  that  i n the novel  threaten  C l e a r l y expressed  last  away Hugh's y o u t h hours  of l i f e ,  i s no l o n g e r a c o n s t a n t ,  unity  has i m p l i c a t i o n s  i s a n enemy c a r r y i n g l i f e  whether i t i s rushing  without  b u t even  him.  The m a n i p u l a t i o n pertinent  of the  the a t t i t u d e of the absurd  (108)  the forces  reality  i s implied here,  i m p l i e d by Hugh's r a s h  the ravine.  rebel against to  of the threatening  or absolutes  are both  t o i t s end,  or slowly  "ticking"  and a l s o the sense  that  i n an absurd  i t , too, i s subject  world  t o change.  93 Hugh i s s t r u c k w i t h t h i s a p p a r e n t general  harangue  i n c o n s t a n c y d u r i n g the  s u r r o u n d i n g the d y i n g peasant,  as  he  thinks, a more a b s o l u t e d i s l o c a t i o n o f t i m e c o u l d n o t have been c r e a t e d . Y e t i t was n o t t h a t t i m e s t o o d s t i l l . Rather was i t t i m e was m o v i n g a t - d i f f e r e n t s p e e d s . (248) A  general implication  is  felt  by  the a c t i v i t y  with  the  town.  he and  of  rushes  movement s e n s e d  on,  has  "like  a  the f u t u r e  feels  compelled  s u r r o u n d i n g him.  slowness  he  hears  of i t s passage  r u n n i n g down, a l m o s t  small  become a w a r e  past  t o use  up  Like  suggests  stopped.  the day, that  The  h o l d i n g back,  Consul's  as  i f regretting  time  of  swimmer.  retreating unwind,"  every  moment,  of l a s s i t u d e  Hugh, the C o n s u l  throughout  of  period  "beginning to  but  implied  i s dying of  of  by  the  or the  sensation that  the approach  and  i s aware  t o him  slow s t r i k i n g  c l o c k a t a q u a r t e r t o e l e v e n g i v e s the is  suggested  i n e x o r a b l e progress of time, an awareness  the " t i c k i n g "  speeds  shark f o l l o w i n g a  becomes i m p a t i e n t w i t h the atmosphere  the  is  i n the  suddenly  i n the immediate  the d i s t a n c e and  instinctively  that  the y e a r s , the t w e l v e hour  Sensing events  lethargy of  runs a t d i f f e r e n t  change i n the f l a s h b a c k s , c o n t r a s t e d  F o r H u g h , who  passage  the n a r r a t i v e  into  and  slow, l e t h a r g i c  swift  (192)  time  i n t h e r a p i d movement o f t i m e  Mexican the  that  time  the  doom. But the c l o c k hadn't f i n i s h e d : i t struck m o r e , two w r y , t r a g i c n o t e s : blng-bong;: whirring. The e m p t i n e s s i n t h e a i r a f t e r with whispers: alas, alas (139-140)  twice filled  94 The  sense  of an almost  maintained (331)  hour"  throughout  i m p e r c e p t i b l e movement o f t i m e i s the Consul's  d u r i n g the day.  He  "public  enquiry of the  i s constantly  that  so l i t t l e  two,  " I t was a l r e a d y t h e l o n g e s t d a y i n h i s e n t i r e  ence, in  time has elapsed;  a lifetime."  the F a r o l i t o ,  (223)  at five  surprised  The l a s t  i s a n expanded  hour,  that  (369),  suggested  platoon (353)  s t i l l  i s "mescal-drugged" by t h e f r e e z i n g  seemed t o b b e  c o n t r a s t sue; s t r a n g e l y  aster, each  time  signified  brief  similar Consul's  the rapid  instance  a b s u r d man  approach events  period. period  minutes  the paucity  s u g g e s t i n g how r a p i d l y  i n h i s desire  The  Consul's  ( " t h e same  of horrific  i s e v i d e n t between t h i s  o f Hugh a n d Yvonne,  o f Hugh's  ragged  a c r o s s t h e square'.'),  e x p e r i e n c e a n d t h e same s i x t y  experience latter  by t h e c r o w d i n g  experi-  or "paralyzed"  of events  marching with  (364)  to  s i x t o seven,  of time.  five-minute or fifteen-minute  contrast  from  illustration  u n s p o k e n comment on t h e " d i s l o c a t i o n " sense  minutes  of disinto  A i n the  i n the  of events  time  i n the  eludes the  t o "use up e v e r y t h i n g t h a t i s  29 given." of  time  which  The t o t a l suggests  both  t h e a b s u r d man  condition understand  effect  of t h i s  the evanescence and the d u a l i t y p e r c e i v e s t o be a n " a b s o l u t e l y  of a l l things o r t o reduce  necessary"  i n a u n i v e r s e he c a n n e v e r hope t o to a rational  Hugh, c o n c l u d i n g h i s v i s i o n mountain climb with  s k i l f u l manipulation  order.  of l i f e  the brightening  as a  thought,  perilous "only,  while  95 the rope (185) at  slipped  seems t o e x p r e s s  times  admitted  the attitude  with the Consul's  humour on f i r s t  reading,  t h e human s p i r i t The o b v i o u s  parity  between the aura  borracho"  t h a t he p r e s e n t s  as "funny",  i n t o Hugh's p a s t , scene,  latter,  w i t and comic  such  the shaving  language  particularly  episodes  scene,  crops  This  keep  t h a t Lowry episode,  a racy,  other  "breaking has flashback's  ironic  of a s i t u t i o n ,  throughout,  i n the Consul's  style  and, i n  i n the manipulation  humorous d e x t e r i t y  up p e r s i s t e n t l y  effective  "muy  a n d t h e h u m o r o u s menu  two, from aspects  Consul  b u t many  spirit  an extraordinary f a c i l i t y  of words f o r comic e f f e c t . the  'strength  o f one  else,  as the Taskerton  the r i d i c u l o u s  from  there,  with which the  t o everyone  derives, i n the f i r s t  that captures  to cloud  man's d e f i a n c e o f h i s  and the p i c t u r e  The humour o f i n d i v i d u a l  labelled  the  of dignity  the author's  Although  tends  the unconquerable  still  o f humour i s t h e l u d i c r o u s d i s -  he i s s u r r o u n d e d  instance^of in."  source  bleak,  i ti s irrepressibly  both  who,  in."30  gloomy f a t e  and the absurd  fate.  imagines  to laugh,"  of the author,  to "cheerfulness always breaking  d e c l a r i n g by i t s presence of  sometimes time  w h e n h i s own p r o s p e c t s w e r e e x t r e m e l y  preoccupation the  t h e r e was  little  with  and i s extemporary  rhymes and i n h i s s e r i o - c o m i c d e s c r i p t i o n s o f t h e c o m p l i c a tions horror  of h i s disease. of d.t.'s  take  Even the pain of a hangover and the on a wry humour when d e s c r i b e d a s :  96 and i n c o n c e i v a b l e a n g u i s h o f h o r r i p i l a t i n g hangover thunderclapping about h i s s k u l l , (129) galloping proustian Finally,  cockroaches. And the polygonous stare of imaginary scorpions. (178)  the author's' preposterous  comparisons and  brilliant  but devastating thumbnail  appearing  with a spontaneity  of  pessimism  institution complete  o f Cambridge  the impossibility  couldn't  doppelganger-^ or the c i t y  keep  take  anything,  to the venerable  1  he d e t e s t e d ,  with  seriousness.  There  i s even a suggestion  i s a n "outward and v i s i b l e pressible  that the novel as a  symbol"  of this  sense o f humour, t h a t t h e a u t h o r  t h a t most sacred in  that suggests  i n o n e who a p p a r e n t l y  from h i s d i s i n t e g r a t i n g  sketches  of cows—his  a possibility  episode  with the  irre-  i s gently  own c r e a t i o n .  discussing the Tlaxcala folder  h i n t s a t such  wry and  whole  Lowry  satirizing  himself,  i n C h a p t e r X;;t  statement:  the constant r e p e t i t i o n o f churrigueresque " o f a n o v e r l o a d e d s t y l e " seemed t o be a s u g g e s t i o n t h a t t h e b o o k was s a t i r i z i n g i t s e l f . 3 2  Perhaps, his to  novel,  philosophy  has d e l i b e r a t e l y  t h e work i t s e l f  deluded  reflect  the author  has d e l i b e r a t e l y  satirize  race to  then,  with  ideas  made i t p r e t e n t i o u s , i n o r d e r as the creation of a  o f grandeur,  s a t i r i c a l l y the Consul's and importance.  embroidered and extended  "overloaded"  human  a n d , more  specifically,  pretensions  to learning,  The s u r f a c e n a r r a t i v e i s so  by a seemingly  endless  proliferation  97 of  interrelated  symbols and mythic  allusions,  extreme d e n s i t y o f meaning and suggestiveness This  technique  purpose  o f i n c l u d i n g many l e v e l s  Nevertheless in  i s obviously related  this  the almost  novel  suggests,  ascending  into  intellectual Consul's  drama—his his of  as  the Consul's,  of i m a g i n a t i v e phantasy Similarly,  a n d by reality  or  the portrayal  obsession with the "greatness"  the world  of the  classical  o f h i ss t r u g g l e ,  f o rthe d e s t r u c t i v e d e s i r e s and  he i s g u i l t y ,  the symbolic  the inexorable approach a satiric  valid, mirrors  exaggeration  then  life!"  the s a t i r i c  so doing,  penetrate  of l i f e ,  I f such  of "the importance  a hypothesis i s  work o f a r t i t s e l f  t h a t i s a t work w i t h i n , a n d ,  through  o f hope Q  sounding f pathos  from  the absurd  this  a n d humour,  protest and a f f i r m a t i o n ,  esoterically  which  t o come t o g r i p s w i t h  serious absurdity"^3 poetry,  (89)  interpreted  i m p l i e s a p r o t e s t a g a i n s t the pretensions and  i n order  The note  portents of disaster,  of h i s illusion  process  rationalizations  o f h i s doomr>-might b e  the novel as an entire  artificialities  and  resulting  to avoid confronting  day w i t h a l l the trappings of  of a drunkard's  in  o f meaning i n h i s w r i t i n g .  by example,  flights  stated  b l i n d n e s s t o h i s own h u b r i s e v i d e n t i n h i s i n d i c t m e n t  of which and  to the author's  allusiveness  abstraction.  last  i s achieved.  exaggerated  e x t e n s i o n , mankind's tendency by  that an  although  man  must  reality. "gruesome a n d s a t i r e and somewhat  d e s c r i b e d by t h e a u t h o r a s  vaguely  "transcendent"  98 and  "universal^"-'  life It  proves  i n t h i s world as  i s founded  on a  t h e human s p i r i t  t o be  i s the  as  and  justified and  o f Hugh and  o t h e r s who  Hugh's s t r u g g l e i s a  urge  and  follow  lonely and  But, one,  o f c o m p a s s i o n f o r human s u f f e r i n g ,  full  knowledge  lies  i n the  that  he  strange  struggle itself,  the n o v e l  i n conscious  i m m o r t a l f c t y , no standing  of  upward  of  these  in  the n o v e l , l i e s  the  behind  conscious  to the  as  imperfection,  i t s only of  die."35  on  in  reward  "exaltation"  For  hope o r r e w a r d  present;  i n the  no  the beyond  eternal  of  evil,  no  underor  continuing struggle spirits,  recurrence and  f u t u r e of which the a u t h o r t u r n s on  this  personal  compassionate  "transcendent"  c y c l e of Nature  self-  in  the u n i v e r s e , i s promised  and  theme o f the  and  the problem  Nevertheless,  relation  that as  of  of  w o r d s o f Camus, i n , " t h a t  live  i n the  characters  carried  i n t h a t sense  i m p l i e s no  solution  in  hope f o r the  one  living  the Force  even suggested.'  futility;  o r , i n the  joy that helps  individual, joy  i t s probable  fleeting  conceived  and  of  inasmuch  the world's  born  experiences,  Consul's  i n h i s path  compassion.  human a n d  rebel.  aspire.  c l e a r l y a f f i r m e d i n the  p e r s o n a l a w a r e n e s s o f h i s own  of  to  even i n the  moments o f l u c i d i t y ,  consciouness,  i n human  i n the d u r a b i l i t y  i t s instinctive  of those  rooted  hope o f Camus' a b s u r d  steadfast belief  Such belief.is f a i n t l y  honesty,  firmly  seen  emphasized  "universal"  speaks:  eternally,  the and  hope  99  humanity and compassion are reborn i n such i s o l a t e d of succeeding generations,  the s p i r i t of man may  be ennobled, the sum of humanity may i n t h i s way,  warriors  gradually  be increased,  and,  the i l l n e s s , " i n that part used to be c a l l ;  s o u l , " (148) may  be cured.  Such a h o p e — l i m i t e d , human,  and p o s s i b l e — f i n d s an echo i n the absurd r e b e l ' s prophecy f o r the f u t u r e : With t h i s joy, through long s t r u g g l e , we remake the soul of our time.36  shall  FOOTNOTES -'-Malcolm L o w r y , U n d e r t h e V o l c a n o ( H a r m o n d s w o r t h : P e n g u i n , 1963) , p . 5 1 . ^ S u b s e q u e n t q u o t a t i o n s from t h e n o v e l w i l l be from t h i s e d i t i o n a n d w i l l be a c k n o w l e d g e d by page number w i t h i n p a r e n t h e s e s i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w i n g ] ] M a l c o l m Lowry, S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s o f Malcolm Lowry. ed. H a r v e y B r e i t a n d M a r g e r i e B o n n e r L o w r y (New Y o r k : L i p p i n c o t t , 1 9 6 5 ) , P. 9 0 . 2  3lbid.  t  p. 63.  M a l c o l m L o w r y , D a r k a s t h e G r a v e W h e r e i n My F r i e n d i s L a i d , e d . D o u g l a s D a y a n d M a r g e r i e L o w r y ( T o r o n t o , 1968), I n t r o d u c t i o n , p. i . ^Lowry, S e l e c t e d  6lbid.,  p.  7lbid.,  P. 3 9 .  8lbid.,  P.  9lbid.,  P. 2 0 0 .  pp. 13,  15.  63.  64.  187.  lOlbid'.,  P.  Hlbid.,  P. 2 0 0 .  l Ibid.,  P.  2  Letters,  144.  l ^ G e r m a i n e B r e e , e d Camus ( E n g l e w o o d C l i f f s , N . J . : P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1964), I n t r o d u c t i o n , p . 7. v  l^Camus, The Myth  !5lbid.,  Ibid.,  7  p.  41.  Letters,  p. 60.  75.  l C a m u s , The Myth 8  p.  p. 41.  l^Lowry, Selected 1  of Sisyphus,  of Sisyphus,  p. 50.  ^ L o w r y , S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s ^ p . 199. [Lest such a p a s s a g e s h o u l d be c o n s t r u e d a s v o i c i n g a M a r x i s t o r a n y p o l i t i c a l , hope f o r t h e f u t u r e , s e e L o w r y ' s s t a t e m e n t :  100  101 " I d i d n ' t mean i t [ t h e n o v e l } t o s u g g e s t t h a t theffuture belongs t o those Mexican workers n e c e s s a r i l y , o r indeed t o a n y b o d y a t a l l , u n l e s s some t r u e c h a r i t y c a n m e d i a t e , a n d man's d e c e n c y a n d d i g n i t y be r e e s t a b l i s h e d . ' J  20camus,  The R e b e l ,  2lLowry, Selected Ibid.,  2  2  3 l b i d . , P. 85.  Letters,  p. 69.  Camus, The M y t h o f S i s y p h u s ,  2  5 i b i d . , p . 66.  2  6  2  7 l b i d . , P. 1 1 .  2 8  297.  p. 81  2  2£,,  p.  Ibid.,  p.  38.  23.  Lowry, Selected  Letters,  p.  9camus,  The Myth o f S i s y p h u s ,  30Lowry,  Selected  2  p.  Letters,  68. p. 4 4 .  p. 2 4 .  31F.L.Lucas, L i t e r a t u r e a n d P s y c h o l o g y . (Ann Arbor, 1 9 6 2 ) , p. 9 0 . Lucas describes the doppelg&nger h a l l u c i n a t i o n ! " I t seems t o c o n s i s t i n a i p r o j e c t i o n o u t w a r d o f h a l f t h e p e r s o n a l i t y - sometimes the b e t t e r s e l f . . . . a n d sometimes the worse. 3 Lowry, Selected 2  33ibid.  t  Letters,  p. 8 1 . 80.  ^Ibid.',  p.  35camus.  The R e b e l ,  3  6  Ibid.,  p.  306.  p.  306.  p. 8 2 .  CHAPTER I I I Catch-22 Joseph  to arms:  H e l l e r ' s novel, Catch-22, i s a m i l i t a n t c a l l  the b a t t l e hymn of the j e t age.- The story of a  r e l u c t a n t airman i n a s o c i e t y that has buried God, i t i s propelled by an aggressive energy that destroys to b u i l d again.  With unerring p r e c i s i o n , the author b l a s t s away  the l a y e r s of camouflage that hide the corrupt and i r r a t i o n a l core of modern i d e a l s and i n s t i t u t i o n s .  A t the same time,  he e x a l t s the r e b e l l i o u s s p i r i t of one man who refuses to s a c r i f i c e h i s i n d i v i d u a l humanity t o the forces that annihilation.  threaten  The whole novel shouts with the d e f i a n t courage  of the absurd man: I e s t a b l i s h my l u c i d i t y i n the midst of what negates i t . I e x a l t man before what crushes him. 1  This s t r i p p i n g down of appearances must begin with the outward semblance of the novel i t s e l f .  Superficially, i t  i s a r o l l i c k i n g , R a b e l a i s i a n f a r c e , but underneath i t s f a n t a s t i c e x t e r i o r i t i s p r i m a r i l y concerned with d e a t h — a l l kinds of death, p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l — d e a t h by m i s s i l e , water, f i r e , and death by report.  Furthermore, i t i s  o s t e n s i b l y a war novel, concerned-, with .thex fate of a i r force personnel on the I s l a n d of Pianosa i n the l a t t e r days of the Second World War.  E v e n t u a l l y , however, i t expands  i n t o a story of the whole dilemma of man. 102  Twenty-seventh  103 Air  F o r c e Command  for  omnipotent a u t h o r i t y ,  the  bomber crews w i t h i n l i m i t s  restricts  their  provides  a useful i n that  freedom,  objective correlative  i t confines  of orders  subjects  of social  evil  Milo Minderbinder/ profit ized  broadens with  as the threat  and l o s s philosophy  depersonalization.  of an i n t e n s e  c e r t a i n death. the "success"  of world  implies  reality  the gradual i n the novel  new s i g n i f i c a n c e t o a b o m b a d i e r ' s r e v o l t a g a i n s t authority. of  will to  struggle  toward  the " l u c i d  h i slife,  a n d make a c t i o n  novel  presence  reveals  of  general-  recognition gives  visible  manifestation  restore  that purpose  with  death  that  mind, morbidly d w e l l i n g  upon and  t o graphic  fears.  I n t h e n a r r a t i v e , n u m e r o u s men d i e i n c o m b a t :  go  Clevinger,  with  them.  cat;  i t most  D o b b s , S n o w d e n , a n d many w h o l e c r e w s  Others d i e i n l e s s orthodox fashion:  Sampson i s s l i c e d flies  a n d h o r r i f y i n g images t h e t h i n g  suggests  turning  Kraft,  i n h a l f by a n a e r o p l a n e  i n t o a mountain;  thrown o u t t h e window.  propeller;  Hungry J o e i s s u f f o c a t e d  a n d t h e "homely maid"  a  possible.  an obsession  of a neurotic  story of  awareness"  l i b e r a t e him from p a r a l y z i n g a n x i e t y ,  This the  H i s r e b e l l i o n becomes a n e x t e r n a l  h i sinner  The  d o m i n a t i o n by t h e  t h e imminence  Ultimately,  psychological  missions,  them t o I n j u s t i c e a n d  i n h u m a n i t y , a n d s e n d s them t o a l m o s t vision  and  the lives of  i n the officers'  Others,  like  Nately, who  Kid McWatt  by Huple's  apartment i s  the " s o l d i e r i n white,"  104 "the  soldier  Halfoat, these,  who  die  i n the  there  Yossarian's  saw  are  the  everything  t w i c e , " and  comparative  s a f e t y of  nameless  t h o u s a n d s who  macabre r e v e r i e s .  As  Chief  White  hospital. die  Yossarian  Beyond  in  broods  on  death— A t n i g h t w h e n he w a s t r y i n g t o s l e e p , Y o s s a r i a n w o u l d c a l l t h e r o l l o f a l l t h e men, women a n d c h i l d r e n he h a d e v e r k n o w n who w e r e now dead... The number o f d e a d p e o p l e J u s t seemed t o i n c r e a s e . . . D e a t h was i r r e v e r s i b l e , he s u s p e c t e d , a n d he b e g a n t o t h i n k he was g o i n g t o l o s e — it  becomes e v i d e n t  that  his excessive  nature sea a  becomes a  i n f r o n t of  cramp i n the  rain  before  spread  of  r e c o r d i n g mind  f e a r i s dominating  the  is his,  the  campsite  "could  "Big Siege  atmosphere  gulp  eye."  of  down a  (18)  of Bologna,"  and  narrative.  p o t e n t i a l murderer i n h i s eyes:  t w i n k l i n g o f an  the  the  t h a t the  he  In  Even  the  blue  person  the  with  endless  senses a  pervasive  death.  The c l i n g i n g , o v e r p o w e r i n g c o n v i c t i o n o f d e a t h spread s t e a d i l y w i t h the c o n t i n u i n g r a i n f a l l s o a k i n g m o r d a n t l y I n t o e a c h man's a i l i n g c o u n t e n a n c e l i k e t h e c o r r o s i v e b l o t f r o m some c r a w l i n g disease. (112) Frightful linger  images of  i n h i s mind.  spilled He  "guts"  can't  and  forget  putrefying  flesh  that,  K i d S a m p s o n ' s s k i n n y l e g s had w a s h e d up on t h e wet sand t o l i e t h e r e and ^ r o t l i k e a p u r p l e t w i s t e d w i s h b o n e . (354-355) His  imagination dwells  carcasses  of  suicides,  on who  such gruesome s i g h t s as jump o u t  of  hotel  the  windows,  t o l a n d w i t h a h i d e o u s p l o p i on t h e s i d e w a l k and d i e d i s g u s t i n g l y t h e r e i n p u b l i c l i k e an  mangled  105 alpaca sack f u l l of h a i r y b l e e d i n g , pink toes awry. Combined w i t h  his physical  terrifying  fear  individual  spirit.  The  " t h e y were out  first,  that  s t r a w b e r r y i c e cream, (171)  revulsion,  i s the even  more  d e a t h means t h e a n n i h i l a t i o n Snowdon's d e a t h b r i n g s two (177)  t o g e t him,"  of h i s  messages.  i s revealed  i  midway t h r o u g h one  written  almost  the  h i s own  experience ality in  as an  humanity  and  vitality,  i n this military  i s added  of this  the fear  double  hooked up  to a  and  jars,  i s dead  horrifying  i s held  back  until  one he  in life,  men  become a n x i o u s  the  inanimate presence  of the  realizes that  from his  Each  sense his  individu=  annihilation  "not-being" i n l i f e .  "soldier-in that  he  The  white" i s an  faces.  This  i n t a k e - o u t p u t system kept  functioning  means, so dead  scarcely; noticed.  full  t i m e he  or hysterical.  that  among them, b u t  of  tubes  passing  i n the ward  t r y to joke their  pulleys  non-human  his actual  appears They  on a  ominous  sterile  by m e c h a n i c a l w e i g h t s and  sterile  scientific  of  threat  and  is  more  to h i s horror of  of the  positioned  by  and  bureaucracy  Thus,  mummy f i g u r e ,  level  entrails  i n t e l l i g e n t man,  r e c u r r e n t appearance symbol  the second  end: Man was m a t t e r , t h a t was S n o w d e n ' s s e c r e t . Drop him out a window and h e ' l l f a l l . Set f i r e to him and h e ' l l burn. B u r y him and h e ' l l r o t l i k e other k i n d s of garbage. (450)  i s threatened.  death  but  i n his scattered  Furthermore, of  the n o v e l ; .  feeble  the;  about attempts  106 at  h u m o u r — o n e man's s u g g e s t i o n  there a t a l l , and of  another's  that there  t h a t t h e two  jars  the middleman e l i m i n a t e d — a r e merely their  i s no  body  be h o o k e d vocal  up  expressions  uneasiness. They gathered s o b e r l y I n the f a r t h e s t r e c e s s e s of the ward and gossiped about him i n m a l i c i o u s , offended undertones, r e b e l l i n g against h i s presence as a g h a s t l y i m p o s i t i o n and r e s e n t i n g him m a l e v o l e n t l y f o r t h e n a u s e a t i n g t r u t h o f w h i c h he w a s a b r i g h t r e m i n d e r . (172)  This  lingering  actual in  event  preoccupation with death—the  and  life—suggests  terrible  The religious  A t t h e same t i m e ,  of absurd  shattering  belief  and p r a c t i c e s  nature  i t points t o the  f e a r of death.  powerful Being. j u s t God, immortal  of the i l l u s i o n s  i s "the  I n one  the i d e a l  t h a t have b r e d  of h i s characteristic o f God  blunderer."  This burst of  occurred during the period of Yossarian's  training, rejected  indicates the i d e a l  t h a t by t h i s  time  diatribes, a l l a  "colossal,  invective, cadet  he h a d q u e s t i o n e d  o f a good, omnipotent D i v i n i t y .  i s more s u b t l y  Yossarian's  o f "a good God,  he d e n o u n c e s Him a s a  (184-185)  suggests  as a m e r c i f u l and  R e f u t i n g the i l l u s i o n  a m e r c i f u l God,"  surrounding  i n the modern w o r l d ,  of the a n x i e t i e s  he a t t a c k s d i r e c t l y  ideal  by  r e c o g n i t i o n s : that death  thorough  probable  which  humanity  abuse."3  supreme  morbid  of individual  the n e u r o s i s o f a mind ravaged  anxieties.  most i n e s c a p a b l e  the  the f e a r of loss  horror of the  u n d e r m i n e d when God's m e r c y ,  This power  and  107 and  g o o d n e s s become o n l y a m a t t e r  says  t h a t he  before  he  had  t h a t God  This  deadly  dead  soldier's  "upstairs" does not to  be  was  cadet on  training,  h i s s i d e and  t h a t He  f a t h e r gives f o r wanting  about  people  dying  good."  (191)  [italics  damaging enough,  i s evoked  i n the  cription  of Yossarian capriciously  crossing  out  w o u l d be  he  had  i n the a  As  been  reason  complaint  is  i f the  over  all-powerful.  ite i s sure  Image o f a  glib,  Yossarian  was  b e c a u s e He  minej  the  brief,  young:  on,  war  because  subtlety i s operative again  know what i s g o i n g  were n o t God  been c o n f i d e n t t h a t the  finished  told  of heresay.  the filed  that  God  "supposed innuendoes  careless, destructive  superficially  comic  censoring letters  desby  addresses,  annihilating entire metropolises with careless f l i c k s o f h i s w r i s t a s t h o u g h he w e r e G o d . (8) Having t h u s and  p r o t e c t i v e God,  against He  undermined  the a u t h o r  comforting initiates  ideal  of a  his big  their  b e l i e v e r and own  ends of  the  presence  expedient  lipservice total  ignorance  t h e i r attempt "success." of a  they  take  his  presence  care by  by  C o l o n e l s C a t h c a r t and the  station,  some " l i a i s o n  to obviate  housing  him  institution.  senior  o f what i t s i g n i f i e s  t o make i t k n u c k l e  c h a p l a i n on  to maintain  but  paid to r e l i g i o n  the  with  as  ranks,  to  a  under to Korn they  they  their  tolerate feel i t  the Lord,"  discomfort  good  campaign  h y p o c r i t i c a l ' a l l e g i a n c e to a meaningless  a t t a c k s the  showing  the  (206)  feel  i n q u a r t e r s f a r removed  in  from  108 their  own.  The  "Great B i g Bombing"  of r e l i g i o u s hypocrisy  comes i n C o l o n e l C a t h c a r t ' s i n t e r v i e w w i t h regarding which a  h i s plans f o r Prayers at Briefing,  i s to ensure  s p o t i n The  these  They are not  the g r e a t e s t  death  good,  Paradoxically good and  offer help  faith.  attempts  horrible  "a  tighter  enough,  who  "heavy  delivers  this  selfish  going into  battle. him;  (196)  o r sad" for  (197)  the c h a p l a i n , the  c o u p de  has  His futile  no  a  grace inartic-  attempts  H i s own  the  comfort  w h e n t h e y come t o h i m  c a n g i v e them o n l y C o k e .  of  hypocrisy arouses  religion  but  proposed  weakness of h i s f u m b l i n g and  perhaps  depress  idea  their  bomb p a t t e r n . "  that  the airmen he  The  whole  but must p e t i t i o n  i t i s perhaps  of  s e a t i n Heaven,  The  such  or salvation,  t o oppose  suspicion  t o men  counsel,  t o t o u c h on  chaplain  the object  t h e i r m o t i v e s and  c o n s c i e n t i o u s man,  to moribund  not a  Saturday Evening Post.  themes a s God,  ulate  i t s instigator,  prayers i s farcical,  content.  the  doubts  to  to for depress  him. He w a s p i n c h e d p e r s p i r i n g l y i n t h e e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l dilemma of the s k e p t i c , unable t o a c c e p t s o l u t i o n s t o p r o b l e m s he was u n w i l l i n g dismiss as unsolvable. (275) His  officiation  at funerals  depresses  to  him.  To s i m u l a t e g r a v i t y , f e i g n g r i e f and p r e t e n d supecnaturail; i n t e l l i g e n c e of the h e r e a f t e r i n §o f e a r s o m e a n d a r c a n e a c i r c u m s t a n c e a s d e a t h seemed t h e m o s t c r i m i n a l o f o f f e n s e s . (279) He  knows t h a t h i s f u n e r a l  "gaseous  murmur"  (270)  oration  that  i s n o t h i n g more t h a n  reaches  the ears of the  the  naked  109 man  i n the tree.  Ironically,  remembered v i s i o n  of this  when he i s a l m o s t r e a d y This  naked  figure that  phenomena" t o t h e s o u l h u n g r y  such things as these,  cotton  by a s o u l l e s s entrepreneur,  dispossessed  whole  that  this  The  being  hilarious  chocolate-coated  to return  reduction  i s left  a solacing belief beyond  to his trailer  i n a Divine  Plan  hearsay acceptance  of the ideal against  on of a  against of  the idea  inability  inference  total  effect,  to find  evidence  seems t o a g r e e w i t h  than a simple  of His existence. Camus'  good  lip-service,  ministers—  less a victorious  o f a Supreme B e i n g ,  religion—  a stupid or des-  t h e t o r t u r i n g d o u b t s o f one o f t h e L o r d ' s i n their  or the  the grave.  the r e v o l t of the intelligence  suggest,  the  s t a r i n g death i n  t r o y i n g God, t h e u t t e r m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s o f p u b l i c and  mani-  religion,  damaging i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h i s a t t a c k  mindless  unshaven,  of divine  of revealed  t u m b l e s , a n d man  hope o f l i f e  fed  of D i v i n i t y .  are miracles  or a dirty,  promising  prop the i d e a l  without  comforting  God,  With  structure  face  i n a tree  journalist  winter!  festations  the  and h i s c a l l i n g .  f o r proof  implies the author,  a naked airman  the  s u s t a i n s him  t o renounce h i s f a i t h  made:  by  i ti s his half-  v i s i o n a n d t h e w o r d s o f t h e " p r o p h e t " P l u m e become  "mystic Of  though,  declamation admission This  conclusion:  I d o n ' t know w h e t h e r t h i s w o r l d h a s a m e a n i n g that transcends i t . B u t I know t h a t I do n o t know t h a t meaning, a n d t h a t i t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r me j u s t n o w t o k n o w i t .  110 Both probing^: give  the of  the  whole  some i n k l i n g  Yossarian*s the  comic r e d u c t i o n  of  mind.  i d e a l of a  idea the  of  and  struggle  Obviously,  he  left  him  destructive level,  toward  the  the  s t u p i d i t y and  a l l - p o w e r f u l but  frustrates  his  situation,  becomes a  and  uncertain.  face of A  Hung up  evil  at  passionately f e e l i n g s of  the  at  the  time  acutely decay  of  neurotic.  i s one  on  "blundering,  c r u e l t y of  on  the  an  two  horns,  i s no  external  "Catch-22," constantly  from a  dangerous  asserts  Divine his  right  of  consciousness  he  he  i s torn apart  with  God,  he  extroverted doubt;  where they  cause  m a i n a c t i o n , he His  unnatural  manifestation.  no  order,  feels guilty man,  he  but  they  he  must  tries  and  has  obsession i s an  dismiss  r e m a i n on  obviously with  hope  uncertain.  to  so much s t r i f e  Another  1 1  visible  Command.  consciously  same t i m e ,  g u i l t and  the  rote,  w i t h o u t reason„and d e a t h w i t h o u t  alive,  submerged.; l e v e l ,  by  destruction  i s projected,  deeper l e v e l  I f there  f a c t of  eternity;  his  a  he  of  had  symbol of a l l a u t h o r i t y , both  Although  conflicts: the  of a  e f f o r t s to extricate himself  terrestrial.  inner  only  inscrutable d i r e c t i v e that  to defy authority, at is  rejection  d e a t h and  Twenty-Seventh A i r Force  Divinity  within  w h i c h he  implied,  negation  universal Authority  authority, the  His  Absolute  his declared  good, a l l - p o w e r f u l D e i t y ,  overseas.  serious  taking place  i l l - p r e p a r e d f o r the  encounters  deeply  r e l i g i o n and  p r e v i o u s l y accepted, even I f , as has  the  a  that, become  death  and  equally hysterical  I l l fear and r e b e l l i o n body.  p r o j e c t e d toward  Consequently,  aspects  both-the  of the authoritative  heightened  the external  governing  ridiculous and the sinister i n s t i t u t i o n a r e immensely  a s they a r e viewed by t h i s  temporarily  irrational  mind. Twenty-seventh A i r Force this  hysterical  airman,  dehumanizing machine never approached. petent  officers,  Command, a s i t a p p e a r s t o  i sa soulless,  death-directed,  t h a t c a n n e v e r be s a t i s f i e d a n d  This  establishment  whose o n l y  identity  i s staffed  i sa uniform,  d u t i e s a r e n o n - e x i s t e n t ; a n d whose p r e t e n s i o n s and of  achievement prove their  insatiable  t o be n o t h i n g more  bomb p a t t e r n " ( w h i c h  i s t o send  Colonel Cathcart's ledger  war  enemy.  so d e s i g n a t e d Cathcart's although  only consistently  over  positive  "tighter  General and  entry  i n h i s  i n My C a p " i s t h e  those  required.  Their  the personal, not the national, enemy  i s General  b y name o n t h e o p e r a t i o n s map;  a t times  Colonel  o u t p l a t i t u d i n o u s memoranda;  Peckham's r e a l  enemy  manifestations  o f t h e bombing r a i d s ) ;  i s d i r e c t e d toward  General  importance  means n o t h i n g , a n d a c t u a l l y  i n bombing m i s s i o n s  effort  may b e .  really  o f "Black Eyes" and "Feathers  increase  to  i s t h e c o i n i n g o f t h e term,  the efficiency  Dreedle's  than  incomwhose  d e s i r e f o r self-advancement.  Peckham's a c h i e v e m e n t  reduces  by  i s whatever general he h a s d e p r e s s i n g  Dreedle,  Colonel..  i s n o t on h i s s i d e , f e a r s t h a t n e i t h e r one  112 Under the men  are  soulless  completely  domination  s t r i p p e d of  Compared w i t h the  only  and  nothing.  suffering are  of  this  identity  reality, As  the  establishment,  and  humanity.  " r e p o r t , " human  Colonel Cathcart explains:  " I d o n ' t g i v e a d a m n a b o u t t h e men o r t h e plane. I t ' s j u s t t h a t i t l o o k s so l o u s y the report."(42) The  a i r c r e w s become mere c o g s  machine, and a  their  mimeographed  "Dear Mrs., the  the  bizarre  life  and  death  dies a  "paper"  tent,"  (111)  not  been  on  (who  really  bizarre  but  exaggerated  view  of  new  by  beginning,  (354)  Mrs."  only  A  sense  of  inhuman o r g a n i z a t i o n i s d e r i v e d i n which  i t confers  members.  Mudd, " t h e  Doc  d e a d man  drags  on a  the a p p r o p r i a t e  official Daneeka  i n Yossarian' "paper"  forms have  or  hav  completed.  one,  as  and  i s dead)  simply because  frightening  story  and  officially  condolence,  i t s subordinate  inhuman power of  exerted  this  situations  death,  Yossarian's and  o r Mr.  power of  from  existence,  Miss  of  aeroon  i n a vast destructive  i s mourned  form l e t t e r  Mr.,  limitless  passing  life  by  vision  the m i l i t a r y  the  official  establishment  the  "M rise  become mess o f f i c e r ,  and  M  from  is a  destructive force  Syndicate." small  to riches,  power t h a t c o n t r o l s even the  nonentity  i s his grossly  i r r e s p o n s i b l e and  of M i l o M i n d e r b i n d e r ' s  world-wide  the  even more a l a r m i n g  B i g Business:  pilot  of  The  beginnings, fame  and  government,  is  113 the  typical  grotesque frenzied  "success  s t o r y " blown up t o l u d i c r o u s and  proportions.  I n the process  exaggeration,  a l l the immorality and d e s t r u c t i v e -  ness hidden by p u b l i c a l l y z a t i o n s a r e exposed. a  short  step  traffic cutest  accepted  from d e a l s  pink  good b u s i n e s s  To M i l o , t h e b o m i n quarter  i n a l l commodities, little  of Yossarian*s  dealer,  bed sheets  For  h i m , t h e a p p l i c a t i o n o f good b u s i n e s s  dioxide bridge and  a t Orvieta a t cost  plus  s i xper cent  Everything  l o s s p h i l o s o p h y — " W h a t ' s good  i§ g o o d f o r t h e c o u n t r y " the business  rationalization His he  pious  contract. that  t o swindling the and  carbon-  from  defenders  t h e enemy t o  from p e t t y l a r c e n y t o  mass d e s t r u c t i o n a n d m u r d e r i s j u s t i f i e d  of  leads  t o e l i m i n a t i n g the middle-man, t h e  government, a l t o g e t h e r .  and  (381)  j a c k e t s , t o bombing t h e  a t t a c k e r s , t o making a contract with  bomb h i s own s t a t i o n ,  Institution.  i n the F i r s t A i dkits  cyrllnders i n the l i f e  to  principles  swindling a thief with dates,  government o u t o f morphia  to internatinal  saw," (253)  paper panties you ever  s e c o n d P i l t d o w n Man" f o r t h e S m i t h s o n i a n  from  i ti s only  from baby lamb chops " i n t h e  "a  normally  rationali-  for M & M Enterprises  (316)—andMilo's  by t h e p r o f i t  sanctified reasoning  twists a l l ideas  indignation a t Yossarian*s  i s the super-  t o h i s own  reasoning:  purposes.  cynical advice  b r i b e t h e government t o buy h i s c o t t o n g l u t ,  down u n d e r h i s p e r v e r t e d  i n t h e name  soon  that breaks  114 B r i b e r y I s a g a i n s t t h e l a w a n d y o u know i t . B u t i t ' s n o t a g a i n s t t h e l a w t o make a f a i r p r o f i t , i s i t ? So i tc a n ' t be a g a i n s t t h e l a w f o r me t o b r i b e s o m e o n e i n o r d e r t o m a k e a f a i r p r o f i t , c a n i t ? No, o f c o u r s e n o t ! ( 2 ? 2 ) That  t h e m a g i c word,,, " p r o f i t , "  authority  i n a l l quarters  governmental reaction  carries  i s implied  to Milo's  unquestionable  by t h e p u b l i c a n d  b o m b i n g o f h i s own s t a t i o n :  Decent people everywhere were a f f r o n t e d , and M i l o was a l l w a s h e d u p u n t i l he o p e n e d h i s b o o k s to t h e p u b l i c and d i s c l o s e d the tremendous p r o f i t he h a d m a d e . . . E v e r y b o d y , o f c o u r s e , owned a s h a r e . " ( 2 6 6 ) The  same d i s t o r t e d v i s i o n t h a t  s e e s human l i f e  as an entry  to bunches o f bananas. threat  sees cotton  T o a man h y p e r s e n s i t i v e the institution  life  t o an entry  i n a ledger  that  s e e s h i m a s a name o n a r e p o r t .  duty,  gaze  on such  t o any  that  reduces  Under e i t h e r e s t a b l i s h -  i s imminent.  rebellion against  to a n n i h i l a t e h i sunique being, suspicious  equated  I s a s d a n g e r o u s a s t h e one  ment, complete d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n hisfrantic  confection  i n the account books,  to h i sindividuality,  In  as a  Yossarian  idealistic  p a t r i o t i s m and l o y a l t y .  any force  notions  turns  that an  threatens  intensely  a s : honour,  He s e e s t h e s e  ideals as  mere t o o l s , by w h i c h a menacing a u t h o r i t y  i s maintained  and  the swearing of  perpetuated.  allegiance of and in  take  the "Glorious value  To h i s s u s p i c i o u s  on t h e r i d i c u l o u s and grotesque Loyalty  are stripped  the enforced  mind,  Oath Crusade."  from  the idea  (116)  of loyalty  proportions A l l reality to  and ever-multiplying a f f i r m a t i o n s ,  country, motivated  115 solely  by  Captain Black's determination  S q u a d r o n Commander. duty to  are  the  their  I t becomes a p p a r e n t  determined  by  self-interest.  S y n d i c a t e ; W'intergreen,  stolen Zippo  lighters  training  "Everyone  from  teaches  to depose  at a  childhood  us  that loyalty  M i l o has  to digging holes  profit;  the  l i k e Major Major,  find  the  or  duty unloading to  (as Colonel Korn puts i t ,  f o r whom " d u t y "  d u t i e s they want to  his  and  senior officers  to a s p i r e to higher  few,  the  things.")  has  Those  meaning,  cannot  f u l f i l l .  He w a s h o u n d e d i n c e s s a n t l y b y a n i m p r e s s i o n o f v i t a l d u t i e s l e f t u n f u l f i l l e d and w a i t e d i n vain Only and  innocents  l i k e Nately  have d i f f i c u l t y  cynicism  of  hysterical  The the mind bleak  jealous  the  dirty  holding their o l d man  the  Yossarian's  o p p o s i t i o n o r h i s u l t i m a t e l y r a t i o n a l judgment: B e t w e e n me a n d e v e r y i d e a l I a l w a y s f i n d S c h e i s s k o p f s , Peckhams, K o m s and C a t h c a r t s . And t h a t s o r t o f changes t h e i d e a l . . . . W h e n I l o o k u p , I s e e p e o p l e c a s h i n g i n . (454-455)  of and of  Danby, and  ground a g a i n s t  i n the whorehouse,  (93)  him.  really believe i n ideals;  destructive materialistic  Yossarian, A  to overtake  "dopes" l i k e C l e v i n g e r , " e s c a p i s t s " l i k e Major  these  a  for his responsibilities  one  h a l f - c r a z e d w i t h f e a r and  sterile setting h i s own the  world,  humanity.  only  lovable, lusty,  f o r t h e man S u c h a man  "Yossarian"  as  i t appears  doubt,  conscious is  provides and  Captain  i n the American A i r  Force.  bawdy, r o l l i c k i n g , r a i l i n g b o m b a d i e r  the Twenty-Seventh A i r Force  C o m m a n d , he  to  i s grudgingly  of  116 admired a s , " a n . i n t e l l i g e n t person character," character moral  (4-32) b y " a n i n t e l l i g e n t  at all,"  "wasteland"  spirit  of great  Colonel  Korn.  person o f no moral  H i s problem  i s summarized w i t h  and perception  moral  i n this  uncharacteristic  by t h e army p s y c h i a t r i s t :  You have d e e p - s e a t e d s u r v i v a l a n x i e t i e s . And y o u d o n ' t l i k e b i g o t s , b u l l i e s , snobs o r hypocrites...You're antagonistic t o the idea of being robbed, e x p l o i t e d , degraded, h u m i l i a t e d or deceived. Misery depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Corruption depresses you. (312) Convinced convinced  that  that  "they" a r e out t o g e t him, and  hissacrifice  necessary, Yossarian s a v e h i s own l i f e . his attempt on  physical  agonizing all  struggle  within  his  c o n d i t i o n a s a man of soul  rejectfeimof and  doubt that  externally  man.  authority, actually of an For  extroversion,  He i s s u f f e r i n g  from  a n x i e t i e s , f e a r s a n d d o u b t s germane t o i n a universe  he c a n n o t  understand,  e x a c e r b a t e d , no d o u b t , by h i s c o n s c i o u s  f a i t h and t h e unacknowledged  from a s t a t e  attention  the hero's consciousness.  troubled  the spiritual  sickness  visible  p e r s o n a l i t y and apparent  i s a deeply  to  comic d e t a i l s o f  e n d seem t o f o c u s  rebellion against  all  a  this  hugely  r e v o l t i s t h e outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n  h i sv i b r a n t  Yossarian  justified nor  o u t on a r e b e l l i o u s m i s s i o n  A l t h o u g h the  t o achieve  h i sexternal  this  sets  i sneither  equally  result.  The s t o r y  of this  feelings of guilt man's  progress  of hysteria to the a c t of desertion,  the inner  progress from  t h e fear;'  represents  confusion.  117 anguish and a l i e n a t i o n "lucid the  awareness"  a  of the absurd  joy of absurd Guilt  alive  i n this  cannot  of  consciousness, from which  and  teaches  i n evil.  t o Bologna,  After  inside  over  h i s sense  sense  the f i r s t  he i s h a r d l y  of duty,  painlessly  c l e a r . " (147)  he makes a s e c o n d r u n i skilled.  Although the  of involvement adds t o h i s i n n e r s t r i f e .  the flight  horribly  Yossarian  feels  o f h i s common  t o Avignon  killed.  even  (as a face-saving gesture); nevertheless,  ignores the warning  from  i l l a t ease  perfectly  instincts  i s n o t h i s , a n d T w e n t y - S e v e n t h A i r F o r c e Command  awards him a medal his  felt  from  of a doubt burrowing  the target a t Ferrara, Kraft  fault;-  experience  he i s i n e s c a p a b l y  he h a s t u r n e d b a c k  bitch  a conscience that  When, o b e y i n g  on  h i s wartime  w h e t h e r h e o b e y s h i s own  a l t h o u g h he f e e l s  aware o f t h e , "nagging  level  i tr e t u r n s t o haunt him.  on h i s i n n o c e n c e ,  him that,  man,  nevertheless,  on a l o w e r  conscience orbthe voice of authority,  run  is  r e s p o n s i b l e young  be " d i s a p p e a r e d " a n d l u r k s  he i n s i s t s  involved  he  novel, since Yossarian,  to dismiss i t ;  it  finally  man a n d , u l t i m a t e l y , t o  and b a s i c a l l y  on a c o n s c i o u s l e v e l  Although  "stbanger" t o t h e  rebellion.  i s not stressed  passionately  tries  of the s-piritual  sense  to turn  When back  and obeys o r d e r s i n s t e a d ,  Although again the fault  responsible,  s o much so t h a t  p u s h i n g down t h e p a i n f u l memory e a c h  time  Snowdon  i snot his, he m u s t  keep  i tr i s e s t o  118 his  conscious  mind.  to h i salready acutely this an  This  incident i s the crushing  undermined mental  neurotic  from anxiety  stability,  a n d he becomes  and submerged g u i l t .  c o n d i t i o n , he f e e l s a l o n e a n d t h r e a t e n e d ,  obsessive  blow  In  suffers  from  f e a r o f death, and engages i n t h e i r r a t i o n a l  speech and a c t i o n s  that  give  rise  to the impression  that J  he  i sa  madman.  In the  h i sacutely  neurotic  s t a t e , he i n d u l g e s  i n many o f  e s c a p e mechanisms commonly u s e d by t h e a l i e n a t e d  man,  who k n o w s he m u s t c h o o s e a n d a c t b u t i s u n c e r t a i n a n d afraid and  t o do s o .  Sex, l i q u o r ,  even r e t r e a t t o the naked  prove equally narrative lead  ineffective  level,  t h e way o f i l l u s i o n  hospital  with an imaginery  delaying  tactics,  the  innocence  and escape  H i s frequent  than the soap-induced  moving of the bomb-line  before  fails  to  into  a r e merely  the purpose  epidemic  On t h e  retreats  l i v e r , complaint  no more s e r v i n g  malingering,  of childhood: a l l  t o calm h i sa n x i e t i e s .  t o any p o s i t i v e end.  rebellion  destructive brawls,  of true  of diarrhoea  the siege  or  of Bologna.  After  each episode,  the s t e a d i l y increasing missions are  s t i l l  t o be f l o w n .  The r e g r e s s i v e a c t o f w a l k i n g  naked  i s also a negative  through m i l i t a r y are  equally  false  channels,  fruitless,  illusion  protest.  Attempts  although  and, since  around  t o seek  justice  more p o s i t i v e i n n a t u r e ,  they a r e based  of individual authority, equally  on t h e misdirected.  119 The  refusal  t o f l y more m i s s i o n s a n d t h e a c t o f w e a r i n g  gun  and marching  and  dangerous r e b e l l i o n ,  backward, although  measures achieve real  problem  are s t i l l  negative.  Such  active evasive  nothing, a s Y o s s a r i a n has y e t t o f a c e h i s  a n d c o n f r o n t h i s t r u e enemy.  t h a t h i s enemy c a n n o t  He m u s t  be d e f i n e d s p e c i f i c a l l y :  not  a n y one p e r s o n ,  any  one o r g a n i s a t i o n , such  Command;  s i g n i f y i n g more  a  such  as Captain Black  learn  that i t i s  or Colonel Cathcart;  as the Twenty-Seventh A i r  Force  o r even any one, object of text such a s "Catch-22" to redicule or r e f u t e , t o a c c u s e , c r i t i c i z e , a t t a c k , amend, hate, r e v i l e , s p i t a t , r i p t o shreds, trample upon o r burn up. (418)  Only  w h e n h e l e a r n s t h a t t h e enemy i s n o t h i n g m o r e  than  t h e w h o l e c o n d i t i o n o f man i n t h i s  he  equipped The  "lousy earth," i s  t o take up t h e s t r u g g l e o f the absurd  AWOL t r i p  t o Rome, u n d e r t a k e n  1  forces surrounding  forward  progress  man.'  There  wandering City"  he r e a l i z e s  through  comes f a c e  injustice  toward  the true rebellion t h a t "Catch-22"  beyond P i a n o s a  of h i s  o f the absurd  i s a myth and,  o f t h e bombed-out " E t e r n a l  t o face with poverty,  and oppression.  measure,  of the  him and the beginning  the streets  man.  as an evasive  marks Y o s s a r i a n s awakening t o t h e r e a l n a t u r e hostile  specific  Hisvision  crime, of evil  a n d Rome t o a w o r l d - w i d e  lust,  cruelty,  enlarges  picture^  of a l l t h e s h i v e r i n g , s t u p e f y i n g m i s e r y i n a w o r l d t h a t n e v e r y e t had p r o v i d e d enough heat and f o o d a n d j u s t i c e f o r a l l b u t a n i n g e n i o u s and u n s c r u p u l o u s h a n d f u l . (421)  120 His  personal  involvement with a  particular  illustration  i n h u m a n i t y and  i n j u s t i c e — A a r f y ' s murder of  maid"  by  followed  murder, but  of Yossarian  awareness of chain  of  (414),  t h e M.P.'s a r r e s t , n o t f o r being  universal evil  inherited habit  and  strengthens  oppose i t . "any  logic  (175)  that  In to  and  this  for  AWOL—confirms  his  of  system of  the  i m p e r i l i n g them  his conviction that  facing clearly  "homely  of Aarfy  injustice,  t h a t was  the  the  "lousy all,"  someone m u s t  fact that  r e w a r d s and  there  is  h i s t o r y are  the  human f a t e , Y o s s a r i a n  i s reaching  Camus' c o n c l u s i o n  while  culpable.  essentially Although  illustrated prehend  this  i t . He  awareness"  of  innocent,  h i s war  fact,  he  is also  has  c o n t r a d i c t i o n s of  arbiters  have  human e x i s t e n c e ,  in  and  chaos,  evil  Throughout isolated  from  sense of  his  suffering. mess has  this  of  p e r i o d , as  society, there own  His  humanity and circle  o f mad  b e e n n a r r o w e d , by  Hungry Joe  i s the  rebellious actions  only  is  and  Yossarian a  permanence,  death. i s progressively  concurrent  i n his  com"lucid  harmony and  proof  to  t h e a b s u r d man's  order,  gives  that  repeatedly  failed  which h i s humanity d e s i r e s reality  of  inescapably  previously  i s also approaching  the  only  experiences  not  punishments,"  chance and  man,  upsurge  survivor.  h a v e made h i m  or disappearance, On an  in  his  c o m p a s s i o n f o r human  companions of whorehouse  death  of  the  station,  outcast,  and  until his  approachable  121 only  by f u r t i v e  whispers  whores have gone. any  female,  the  lime-colored  H i s readiness  panties,"  contracts,  or any " c u l p r i t "  i n the "lousy  bring  and t o avoid  a w a r e n e s s " demands.  he y i e l d s m o m e n t a r i l y  he r a t i o n a l i z e s d e f e a t  growing  any "victim"  of inherited habit?  that  maintaining  t o o i s tempted, and acceptance  colonels, a deal  B i gB r o t h e r .  A s Camus  of the  that  For a brief  lived. A  flesh  of the struggle  Another h o s p i t a l i z a t i o ngives  dream-recall  death.  of  h i srenunciation  further confrontation  full  Yossarian  his  i s short-  him time  to think.  of a l l the horrifying details  the novel  Snowdon's e n t r a i l s  period  comes w i t h a n a g o n i z - i n g l y c l e a r a n d  A l l the nauseating throughout  requires  into victory:  He w a s home f r e e : he h a d p u l l e d i t o f f ; a c t o f r e b e l l i o n had succeeded. (439) Fortunately,  (414)  i t s " i n e v i t a b l e con-  struggle  i n h i si n i t i a l  t o love  by a  rebellion.  Yossarian  offered byithe  i n effect,  t o t h e "maid i n  however, does n o t  t o escape  the endless  with  f o r the victims of  chain  immediate absurd  clusions"  "odious deal"  i n love  i s replaced  with absurdity,  a man i s t e m p t e d  him,  (168)  Orr, f o rNately,  realized,  "lucid  to fall  f o r the " k i ds i s t e r " — f o r  Confrontation necessarily  I n Rome, e v e n t h e  from General Dreedle's nurse  sense o f p i t y — f o r Milo's  i n the dark.  o f Snowdon's  images o f d e a t h and p u t r e f y i n g a r e caught up i n t o t h e v i s i o n  spilling  realizes the f u t i l i t y  onto the cabin  floor,  while  o f h i s desperate attempts t o  122 help. is  At  this  confronted  dehumanizing syringes. forces worst he  point with  of unbearable  the  realization  ranged against f e a r s and  t i o n s as is  now  to  him:  within  to  his  and  acquiescence  moment o f  of  the  only  life  and  Yossarian  deserts.  Evidence  that Orr  has  been g i v e n  before,  can  Yossarian  to recognize  the  his  a  but  so  only with  courtmean At  escape  to the  the  hidden  l e s s o n he  i n burlesque  i s Orr's  dogged  less bizarre level,  p a i n s t a k i n g w o r k on  the  stove  the  the  h i s new has that  open  rebellion  spirit.  exemplar of  death, this brings  absurd  man,  perseverance,  absurd  man  awareness  taught.  An  only  hindsight  striving  for  apple-  d e s c r i p t i o n of  i s almost d e f i n i t i v e  translated into practical.terms.  his  limita-  courses  A l l three  acceptable  i s the  understand  makes i t r e c o g n i z a b l e On  life  faced  Capitulation  t h r e a t of  purpose and  social  nightmare,  u n f l i n c h i n g awareness, courage and  struggle  struggle  i n the  "deal"; continued  carries  of  morphine  Having  r e j e c t s a l l three  i n the  the  cheeks.  guilt  he  mechanistic,  empty  c o m p l e t e a w a r e n e s s , news o f O r r ' s  the message of  absurd  he  or death  i n the  through.  f l y i n g more m i s s i o n s .  phsyical death  of a  a l l human e x i s t e n c e .  system, which or  breaks  suppressed  that bind  impossible,  martial;  him  tension,  of a l l the n a t u r a l and  t h i n k r a t i o n a l l y and  those  the  progress  society, i n Milo's note  Full  i s able  inexorable  emotional  of  his that  123 He w o r k e d w i t h o u t p a u s e , t a k i n g t h e f a u c e t apart, spreading a l l the t i n y pieces out c a r e f u l l y , c o u n t i n g a n d t h e n s t u d y i n g e a c h one i n t e r m i n a b l y a s t h o u g h he h a d n e v e r s e e n a n y t h i n g remotely s i m i l a r b e f o r e , and then reassembling the whole s m a l l a p a r a t u s , over and over and over and over a g a i n , w i t h no l o s s o f p a t i e n c e or i n t e r e s t , so s i g n o f f a t i g u e , no i n d i c a t i o n o f e v e r c o n c l u d i n g . (23) In  Orr's and i n Y o s s a r i a n ' s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o persevere, w i t h  clear  consciousness of the d i f f i c u l t i e s  promise and  o f s u c c e s s , w i t h "no i n d i c a t i o n  with joy i n the struggle,  absurd It  i s essential  t h e maximum."^  desertion and  situation.  of the absurd  Viewed  That  of joyful  i n this  of the  immediate  to reaffirm  man  that  i s "living,  and the necessary  exuberance  he makes  insistence  and  context, Yossarian's  he i s n o t d e l u d e d  intervention,  chaplain's sent  of ever concluding,"  the-essence  t o remember Camus'  i s the a f f i r m a t i v e  his attitude  Divine  w i t h no  life.  the conscious r e b e l l i o n to  lies  involved,  action,  i s consistent with h i s  by any f a l s e  hope o f  c l e a r by c o r r e c t i n g  acceptance"of  Orr's  escape  the  as a miracle  h i s f a i t h fcn G o d :  Washed a s h o r e , h e l l ! . . . H e d i d n ' t wash a s h o r e i n Sweden. He r o w e d t h e r e . . . H e planned i t t h a t way! (4581 With  this  "miracle"  reminder,  the chaplain  immediately  limits his  t o t h e o n l y one r e c o g n i z e d by t h e a b s u r d  man:  I t ' s s t i l l a m i r a c l e , a m i r a c l e o f human i n t e l l i g e n c e a n d h u m a n e n d u r a n c e . (4-58) Furthermore,  that Y o s s a r i a n i s not deluded  by any  certainty  124 of accomplishment, w i t h Danby.  He  is clearly  immediately  indicated in his  tempers h i s  "There  i s hope, a f t e r a l l , " (459)  escape  t o Sweden i s a l m o s t  by  that  he  final  i s t a k i n g an  Gone i s t h e  euphoria  exultant  cry  his admission  that,  that  impossible:  H e l l , Danby, I know t h a t . be t r y i n g . ( 4 6 2 ) Throughout t h i s  conversation  But  conversation,  at  there  least I ' l l  i s no  escapist view  of  of an  r e v e r i e on  earlier  his  evidence  desertion. life  in  Sweden, w h e r e t h e l e v e l o f i n t e l l i g e n c e was high a n d w h e r e he c o u l d s w i m n u d e w i t h b e a u t i f u l g i r l s w i t h low, d e m u r r i n g v o i c e s and s i r e whole happy u n d i s c i p l i n e d t r i b e s of i l l e g i t i m a t e Y o s s a r i a n s t h a t the s t a t e would a s s i s t t h r o u g h p a r t u r i t i o n and l a u n c h i n t o l i f e w i t h o u t stigma. (318) This and  hedonistic realistic  running  to  and  that  and  by  he  the  "young k i d suggests tive  that of  he  the  expressed  in his  responsibilities  compassion i n Rome."  by  k e e p on  constant  one  been replaced  he,  suggested (462)  like  toes  v i g i l a n c e of  may  act.  the  his desire  marked  His  a b s u r d man,  (463)  forces  the  serious he  them,  is (46l)  without misgivings;"  every minute,"  i s "frightened" unremitting  away f r o m  Camus' a b s u r d  w h i c h he my  This  by  by  statements that  not  "wouldn't want t o l i v e  that  values  " I ' l l  his  a t t i t u d e has  to  the  change i n a t t i t u d e  r e b e l , has final (463) and  denotes his  ranged against  help  (462)  found  promise assures  his  to  Danby,  the  admission  "lucid him.  rela-  awareness" At  the  125 same t i m e , h i s i n s i s t e n c e will  b e " f u n " (463)  t h e a b s u r d man The parody  that hrs l i f e  of  s i g n i f i e s the defiant  rebellion joy with  f a c e s and scorns h i s f a t e .  author's unrestrained predilection  h a s much t o i m p l y a b o u t  the nature  f o r ironic  of the absurd  s t r u g g l e and the i m p r o b a b i l i t y  of romantic  achievement.  incomprehensible  of  The f r u s t r a t i n g ,  the crab apples, horse  suggests and  man.  a victory  impossible,  of "apple  the physiologically  implies  both  cheeks,"  o f t h e a b s u r d man's  the  row t o Sweden w i t h t h e " t i n y  oar,"  (4-59) a f e a t w h i c h  enthusiasm  admits  possibility in  a limited  implies revolt.  effort.  i n itself  and  probable  Similarly, l i t t l e blue  even Y o s s a r i a n w i t h h i s boundless  i s beyond h i s powers,  of completely successful existence.  of the  o r even  futility  insignificance successful  effort  required  Improbable  the possible  riddle balls  t h e dogged  of the struggle  The achievement  over  or heroic  chestnuts and rubber  the "constant awareness,"^  the perpetual renewal  absurd  which  The o b v i o u s  the purely individual  suggests  the im-  or significant  pun on " O r r " and " o a r "  and personal nature  Yossarian's determination t o f i n d and  of absurd  liberate  N a t e l y ' s whore's s k i n n y , t w e l v e - y e a r - o l d k i d s i s t e r , Nately's  courtship  tickling  parody  of the indifferent  action  and  whore, a r er i b -  r e d u c t i o n s o f h e r o i c and romantic  Seit > i n t h e c o n t e x t o f a l l t h e g r o t e s q u e  scenes  action.  i n which  126 the  sisters  role the  have been i n v o l v e d ,  becomes l u d i c r o u s . life  of  the  adventure, but is  not  heroic  positive  difficult  and  a  of  sprawling,  which gradually  the  society  burden of  "Catch-22",  and  of  that  romantic  that his  goal  and  i s , at  but  best,  only  Sisyphus  In  the  novel, of an  beginning, of an  clearing vision  mass of  from  image of a b s u r d i t y .  The  of  progress struggle  life  effort.  The  unjust  "Catch-22"  in a  of  the again  moribund  and  again  circle.  rejects i t s existence.  At  The  initiation  seems t o r e p r e s e n t  principle  to  repeatedly  or d e s t r u c t i v e chain  ordering  who  directive,  r e s u l t i n g i n the  in life,  the  a b s u r d man,  ubiquitous  i s invoked  principle  implying  i s p o s s i b l e ; and  to his rock,  each time  sees no  incidents  careful patterning,  the major e n c l o s i n g  ordering  first  narrative is circular:  i t s elusive clauses  the  he  the  forward  represents  continuation  observed,  and  repetitive  frustration  conscious  or  illusion  game o f a  futile  concrete  never-ending  must r e t u r n , l i k e  throughout  remind  structure ofCatch-22->at  emerges a  i n w h i c h no  authority  be  evidence of very  stalemate  ever-repeating,  his  a  struggle;  formless,  p r e d o m i n a n t movement o f the  parodies  significant.  images—gives  both  knight-errant  or u n i v e r s a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t achievement,  Examination glance  i s not  a c t i o n , w h i c h may  personally  whole  Such comic  a b s u r d man a  the  but,  events.  the as  i n the  this  of  Yossarian's chaos  point, i t s  12 7 reality,  "the  imperiling this  enclosing  circles.  may The  circular  on  appearances implications circle,  by  missions.  the  by  the  ing  the  airmen,  are  raised.  the  the  i s given echoes  suggested  the  to  the  the  i n the  The  out  that  b e g i n s and  At  annihilation.  to  this  forty-five  of  one,  A  bombing  numerous r e f e r e n c e s circle,  as  circles  trials.  the  damnation" caught  to Orr's a  missions  chaplain's a  thirdiis  end.  This in  irrational  persistent  pattern  of  repre-  circular  (141)  i n an  surround-  within  The and  and  the  further  of C l e v i n g e r ,  are  is  missions,  court-martial at  m o r a l men  Another  moving backward  concentric  " d u t y and  suggest another  in  his frightening  the  trial  t h r e a t of of  with  such  recurrent  references  repetition  earlier  the  of  missions.  the  excentric  a destructive enclosure  smaller  the  ends  i n between. are  begins,  of  suggests  expands i n d e f i n i t e l y  important by  Within  small  circumference  from  novel  create  one  w h i c h even good and  endeavours  novel  frequent  vicious circle  society.  hospital visits  " s o l d i e r i n white",  Several  each of  trial  s e r i e s of  circumference  These c i r c l e  i n time,  effect  a  o f d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n and  p o i n t at, which  sent  of  was  many a c t i v i t i e s  several v i s i t s  smaller  forward  is  represented  c u t t i n g through  established  the  be  the  that  becomes a p p a r e n t . the  includes  of  inherited habit  circumference,  repetition  this  of  (414)  p a t t e r n , as  h o s p i t a l and points  chain  them a l l , "  characters  a  lousy  motion  128 r e i n f o r c e d by the e l u s i v e , j u g g l i n g movement of a p p l e s , nuts and rubber b a l l s .  Innumerable s m a l l e r  suggested by the r e t u r n of the n a r r a t i v e  c i r c l e s are  t o the same o r  s i m i l a r events, e.g.: whoring e x p e d i t i o n s  i n Rome, drunken  brawls i n the mess, Hungry Joe's w i l d screaming i n the night, Milo's  bombing o f the s t a t i o n , and so on.  Almost  every i n c i d e n t i s e i t h e r mentioned a t l e a s t twice,  usually  more, or echoed i n a s i m i l a r s e p i s o d e . This  e f f e c t of c i r c u l a r , non-progressive movement i s  emphasized i n v a r i o u s  ways.  1  I t i s r e i n f o r c e d v e r b a l l y by  v e r y obvious r e p e t i t i o n s i n phrase o r c o n v e r s a t i o n ,  indicating  that the a c t i o n has come f u l l c i r c l e , e.g., C o l o n e l  Korn's,  "Exit smiling,"  (144) f o l l o w i n g the d e c i s i o n to confer a  medal on Y o s s a r i a n a f t e r F e r r a r a ,  repeated (438) a f t e r  Y o s s a r i a n ' s i n i t i a l acceptance of the " d e a l " .  I t i s also  suggested by the repeated d e s c r i p t i o n of f r a n t i c chase, back and f o r t h through the r a i l r o a d d i t c h and the f o r e s t between camp s i t e s , as f i r s t Y o s s a r i a n and l a t e r the chaplain  t r y to apprehend Major Major.  roundsbout chase, implying aid  the f u t i l i t y  from n o n - e x i s t e n t a u t h o r i t y ,  This  frantic,  of man's seeking  e i t h e r s o c i a l or d i v i n e ,  might be considered as a f i g u r a t i v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n  of  n a r r a t i v e movement i n the n o v e l . I f a l l these c i r c l e s a r e considered t o have some points  of i n t e r s e c t i o n among themselves, so that the whole  129 series  i s interrelated  circle, if  which  the only  that  path  progress In  this  through  then  figure  of the novel,  anxiety,  the cosmic  that cuts  activity;  Although  structure the  represents  of Orr's  maze.  w i t h i n and enclosed  striving  human c o n d i t i o n ; the outer  respect,  of Kafka's  work,  i st h e  i s d e s c r i p t i v e of the formal  i t can serve  a l s o a s a n image o f  and f r u s t r a t i o n  Ionesco's  and  circle i s  the resultant figure  o f the hero from a l i e n a t i o n  this  by t h e l a r g e  that attend the t o absurd  statement,  rebellion.  i n h i sdiscussion  seems a p p l i c a b l e :  T h i s t h e m e o f man l o s t i n a l a b y r i n t h , w i t h o u t a g u i d i n g t h r e a d , i s b a s i c . . . . i n Kafka's work. Y e t i f man n o l o n g e r h a s a g u i d i n g t h r e a d , i t i s b e c a u s e he no l o n g e r w a n t e d t o have one. Hence h i s f e e l i n g o f g u i l t , o f a n x i e t y , o f t h e absurdity of history.f Yossarian's  a c t i o n t h r o u g h o u t much o f t h e n a r r a t i v e  follows a tortuous circular he  trail  reaches  a s he i s d i v e r t e d a r o u n d  o f escape a f t e r another,  the path  endeavour. through  path,  This  the outer  of Orr's  stubborn  until  eventually,  and conscious  i s the track that f i n a l l y circumference  one  leads him  t o experience  w h a t C a m u s d e s c r i b e s a s "maximum" l i v i n g  human  for a  moment  f o r the absurd  man: B e i n g aware o f one's l i f e , one's r e v o l t , o n e ' s f r e e d o m , a n d t o t h e maximum, i s l i v i n g , a n d t o t h e maximum." Despite  the exuberance and v i t a l i t y  radiates a t this that  he w i l l  that  moment, i t w o u l d b e e r r o n e o u s  now l e a d a m e r r y v a g a b o n d  Yossarian t o suppose  existence  outside  130 of  s o c i e t y , a l l b a t t l e s won, a l l t r o u b l e s  optimism  i s as false  incongruous direction  of the path  that  has l e d him t o a momentary  of p h y s i c a l and emotional  constant  lead  and only  by  resistance  d i v e r t e d JbcSm. h i s p a t h ,  into the  o f t h e maze. structural  to negate, part,  and thematic  the ordering  which  makes p l a u s i b l e a n d n a t u r a l or less detail,  disclosure narration entire  of important  information end.  before  that  but f u l l  revealed  order  arrangement,  t o t h e same  In this  event,  way, t h e  throughout almost the  A t each reference, details are held  Consequently, an event  not completely  psychological  r e s u l t s i n the fragmented  incidents.  the incident narrated  emotional  The p s y c h o l o g i c a l the return  of the novel.  i s given,  o r even  F o r the most  i s d e t e r m i n e d by a  o f Snowdon's d e a t h r u n s  length  to ignore,  incidents are disclosed i n the  they a r e r e c a l l e d .  greater  i s closely related  concept of time.  of events  by which  pattern  that appears  the h i s t o r i c a l  chronology,  is  circular  freedom w i l l  v i g i l a n c e and unceasing  to a n a r r a t i v e chronology  the  The  t h e c h a o s o f human e x i s t e n c e ,  he e s c a p e b e i n g  This  in  as i t i s  of the absurd.  exercising  in  character  idea  back through  heart  Such  t o Camus'  experience  will  to his fictional  over.  that actually  a t the beginning  until  t h e moment o f  t e n s i o n , and, most important,  additional back  until  occurred of the novel greatest  i s then of  great  131 significance  i n m o t i v a t i n g the hero's  Although linked  to an  this  gives but  impression, not  with  time  relative  the  time  i s given  i n time  an  incident,  elusively  can  suggestion of a  from  the  habitual  the  prior  missed."  event  "that  last  noticed, sequence.' events  past  has  time," and  i t s t i l l  done so.  i s o f no  The  only  incident.  shifts  consequence,  definitive  has  arrived.  down t o  the  such as, so  on.  Even  i f the  time  point  before  easily  be  of  a time,"  interpolation  p o i n t i n the i s given  could not  of  is  time that  possibly  close scrutiny  the  shift  "that f i r s t  impression  when t h e y  instance, although  the  so  Since  insertion  day,"  false  the  past  can  "one  to i d e n t i f y  of  or  Frequently,  simple  i s the unobtrusive  the  forward  perfect tense.  shift  a  establish  i s a momentary  returns to the  the  conversation  indication  past  required  comparing  backward and  obvious  time,  E v e n when  pinpointed f o r a  Occasionally, a  For  joint".  one  to the  fails  coincide at a  references to  gradually narrowing  concluded,  phrase  s u b t l e manoeuvring  t h a t time  change i n time  A n o t h e r key  non-committal  be  i s no  usually  i s actually  Hence, o n l y by  the n a r r a t i v e  only  action.  scheme, i s i t p o s s i b l e t o  the n a r r a t i v e  i n time a t w h i c h  the n a r r a t i v e  and  o f any  that there  of  i n the number o f m i s s i o n s  of events  number o f m i s s i o n s  of  action.  i n the missions  location  sequence, a  only  i s "out  t h e moment o f a n y  point  time  w i t h only most e l u s i v e  even t h a t time  link at  the  p s y c h o l o g i c a l chronology  historical  of n a r r a t i v e ,  course  time  have  132 clues demonstrates that Yossarian's Syndicate the  path and that of the  c o u l d have c r o s s e d a t A v i g n o n  empty m o r p h i n e  ( i n t h e message i n  syringes), the impression  i s given  that  a such  a coincidence  i s impossible.'  The e f f e c t  misleading and elusive manipulation novel  y e t another  implication  from which a l l v a l u e s lost  absurd, false  t o the law of paradox  what appears  rebel,  branded  Therefore,  i s sane by t h e s t a n d a r d s who  sees through  insane.  An i r o n i c  in  general  i s much c o n c e r n e d  he  i n turn brands almost  time  of this  everyone  o f h i s mad  of h i s compulsion  self  situation,  although  obviously hysterical,  insane.  The p s y c h i a t r i s t ' s  same t i m e  disease;  both  while  and  i s immediately i n which s o c i e t y  e l s e a "nut".  view of the sincerity  the  accepts  b y t h a t "madman Y o s s a r i a n " a n d  g i v e s some b a s i s f o r t h e g e n e r a l  i s i n itself  t o be  society,  results,  attempts  "insanity"  proves  t h e man who  the i l l u s i o n s , situation  has  that governs the  and b i z a r r e nature  1  itself  illusion.  the w i l d  from a desperate  In a society  t o be t r u e a n d r a t i o n a l  and i r r a t i o n a l . " - ^  appearances the  I t , too, i s an  this  brings t o the  of absurdity.  have d i s a p p e a r e d ,  i t s significance. According  o f time  of  Certainly  e x p l o i t s and  survival  opinion, but,i n to extricate  h i s exaggerated  c a n h a r d l y be  him-  actions,  considered  diagnosis of Yossarian's  a p a r a d o x , e s t a b l i s h i n g a t one a n d  the p a t i e n t ' s health and s o c i e t y ' s  the misanthropic  Dr. Stubbs  sums u p t h e  133 whole dilemma conclusion: left."  of the absurd  He may b e mad f o r a t t e m p t i n g  system,  a hopeless  clearly  and being  endeavour; compelled  the closed, s t a t i c  world  o f Catch-22.  lifeless  f i g u r e s who a c t o u t t h e i r  progress  o r complexity.  a n d men b e c o m e  This  Victory  patterns, in  anyone we're  will  to i t sludicrous  officials.  The  fantastic  story  puppet f i g u r e .  description  of h i srise  which  i s " i n "or tighter  As t h e naked be a b l e  our uniforms."  indicate  t o convince (364)  of which  Inevitably,  he i s t h e i d e a l  c l i m b e r s o f l e s s e r degree.  The and the  t h a t he t o o i s a  A n a r c h - c l i m b e r , he p l a y s t h e r o l e  success.  bomb  general  of Milo Minderbinder  y o u n g man who c o m e t s f r o m  international  as the other,  by parades,  "We'll never  superior without  physical  ambitious  incompetent  t o the war e f f o r t  n o t be g a i n e d  room s a y s ,  grotesque  of  without  whose emblems o f r a n k  o r mimeographed p l a t i t u d e s .  the hotel  society  puppet r o l e s  of military  As each i s as b r i l l i a n t l y  makes no d i f f e r e n c e  "out".  two-dimensional,  them t o s i t a t a p p r o p r i a t e h e i g h t s on t h e u p r i g h t  ladder. it  individual  idea i s carried  generals a r e automated uniforms, entitle  t o buck t h e  to try.  i snullified,  i n the caricatures  sane one  b u t he i s s a n e i n s e e i n g i t  humanity  extreme  i n one s u c c i n c t  " T h a t c r a z y b a s t a r d may b e t h e o n l y  (14)  In  man i n s o c i e t y  of the  small beginnings  to  the materialistic  n o u r i s h e s a whole  Among t h e s e  troupe  are the polished,  134 a b l e A p p l e b y , who d o e s e v e r y t h i n g w e l l , boy  of a l l institutions;  the golden-haired  the i n e p t , u n p r i n c i p l e d , good-  h u m o u r b o y , A a r f y , who d o e s n o t h i n g w e l l , connections, and  and makes s o c i a l  the v i l l a i n  who f e e l s  Captain  j e a l o u s y n i b b l i n g a t h i s own l i v e r  passing  is  C l e v i n g e r , t h e man  the discomfort  whose r e a l i t y  on t o o t h e r s .  o f many  disappears  intellectualization;  The  h i s conscience;  of the piece, the malcontent  to  is  approval  advances by  into  f a c t s and l i t t l e  o r even Dunbar,  c o n s u m e d b y h i s own n i h i l i s m presence  of these  the absurd.  inanimate  I n Camus'  and i s dedicated  No l e s s a  the clouds  Black,  "type"  learning,  o f h i s own  t h e p e s s i m i s t , who  and f i t t i n g l y  "disappeared".  puppet f i g u r e s a g a i n  suggests  words,  A t c e r t a i n moments o f l u c i d i t y , t h e m e c h a n i c a l a s p e c t o f t h e i r £men'sj g e s t u r e s , t h e i r m e a n i n g l e s s pantomime makes s i l l y e v e r y t h i n g . t h a t surrounds them....This discomfort i n the face ^ o f m a n ' s own i n h u m a n i t y . . . . i s a l s o t h e a b s u r d . The thetic  ironic  to their  evidence  miscasting of characters into education  or inclination  of the soulless determinism  individuality  i n a mechanical  that threatens  society.  deCoverley,  b u t how q u i c k l y  gruous i n t h e i r illiterate  situations:  assistant  to crush  A venerable,  image has been c r e a t e d a r o u n d  t o speak!  anti-  i sfurther  patriarchal  puppet has l i n e s  roles  even  t h e name M a j o r  t h e image d i s a p p e a r s  when t h e  Many o t h e r s a r e e q u a l l y  incon-  Chief White H a l f o a t , the  intelligence  officer;  Corporal  Whitcomb,  135 the a t h e i s t i c in  assistant  the M e d i c a l  round any  holes  Corps.  to the  A l l these  i n t o which they  potential  t h e y may  of l i v i n g  i z a t i o n and eyeglasses  false  are  this off  references  grotesque  sensical  the  fact  identity  the  training  base,  Y o s s a r i a n and  A.  of Dreedle  the  at  the  who  Shakespearean f o o l  idiot.  wise  m e r e n a m e - t a g s who  can  the  be  the  and  can  be  carried individ-  comic  situations  dead  soldier by  Korn's  like  non-  l a c k of  implication  shuffled  of  suggest  b e d s game p l a y e d  but  "tittering,"  his posing  Highly  of  or  or  morals,  at Pianosa,  briefing;  an dis-  impersonation  Fortieri  is  character, i s given a  that impersonations  the m u s i c a l  Major's  cigarette  Even Orr,  s o c i e t y of automatons.  d e r i v e d from  character-  or conferring  d e t e c t i o n i n d i c a t e s f u r t h e r the  i n the  the  Major  to "grinning," "giggling"  The  are  are  rounded  and  e y e - s h i e l d , even M i l o ' s  conundrums t h a t c o n c e a l  without  the  puppet f i g u r e s .  p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e , and  disguise.  uality  i m p l i e d by  on n o n e n t i t y .  h i s i s t h e mask o f  Frequent  frustrate  or f e a t u r e s , emphasize  a l l masks h i d i n g r e a l  exemplar r a t h e r than a  his  the  the  had.  deCoverley's  individuality  guises  pegs, and  moustache. C o l o n e l C a t h c a r t ' s  holder, Major titles,  square  cetologist  jammed c o m p l e t e l y  sterility  f u n c t i o n of and  are  the  to disguise, impersonation,  substance  theme o f n o n e n t i t y and  are  have  Repeated a l l u s i o n s absence  c h a p l a i n ; and  cards  at  Dunbar, imitation  that in a  men  136 deck  i s , a s Y o s s a r i a n would  say, n o t funny.  The h o r r o r  of d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n i n c r e a s e s a s t h e scene the mechanical people"  shifts  e x t e r i o r s and a c t i o n s of these  (168) t o t h e i r  interior  substance.  from  "faceless  Insides are  rubber: P u n c h i n g A a r f y was l i k e s i n k i n g h i s f i s t s i n t o limp sack of i n f l a t e d rubber. T h e r e was n o r e s i s t a n c e , no response a t a l l from t h e s o f t , i n s e n s i t i v e mass. (153) or  a  garbage: Snowdon's i n s i d e s s l i t h e r e d down t o t h e f l o o r i n a s o g g y p i l e a n d j u s t k e p t d r i p p i n g o u t , (44-9)  or nothing a t a l l : He w a s s t i l l b e n t o v e r s t a r i n g w i t h o n e e y e i n t o the l i g h t l e s s , u n s t i r r i n g v o i d of the s o l d i e r i n - w h i t e 's m o u t h . (375) This man  climax of the exhaustive debunking i n society  annihilation  points to the horrible  o f humanity  i s now a c o n d i t i o n ful  conclusion that the  that inevitably  of l i f e .  The a u t h o r  comes w i t h  death  has i s s u e d a  fright-  warning. The  this  of the nature of  irrationality  society  brilliant  bizarre,  cross-purposes  and  misdirections  the  lack  juggle  o f communication  a r e r e p r e s e n t e d on a r h e t o r i c a l  Heller's  society.  and the l a c k  display  communication  of understanding Horse-chestnuts,  so r a p i d l y  of verbal gymnastics.  dialogue, i n which  render  through  plane  i n by  The  misunderstandings  impossible, reflect  I n a fragmented,  disordered  crab apples and rubber  balls  t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n s between O r r  137 and  Yossarian,  the  same t h i n g i n o n e e x c h a n g e .  are  constructed  remark in  that  world  implied  confusion  frustrating  values  a r e dead  i s suggested  particularly  in  which no agreement o r understanding  are  significantly  Cathcart  used.  Verbal  a  parade going  are  indicted  passionate fighting  question,  of l i f e .  level  of  The a r t i l l e r y  Cathcart's  insignificance  a r e echoed  you understand  of  on," i s  Both hypocrisy and  "Canft  (262)  progression  o f , "Don't y o u know  statements  The  r e p e t i t i o n s and echoes  the s t e r i l i t y  repetitions  when t h e s e  exists,  i s possible.  "there's a war going  o n ? " (72).  a war?"  i n the i n q u i s i t i o n  The dummy-like r e p e t i t i o n s  humourously d e f l a t e d t o i t s proper Scheisskopf's  ever  since any r a t i o n a l  and Moodus s i g n i f y  meaningless platitude,  by  speech i s  Here a c o n d i t i o n o f stalemate  a decision i s impossible.  o f man  of a society i n which a l l  t h e two t r i a l s .  v e r d i c t must be a r b i t r a r y ,  opening  observation:  of  to  dialogues  The i s o l a t i o n  t o h i m , a n d n o one (276)  Irrationality  about  o f an i r o n i c  and meaningless  i n the chaplain's w i s t f u l everyone spoke said anything.  The  of terms.  of i r r a t i o n a l  talking  Whole f a n t a s t i c  on t h e m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g  or a basic  this  s e l d o m a r e t h e t w o men  there's  stupidity by  that  captain's  Yossarian*s we're joking  suggestion  t o hook up t h e f e e d i n g a n d p l u m b i n g t u b e s and  "eliminate  the middle-man"  of a n n i h i l a t i o n .  carries a horrible  Milo's repetition  Implication  o f t h e same w o r d s ,  with  138 reference  t o the government, p i c k s up t h a t  expands i t s range, a n d i n t e n s i f i e s sistently  used v e r b a l device  ment, by w h i c h , effect are he  told  and meaningless l i f e  Daneeka i s w o r r i e d  the beginning,  i s created.  t o nobody,"  device  i s that of quoting  an  outrageous s i t u a t i o n ,  to  h i spilot  H a s t e makes w a s t e . "  (265)  concrete  i s given  expression  be, c l e a r l y  t o give the up f o r  principle."(358-9)  sententious  warning  "Haste makes w a s t e , P u r v i s .  B y means o f s u c h v e r b a l to the absurd—what  recognized  man  a moral platitude i n  e.g. M i l o ' s  bombing t h e s t a t i o n ,  when  (28) and t h a t  p r o f e s s i o n a b a d name b y s t a n d i n g  allied  an  We  was " a s e l f - m a d e  t h a t , "He's g o i n g  An  should  con-  t h a t M a j o r M a j o r w o u l d be a v a i l a b l e o n l y  was n o t i n , t h a t C o l o n e l C a r g i l l  medical  A  i s t h e 'upside-down' s t a t e -  who o w e d h i s l a c k o f s u c c e s s Doc  the threat.  s i n c e t h e end n u l l i f i e s  of static  implication,  and opposed—and  devices,  i s , what  the state-  ment i s t h e p r o t e s t . Compared w i t h Under t h e V o l c a n o . emphasis  on t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d  uncomfortable ground  being.  the  lays  Nevertheless,  lurking  i n the back-  o f t h e man-made s c h e m e s a n d t h e m a t e r i a l  universe.  natural world  Yossarian  little  i n w h i c h man h a s h i s s t r a n g e ,  of advancement, i s a suggestion silent  Catch-22  of a hostile,  derives  little  products  implacable,  comfort  surrounding him;  He was h a u n t e d a n d t o r m e n t e d b y t h e v a s t b o u n d l e s s ocean....He imagined t h e a w f u l  from  139 impotence of breathing i n h e l p l e s s l y a n d q u a r t s o f w a t e r . (34-7) At  the  very  m o m e n t w h e n he  physical well-being, against  him,  as  he  he  i s reassuring  imagines nature  feels a  reasonless  quarts  himself rising  terror  of  his  actively  of  the  mushrooms, sprouting i n such n e c r o t i c p r o f u s i o n everywhere h e l o o k e d t h a t t h e y s e e m e d t o be p r o l i f e r a t i n g r i g h t before h i s eyes. T h e r e were t h o u s a n d s of them s w a r m i n g a s f a r b a c k i n t o t h e u n d e r b r u s h a s he c o u l d s e e , a n d t h e y a p p e a r e d t o s w e l l i n s i z e a n d m u l t i p l y I n n u m b e r a s he s p i e d t h e m . He h u r r i e d a w a y f r o m t h e m w i t h a s h i v e r o f e e r i e a l a r m ; (14-7-148) Such passages are d e s c r i b i n g an  highly  instance  suggestive  of absurd  of  the  chaplain's  vivid  of Snowden's f u n e r a l i s h i s  statement  recognition:  The p r i m i t i v e h o s t i l i t y to face us. Part  o f Camus'  of  the  memory o f sensation  world  the of  rises  up  circumstances  the  sky,  The m a s s i v e , s t i l l , d e p t h l e s s , m u f f l i n g s k y , s o w e i r d l y b l a n k a n d b l u e t h a t d a y i t was almost poisonous. (279) Again,  the  similarity  " t h a t d e n s e n e s s and says,  " i s the In  Trial, a  t o Camus' a b s u r d i s t  that  strangeness of  Camus s p e a k s  stances.  reveals  This  the  i s marked;  world,"  he  absurd."^3  h i s d i s c u s s i o n of  character  thought  he  of  the  the  i n the  considers  absurd  i n Franz Kafka's  " l a c k of astonishment" face  of  extraordinary  a mark of  the  The  that Circum-  absurd:  t h e d i v e r g e n c e we f e e l b e t w e e n t h e o f a man's l i f e a n d t h e s i m p l i c i t y t h a t man a c c e p t s i t . ^  strangeness with which  140 Catch-22  i s full  grotesque Loyalty  events.  Major  aura the  that  rise  he  this mysterious  figure  completely dispels the  him, and n o t a jaw drops.  i n the Prayers a t Briefing  fails  there  t o generate  god," o r " t h er i c e  was a t l a s t  society  By f a i l i n g  response  stunning  through  gratifying  Imam, " t h e c o r n g o d , "  (244)  "InCairo These and  create the impression of a that  i t s madness i s a reaction  within  the reader t o stop and think.  t o these grotesque  of l a u g h t e r and d i s b e l i e f ,  to  the countries  t o give the expected  the n o v e l , the author causes immediate  i t s first  g o d , " was t h a t ,  so completely i r r a t i o n a l  commonplace.  to help.  enough a s t o n i s h m e n t  room a t t h e h o t e L "  other situations  instead  eager  To them, t h e most  of the triumphal f l i g h t  innumerable  The  t o form,  w h i c h M i l o was V i c e - S h a w , C a l i p h , rain  episode, f a i l s t o  eminence, a f t e r  keep Y o s s a r i a n a n d O r r awake.  "the  Similarly,  by h i s i g n o r a n c e ;  i s puzzled and worried, and, true  impact a t Palermo,  eat."(120)  He s h o u l d h a v e b e e n o u t r a g e d b y  Even M i l o ' s i n t e r n a t i o n a l  in  to  u t t e r a n c e : "Gimme  proposals and astounded  disclosure  even  public  to expectations.  Cathcart's  enough,  first  surrounds  chaplain  of the bizarre  i s t h e meek a n d u n s u r p r i s e d o b e d i e n c e  deCoverley's  two words,  t o bizarre and  A s i f t h e mass a c c e p t a n c e  Oath Campaign were n o t s u r p r i s i n g  more a s t o n i s h i n g  In  o f such dead-pan r e a c t i o n s  situations  i s one  but,while the defences a r e  weakened b y humour, t h e f r i g h t e n i n g  suspicion  of possible  141 truth  hits  home.  The r e a d e r  i s forced to recognize the  absurd. The bizarre  grotesque  impossibility  i n c i d e n t s suggests  t h a t perhaps they  viewed as the a c t u a l nightmares waking nightmare v i s i o n s by  of  the d i s t u r b e d bombadier's  situation chase,  irrationality  t o some e x t e n t ,  and f r u s t r a t i o n  portions of the novel  Strindberg describes  of  frequent  suggest  present  nightmares  missions  i n a  reappearing t h e sense o f  i n dreams.  the quality  of  In fact, dreamt.that  i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n t o A Dream  reference within the novel  a n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n may b e i n t e n d e d .  waits  insecurity  T h e s c e n e s o f mad  i n n e r f e a r s and a n x i e t i e s i n dreams,  such  he  faced.  have  naked i n  Play.  A n y t h i n g c a n happen; everything i s p o s s i b l e and probable. Time and space do n o t e x i s t . On a s l i g h t groundwork o f r e a l i t y , i m a g i n a t i o n s p i n s a n d w e a v e s n e w p a t t e r n s made u p o f m e m o r i e s , experiences, unfettered fancies, a b s u r d i t i e s and improvisations. The c h a r a c t e r s a r e s p l i t , double and m u l t i p l y ; they evaporate, crystallize, s c a t t e r , and converge. But a single consciousness h o l d s sway o v e r them a l l - t h a t o f t h e d r e a m e r .  ; The  distorted  be a n i g h t m a r e p r o j e c t i o n  pandemonium, a n d d i s a p p e a r i n g a n d  characters, a l l ,  large  temporarily  subconscious  he h a s n o t c o m p l e t e l y  be  as the  Yossarian's appearing  t r e e and on parade might w e l l  truly  should  or, at least,  o f a mind  neurosis and hysteria.  the  o f many o f t h e s e  a r e horrendous n i g h t l y  again.  suggests Hungry  occurrences  t o see i fh i s posting w i l l are raised  to the manifestation  Joe's  each  come t h r o u g h  Yossarian,  finally  that  time  before the  persuaded t o  142 the in  "sense" pain  protest  i n t h e m , c o m m e n t s : " I t made s e n s e  of a  it  makes more  of  perfect  chaplain, and  soul  of  trial  or K r a f t ' s death  could  from  living  befall  the wife  has ceaseless  that  coming  accidents  and c h i l d r e n  The f e e l i n g  i s accentuated  This  combination of  the incident of h i s abduction j u s t a t the time  g u i l t and anxiety, The w i l d  o f h i s extreme  improbabilities of the  declaration of h i s g u i l t ,  of h i s inquisitors,  and  sinister  trial  seen a s a r e a l °f C a t c h - 2 2 . that  this  i n this  makes much more  scene  sense  i t i s impossible  i n p a r t i c u l a r represents  toward  way, t h e g r o t e s q u e than  i fi t i s  i n c i d e n t , even i n the schizophrenic Of c o u r s e ,  the  and h i s unreasonable  d i s a p p o i n t m e n t when p u n i s h m e n t i s d e f e r r e d — p o i n t Viewed  revelation  and h i s subconscious  s i n i s t e r nature  such an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  by  on t h e s t a t i o n a n d h i s weak-  d e a t h , may w e l l b e a n i g h t m a r e  incident—the  The  doubts about the  uncertainty  t h e men  suggests  f o r expiation.  arbitrary  this  death  i n a bomber.  of secular authority.  (387-396),  h i s inner  whole  t o him than Appleby's  He a l s o  a t Nately's  desire  therefore,  that  i n the face  grief  i n agony a s a mark o f h u m a n i t y ;  t o help  circumstances and  seems t o v i e w  o f God a n d t h e t r u t h o f h i s r e l i g i o n .  inability  ness  He  t o o , has h o r r i b l e dreams, o f a l l t h e  guilt arising  his  involuntary  conformity  whom h e a d o r e s .  of  this  "sense"  atrocities  reality  (56)  every night."  to c r y out  world  t o be c e r t a i n a key to the  143 author's best  i n t e n t i o n s a n d i m p l i e s t h a t much o f t h e n o v e l i s  interpreted  Nevertheless, makes  such  and i n t e n s i f i e d o f modern  Despite condition a  joyous  akable  o f dream,  sense  victory  irrepressible  results  i n a  life.  over  pessimism  of affirmation  (1)  which  of the threatening  the harsh and dangerous r e a l i t y  spirit  (4)  nightmares.  seem p l a u s i b l e ,  so c o n v i n c i n g l y exposed,  main areas:  and  of Yossarian*s  the pervading atmosphere  an interpretation  heightened absurdity  as a series  o f t h e human  t h i s novel does  and despair.  The  seems t o o r i g i n a t e  t h e s t r e n g t h o f t h e p r o t e s t , (2) humour,  (3)  the humanity  represent unmist-  i n four the  of the absurd  hero,  the successful conclusion of h i s quest.  The  strength of the protest i s partly  derived  what one c r i t i c  has described as the author's  power t o r e s i s t  a l l the temptations  to  from  "heroic  understand."^  No a t t e m p t  i s made t o e x p l a i n o r t o m o r a l i z e u p o n man's  irrational  existence;  condition  that " i s . "  withdrawal attempt within a  i ti s presented  The s e c r e t o f t h i s  of the author's  to place  presented  of this  presence  the reader,  the consciousness  result  simply as the  lies  almost  complete  i n h i ss u c c e s s f u l  d u r i n g most o f t h e n a r r a t i v e ,  of the hysterical  subjective portrayal,  the f i c t i o n a l  i s not the world as i tappears  the world as i ti s i n t e r p r e t e d  bombadier.  As world  to the reader, or  by t h e a u t h o r ,  but the  144 world by the  made e v e n m o r e t h r e a t e n i n g  the neurotic  mind upon which  increase  distance  traditional imply  to  The use o f  exposed: satire,  t h a t makes i t b e a r a b l e .  irony— these  both t o  t h e u n i v e r s a l spread  O n t h e AWOL f l i g h t  on t h e " l o u s y  thoughts  turn  chain  to the l i t t l e  convinced  that  subtle  and thus  t o Rome, a s  such technique  to intensify Yossarian  o f i n h e r i t e d h a b i t , " (414)  be d i s e m b o w e l l e d a n d e a t e n .  stoically,  of evil  the  Besides  methods, t h e a u t h o r uses a very  protest.  broods  do i n t r a d i t i o n a l  i t i s  the sharpness o f recognition and t o provide  aesthetic  his  i t registers.  the v i s i o n of reality  f u n c t i o n i n g a s they  his  than  methods o f s a t i r e — w i t , humour, e x a g g e r a t i o n ,  i n n o way c l o u d s  to  and s i n i s t e r  A f r i c a n b o y s who a r e s o l d He a s s u m e s t h a t  i fthey  they  submit  showed f e a r o r p a i n ,  the custom would c e r t a i n l y have d i e d , f o r no c r a v i n g f o r w e a l t h o r i m m o r t a l i t y could be s o g r e a t , h e f e l t , a s t o s u b s i s t o n t h e s o r r o w o f c h i l d r e n . (4l4) A few hours l a t e r ,  Milo  whore's " k i d s i s t e r " connection but is.  by t h e s c e n t  from  the search  of illegal  tobacco.  t h e h o r r i f y i n g i m p l i c a t i o n i s c l e a r : what c o u l d Similarly,  no connection that  decay and the f i r s t  No  (100)  has r e s u l t e d adventures  "The c h a p l a i n  n o t be,  i s made b e t w e e n t h e s u p e r i nMilo's  complete  moral  into rationalized "sin"  e s s e n t i a l l y g o o d men: " M a j o r M a j o r h a d l i e d ,  good."  f o r the  i s made b e t w e e n t h e s t a t e m e n t a n d t h e i n c i d e n t ,  rationalization  of  i sdiverted  had sinned,  a n d i t was  a n d i t was g o o d . "  14-5 (372) is  Nevertheless,  implied.  process the  The c u l m i n a t i n g  of exposure  existence  restore  the widespread  Is a protest  of this  rings with  to accept  battery  o f comic  presented.  and i n s i s t s  and  t h e comic  irony  and  antithetical  diatribes  carefully  statements;  t o t h e mad  destruction and death to live,  whole  from  irrationalities dialogues  slapstick  comedy  t o what T r i s t r a m  of gusto"  R i s i n g above  of the hero's  the scene o f  i s the irrepressible  that w i l l  A  i n h o s p i t a l and mess, and  the "greatness  and oaths.  who  the horror  of b i z a r r e cross-purposes  pandemonium s c e n e s  call  sees.  reasoned  f a r c e o f whorehouse episodes;  Shandy would  o f one  o f humour a r e p r e s e n t :  w i t of Milo's  bawdy  man  to his l i f e .  e f f e c t s i s ranged a g a i n s t  brilliant  evil  i t asserts  that  t h e f a t e t h a t he s o c l e a r l y  the  of h i l a r i o u s  that  the defiant laughter  A l l gradations  of  diversified  so intense  human d i g n i t y a n d r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  refuses  urge  effect  of positive values  The n o v e l  the  infiltration  never accept  evil,  spirit,  defeat.  the  "There i s  17 no f a t e , "  s a y s Camus,  The d e f i a n c e absurd liberty  present  "that  cannot be surmounted by  i n the laughter  i s a declaration of  r e b e l l i o n and a c o n t i n u a l r e a f f i r m a t i o n o f and  scorn."  individual  humanity.  The awareness t h a t breeds p r o t e s t and t h e p a s s i o n f o r life  that breeds defiance  Yossarian,  meet i n t h e p o r t r a y a l o f  i n whom t h e a n g u i s h  and the joy of the absurd  146 s t r u g g l e a r e g i v e n human w a r m t h a n d i n d i v i d u a l and  possibility.  vibrantly  alive  The hero  i s an i n t e l l i g e n t ,  y o u n g man, i n m o r t a l t e r r o r  m a r k s o f h i s own h u m a n i t y . n o r m a r t y r would his  be u n d e r s t a t e m e n t  malingering and h i swild  will  testify.  responsibility  ter  That  lies  drunken  and whoring  invitations  he s u f f e r s  as a portion  link  with  escapades  His faults,  i n Milo's  doubts  o f h i s humanity,  the idea  i snot deified;  o n a human p l a n e , s i n c e -I  as  f r o m human d o u b t s a n d  m u c h o f .the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s  Camus* a b s u r d h e r o  human  i n the extreme,  maintains h i s innocence.  and a significant  fought  saint  e v i d e n t , a l t h o u g h he c o n s c i o u s l y a n d  fears are included fact  he i s n e i t h e r  to join  i salso  this  these  by r e f u s i n g a l l  anxieties  in  of losing  proves h i s basic  schemes.  vociferously  compassionate,  N e v e r t h e l e s s , he r e p e a t e d l y  nefarious  and  To s a y t h a t  significance  and  of the charac-  of the absurd  h i sbattle  man.  m u s t be  he " c a n u n d e r s t a n d o n l y i n  Q  terms." Yossarian's  spiritual  fear and anxiety through  so intense  t h a t he becomes  the g r a d u a l awakening  r a t i o n a l assessment absurd  quest leads him from a s t a t e o f  rebellion.  death as cosmic compassion  confrontation with  awareness,"  to a  of h i s s i t u a t i o n and the beginning of His recognition  certainties  for a l l  of "lucid  hysterical,  of e v i l ,  i n j u s t i c e and  generates an upsurgence  s u f f e r i n g men;  of  and h i slong-delayed  h i s own w o r s t f e a r s a n d d e e p  feelings  147 of  guilt  ordering  brings  principle  liberation  from  Camus' a b s u r d and  the  immobilizing  limitations  with  uncertainty.  Ultimately,  r e b e l , he f i n d s , i n p e r s o n a l  out to assert  authority,  r e j e c t i o n o f any-  i n society, o r i n the universe, and h i s  compassion, values  sets  of  h i s complete and f i n a l  that  responsibility  b y w h i c h h e may l i v e  hisindividual enclose  humanity  him.  like  and a c t , and i n the face  The scorn  of  of external  the d e l i g h t i n freedom, and t h e j o y i n l i v i n g ,  w h i c h he b e g i n s h i s e n d l e s s  the purely  human r e w a r d  conflict,  are foretastes  t h a t Camus a l l o w s  t o h i s absurd  man: The b o d y , a f f e c t i o n , c r e a t i o n , a c t i o n , human n o b i l i t y w i l l t h e n resume t h e i r p l a c e s i n t h i s mad w o r l d . °  FOOTNOTES  ^Albert  Camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s ,  p.  65.  J o s e p h H e l l e r , C a t c h - 2 2 ( N e w Y o r k : D e l l , 1969), {^Subsequent q u o t a t i o n s w i l l be f r o m t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be a c k n o w l e d g e d by page number w i t h i n parentheses immediately following.J 2  P.355«  ^Camus, T h e M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , ^Ibid.,  p.  p,  66.  38.  5 l b i d . , p . 46. 6 l b i d . , p . 38. (New  ^Quoted i n M a r t i n E s s l i n , The Theatre Y o r k : A n c h o r B o o k s , 1961), p . 253. 8  Camus, The Myth o f S i s y p h u s ,  9jan  Solomon,  p.  of the Absurd  46.  "The S t r u c t u r e  of Joseph H e l l e r ' s a r t i c l e contains a p r o v o c a t i v e d i s c u s s i o n o f "time" i n Catch-22. but concludes, however, t h a t t h e apparent i m p o s s i b i l i t y i n time sequence mentioned above i s a c t u a l . E s t a b l i s h i n g t h e a u t h e n t i c i t y of t h i s i n t e r s e c t i o n o f n a r r a t i v e l i n e s r e q u i r e s a good b i t of f r u s t r a t i n g d e t e c t i v e work. I t c a n be e s t a b l i s h e d , f o r instance, that Avignon occurred before Bologna, and that both occurred before the opening i n c i d e n t i n h o s p i t a l . Y e t one o f t h e e a r l i e s t c o n v e r s a t i o n s ( e a r l i e s t i n t h e n o v e l ) s u g g e s t s t h a t M i l o was n o t e v e n mess o f f i c e r a t t h e t i m e o f B o l o g n a , a s h e a s k s why S n a r k w a s b u s t e d t o P r i v a t e a n d i s t o l d t h a t he h a d " p o i s o n e d " t h e s q u a d r o n w i t h s o a p - f l a k e s i n t h e m a s h e d p o t a t o e s . (65) One i m m e d i a t e l y t h i n k s o f t h e epidemic o f diarrhoea before Bologna, a supposition that makes i m p o s s i b l e t h e c r o s s i n g o f Y o s s a r i a n ' s p a t h a n d t h a t of the M & M Syndicate a t Avignon. I t appears elsewhere, however, t h a t M i l o was a " b i g s h o t " b e f o r e B o l o g n a . (121) The w h o l e i l l u s i o n o f i m p o s s i b i l i t y a r i s e s f r o m t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e w e r e t w o e p i s o d e s o f " p o i s o n i n g , " (120) t h e f i r s t c o n s i d e r a b l y b e f o r e B o l o g n a , a n d t h a t t h e e a r l i e r one i s r e f e r r e d t o i n the conversation.}  Catch-22." Critique.  I X : 2 , 46-57. p h i s  V a n c e Ramsey, "From Here t o A b s u r d i t y : H e l l e r ' s C a t c h - 2 2 , " i n S e v e n C o n t e m p o r a r y A u t h o r s , e d . Thomas B. W h i t b r e a d ( A u s t i n : U . o f T e x a s P r e s s , 1966), p . 1 0 8 . 1 0  148  149 1 : L  (New  Camus, The  M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , p.  Ibid.,  11.  p.  1  2  1  3 i b i d . , p.  1  4  Ibid.,  p.  11. 93.  • ^ Q u o t e d i n M a r t i n E s s l i n , The Y o r k : A n c h o r B o o k s , 1961), p. 1 6  Doings 1  Norman Podhoretz, a n d U n d o i n g s (New  ? C a m u s , The  11.  Theatre  251.  "The B e s t C a t c h T h e r e York: Noonday P r e s s ,  M y t h o f S i s y p h u s , p.  l  8  Ibid.,  p.  38.  1  9  Ibid.,  p.  39.  of the  90.  Absurd  Is," in his p. 229.  1964),  CHAPTER I V Conclusion Individual Volcano trates  discussion  and Catch-22 i ndetail  the absurd.  novels,  necessity  stages  struggle this  and i n j u s t i c e  generally  illustrates  illusions  Finally,  the  two n o v e l s  the  successful quest,  they  of the  demonstrates  the d i f f i c u l t i e s  the  Furthermore, at different  awareness t h a t i n i t i a t e s  absurd  of the constant  and maintenance o f  observation of those  elements  that strengthen the affirmation  i n  implied  by  both v a l i d a t e s and emphasizes the  general conclusion that these novels value  essays  that cover the  of r e a l i t y .  r e q u i r e d f o r the achievement  state.  content  c h a r a c t e r s , caught  f o rthis  previously,  a n d Camus'  o f human l i f e ,  awareness"  of individual  i n the quest  rebellion,  r e l a t i o n s h i p noted  the meaningless  of "lucid  examination  observed  i n Under the  s i g n i f i c a n t as i t i l l u s -  Analysis of the satiric  exposing  irrationality  i s primarily  the thematic  between t h e n o v e l s on  of the absurd  o f human e x i s t e n c e , t h a t ,  strongly  confirm the  l i k e The Myth o f S i s y p h u s ,  present, a l u c i d i n v i t a t i o n t o l i v e and t o create i n the v e r y midst o f t h e d e s e r t . These  as  they  by  which  individual  illustrate such  studies are particularly  the d i v e r s i t y  o f method  n o v e l s p r e s e n t common  150  interesting  andoapproach  themes a n d a r r i v e a t  151 affirmative  conclusions.  B o t h Under the V o l c a n o and  Catch-22 a r e concerned with novels of  discussed:  human e x i s t e n t i a l  obscurity, evil  and  and death;  facing the self;  in  t h e modern w o r l d ;  and  t h e m e s common  anxiety  i n the face  the d i f f i c u l t y  i s o l a t i o n and lack and the problem  acting responsibly  t o a l lthe  without  o f knowing  o f communication  of living creatively  absolute  standards  of value.  Both ultimately a r r i v e a t a point  of strong affirmation.  But, d e s p i t e  they  and  this  striking  Under and,  b a s i c agreement,  dissimilarity  the Volcano  projects  i n the progression  catastrophe, Catch-22. farce,  t h e gloomy atmosphere  of n a r r a t i v e events  has t h e w i l d l y  society portrayed.  i s t h e most s i m i l a r  it  p r o j e c t s , by means o f g r o t e s q u e strange  i n technique  that  characters,  and  p e r s i s t e n t humour a n d s a t i r e ;  almost  the obvious and sustained  almost hides  discussed,  the hysterical  since  bizarre  world.  these d i f f e r i n g methods o f p r e s e n t a t i o n , o f doom i n L o w r y ' s n o v e l  drama.  reflects the  t o A b s u r d Drama,  image o f a n insane  air  tragedy,  of c l a s s i c a l  s e t t i n g s and d i s t o r t e d language, a  exaggerated nightmare  novel,  of  t o the i n e v i t a b l e  Of a l l t h e n o v e l s  it  effect.  comic atmosphere of  and d i s p l a y s an apparent d i s o r d e r  actions,  obvious  o f method and immediate  u s e s many o f t h e t e c h n i q u e s  i n contrast,  irrational  of  exhibit an  grossly  Because  the  pervading  obscures the underlying whereas,  i n Heller's  comic and grotesque  f e a r and t h e sense  satire  of potential  152 tragedy  l u r k i n g beneath the b r i l l i a n t  Similar ship  contrast  of the authors  i s evident  to their  exterior.  i n the apparent  subjects.  relation-  Although  the author  of C a t c h - 2 2 a p p e a r s t o have been " r e f i n e d o u t o f L o w r y , b e c a u s e o f h i s own a d m i s s i o n jectivity-^ this  a n d t h e mass  of the novel's  of biographical evidence  statement, appears  subject.'  existence,"  t o be d e e p l y  I t would appear that  this  involved sense  subsupporting  with h i s  of  personal  involvement as opposed t o apparent detachment c o l o u r s authors  portrayal of character.  1  delusions mercy;  and s e l f i s h  while  Yossarian  escapades w i t h force  I n any case,  destructiveness appears  a Don J u a n i s h  These s u p e r f i c i a l  are  from  the point  d i f f e r e n c e s , however, a r e n o t a s  of view of the s u f f e r i n g  intensely subjective.  whole world, point  life  r u l e s and e t h i c s .  complete o r as c l e a r - c u t as they a t f i r s t appear. novels,  without  t h r o u g h h i s mad  Immunity, as a v i t a l  e n s n a r e d by E s t a b l i s h m e n t  the  the Consul's  a r e exposed  to s a i l  2  with a gross  of impossibility,  The p o r t r a y a l o f exaggeration  suggests that  Both  protagonists,  Yossarian's  almost  to the  the w i l d and b i z a r r e  incidents are e i t h e r the d i s t o r t e d v i s i o n s of h i s hysteria, or a c t u a l nightmares. is  accentuated  scenes. on  sense o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l  by t h e c o n t r a s t i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n  H e r e t h e n a r r a t i v e becomes o b v i o u s l y  the l e v e l  having  This  faced  of rational  consciousness,  since  h i s hidden g u i l t and recognized  distortion  of the  final  subjective the  protagonist,  his real  153 enemy,  i s now a b l e  logical is  decision.  to assess  h i s s i t u a t i o n a n d t o make a  The C o n s u l ' s  somewhat d i f f e r e n t .  subjective view  A s one o f t h o s e  "fugitives  t r y t o escape  he  that i s less a projection of h i s anxiety  and  guilt  so c o l o u r e d by h i s p a r a n o i a  even f r i e n d s Yossarian's however,  and r e l a t i o n s hysterical  only  profit  idealism concerned  sense  self-destruction; toward  of duty.  to differentiate  sense  who  nature  that  maintains  between;:;those through  gaze  i s inward,  of damnation and d e s i r e f o r  a n d g i v e up h i s means  gaze  i s outward,  world  Therefore,  t h e a n x i e t y he h a s t r i e d complicated:  have been i n c r e a s e d by h i s l o s s  t h a t he  the  Consul's  his self-  of escape, and then to s t i l l .  Yossarian's  anxieties,  of childhood  to a pathological extent  come  He must r e c o g n i z e t h e  and causes of h i s basic e x i s t e n t i a l  accentuated  He  conform  The C o n s u l ' s  whereas Y o s s a r i a n ' s  i s somewhat l e s s  Reality  enemies.  hisvision.  blames f o r h i s f e a r .  terms w i t h  task  distorts  i s a t w o - f o l d one: l i e must see t h r o u g h  delusions to  persecuting  the a u t h o r i t a r i a n and mechanistic  consciously task  and h a l l u c i n a t i o n s  become  reality  w i t h h i s own  self-  h i s b a s i c fears.'  by t h e system and t h o s e  or a  reality,  f e a r of the v i s i b l e a u t h o r i t y ,  partially  enough c o n t a c t w i t h who  and  than a m a g n i f i c a t i o n of the a l c o h o l i c  d e l u s i o n s by w h i c h he h a s c o v e r e d is  themselves  from  s e l f - h o o d " ^ who sees a world  from  of the world  faith  which  and  by t h e p r e s s u r e s  of  154 the  destructive  war  Ultimately, view  of  the  that  evil  however, b o t h n o v e l s  evils  lies  institutions,  machine.  inherent  not but  entirely within  a s s e s s m e n t o f Hugh and irrational  and  Catch-22 senior of the  i n the  and  culprit  doctrines  ment of  a  constitute satisfa&tory  culpability than  and by  Hugh.'  brief  In  level,  recognized  and  most p a r t ,  In  and  and the  the  man's  suppressed  stressed  any  a  on  i n Under  an  forces his  the  is a  by  the  to  Yossarian's d i s t u r b i n g , but, his  constant and  Consul,  destructive  d i r e c t references  sense of  achieve-  Volcano  individual  obsessively powerfully  the  inescapable  human g u i l t  narrative  fought as  infrequent,  to  g u i l t and  Heller,  accentuate  destructive threat  the  to  promotes that  in  vision  Nevertheless,  the  hysteria  of  the  existence.  over  same  inhumanity  that  rational  appears  creative  brooded  latter,  i n man  conformity  first,  i n the  social  comparatively  Aarfy,  most s e r i o u s  more h e a v i l y  illustrated  political  the  personal  i n Catch-22.  theme, a  are  and  society  to Lowry,  implying  that Yossarian's  i s completed.  s u c c e s s and  while  Accordingly,  Milo  the  within  p r e s e n t s much the  society  like  remains  of  human w e a k n e s s ; w i t h i n man  the  l a t e n t "beast"  men  i n each n o v e l  chief  false  the  nor  s e l f i s h n e s s , g r e e d and  officers  evil  as  As  Laruelle  comprehensive  human c o n d i t i o n ,  w i t h i n man  both.  destructive  e x a g g e r a t e s , and  i n the  take a  involvement  in  guilt for evil  force are the  155 b e i n g communicated memory.  In this  t o Camus*  view  "futility"^  chiefly  through  respect. Heller  seems c l o s e r  o f man's e s s e n t i a l  o f remorse.  t h e r e c u r r e n t Snowdon  innocence  exclusive  b o t h Hugh a n d Y o s s a r i a n e v e n t u a l l y unconscious  and  corrosive In  method, the  spite  feelings  of g u i l t  face  their  o f such d i f f e r e n c e s the essential  nihilism,  eventually  way  break  of their  same d a n g e r s take  positive  responsible. t h e sense  about  crippling  emphasis and  p o i n t o f agreement  takes the f i r s t  to absurd  between  i s reached.  h i s d e l u s i o n s and h i s step toward  For both,  the walls  These  conscious  two a b s u r d  of fear,  t o the point a t which,  guilt,  heroes illusion  conscious of the  c o n d i t i o n and compassionately aware of t h e  and l i m i t a t i o n s action  f o r o t h e r s , they  f o r which  Although neither t h a t Cass does,  t o do, they  Nevertheless,  rebellion,  through  self-concern  perils  their  w h i l e Hugh a n d Y o s s a r i a n p r o g r e s s t h e w h o l e  spiritual  and  conscious  i n individual  two n o v e l s i s t h a t a c l e a r a f f i r m a t i o n  living;  as  force.  however,  professed  difference  i t appears,  and overcome  Even t h e C o n s u l , by s e e i n g t h r o u g h  in  than  Lowry  and t h e  But again, the apparent  between the n o v e l s i s l e s s  and  than  the struggle  be  under-  individually  r e t u r n s t o t h e community,  and D a r l e y and Ralph a r e  have a r r i v e d  the l i m i t a t i o n s  they w i l l  can  a t a sense  of shared  of the absurd  i s only beginning:  life  humanity.  apply.  Yossarian  will  156 continue  t o " k e e p on  among:':\ o t h e r knife; and  w h i l e Hugh w i l l  given;  his guilt.  Nothing  remains a  "drunken"  No  two  very  i n the  they  purpose  In  in life,  of  day-dreams  search  are  difficult  externally:  i n the  succeed  his  significant  find have  and  action  f o r Hugh i t "lousy  h e a r t s and  s t r u g g l e they  earth."  minds  joy and  of  exhil-  undertaken.  f o r v a l u e and  individual  j o y o u s l y , m a r k s them a s  however, does t h i s  the absurd  constitute  a  suppressed  as  of h i m s e l f as  religious  and  sense,  literature.^  Hugh has  a l w a y s be  dodging,  whore's k i t c h e n  absolute values  q u e s t e r s , who  in their  (463)  two  elect.  no  espousal  Hamlet's  endless  the  for Yossarian, a  occurred  unheroic  succeed  Camus*  changed  world,  o n l y change has  aration  of  has  minute,"  i n puncturing  heroic or universally  unlikely.  That  persist  therefore, choice w i l l  traditionally  these  every  t h r e a t s to h i s freedom,  t r a m p l i n g on  The  [his] toes  any  Any  life  quickly  of  as  "Manifesto"  to n a i l  for himself.  as  propaganda  individual affirmations  Hugh s q u e l c h e d  on  i n t e r r o g a t i o n w i t h an  answers only  novels  joyous  hope f o r the masses, must  s a v i o u r of mankind.  political  "Theses"  these  d e l u s i o n t h a t these  springtime  the  brand  d e f i a n t and  the  be  h i s momentary  vision  Neither Yossarian  to publish or church  door.  nor  any In  " E v e r l a s t i n g Yea,"  answering each  FOOTNOTES •kJamus,. The MEtKi a £ S i s y p h u s . P r e f a c e , p:. v .  James J o y c e , A P o r t r a i t of. the A r t i s t as a Young Mag.. V i k i n g P o r t a b l e J o y c e (lew X&ck, 1 9 4 ? ) , p.. 481. 2  3LQWE$,.. S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , , p.. 5 9 % I c E l r o y , . E x i s t e n t i a l i s m and Modern L i t e r a t u r e . P.. 9 i . . 5camuis,., The Mytha ofC Sisyphus... p.. 50-.^Glndih,. Postwar B r i t i s h . Flctlono,, p. 2 3 6 .  A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Anon,  [Article  Malcolm Lowry] TLS, January 26, 1967,  o n  pp. 6 9 - 8 1 .  Barrett, William. 1962.  I r r a t i o n a l Man.  New York: Anchor Books,  Bree, Germaine, ed. Camus. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1964. Camus, A l b e r t . The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. :  „ The Rebel. New York: Vintage Books, 1956.  Day, Douglas. "Of Tragic Joy," P r a i r i e Schooner, XXXVII (1963-4), 354-362. D u r r e l l , Lawrence. C l e a.  Balthazar .  London: Faber, I966.  London: Faber, I966,  J u s t i n e . London: Faber, I966. Mountolive. London: Faber, 1965. E d e l , Leon. The Modern P s y c h o l o g i c a l Novel. The U n i v e r s a l L i b r a r y . New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964. E s s l i n , M a r t i n . The Theatre of the Absurd. Anchor Books'^ 1961.  New York:  F r a i b e r g , L o u i s . " D u r r e l l ' s Dissonant Quartet," Contemporary B r i t i s h N o v e l i s t s , ed. Charles Shapiro, pp. 16-35. Carbondale, 111: S. 111. Univ. Press, I966. Galloway, David D. The Absurd Hero i n American F i c t i o n . A u s t i n : Univ. of Texas Press, 1966. G i n d i n , James. Postwar B r i t i s h F i c t i o n . Univ. of C a l i f . Press, 1963. Golding, W i l l i a m . Lord of the F l i e s . Penguin Books, 1965.  Berkeley, C a l i f . :  Harmondsworth:  Heilman, Robert B. "The Possessed A r t i s t and the A i l i n g Soul," Can. L i t . V I I I (Spring 1961), 7-16. 158  159 Heller, Erich. The D i s i n h e r i t e d Mind. C l e v e l a n d : Books, 1959. Heller,  Joseph.  Catch-22.  Meridian  1969.  New Y o r k : D e l l ,  H e n n , T.R. U n d a t e d L e t t e r . MemoraBilialEile,oBoxol3, Malcolm Lowry C o l l e c t i o n . Special Collections D i v i s i o n , U.B.C. L i b r a r y . Humphrey, R o b e r t . S t r e a m o f C o n s c i o u s n e s s i n t h e Modern Novel. Berkeley, Univ. of C a l i f . Press, 1965. Karl,  F r e d e r i c k R. T h e C o n t e m p o r a r y New Y o r k : N o o n d a y P r e s s , 1965•  English  Novel.  , "Joseph H e l l e r ' s Catch-22: Only F o o l s Walk i n Darkness," Contemporary American N o v e l i s t s , ed. H a r r y T. M o o r e , p p . 134-142. C a r b o n d a l e : S . I 1 1 . Univ. Press, 1964. Kreiger, Murray. Tragedy and the T r a g i c P h o e n i x B o o k s , I966.  Vision.  Chicago:  Lehan, Richard. " E x i s t e n t i a l i s m i n Recent American F i c t i o n : The Demonic Q u e s t , " R e c e n t A m e r i c a n F i c t i o n , e d . J o s e p h J . W a l d m e i r , p p . 63-83. B o s t o n : H o u g h t o n M i f f l i n , 1963. Lowry, Malcolm. D a r k a s t h e G r a v e W h e r e i n My F r i e n d I s L a i d , ed. Douglas Day a n d M a r g e r i e Lowry. Toronto: General P u b . C o . , 1968. I n t r o d u c t i o n by Douglas Day. . S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s o f Malcolm Lowry. ed. Harvey B r e i t and M a r g e r i e Bonner Lowry. New Y o r k : L i p p i n c o t t ,  1965.  • Under  t h eV o l c a n o . Harmondsworth:  Penguin  Books,  1963. Lucas, F.L. L i t e r a t u r e and Psychology. Rev. ed. Ann A r b o r Paperbacks: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1962. M c E l r o y , D a v i s Dunbar. Existentialism New Y o r k : P h i l o s o p h i c a l L i b r a r y , P o d h o r e t z , Norman. Press, 1964.  and Modern  I963.  Doings and Undoings.  Literature.  New Y o r k :  Noonday  Ramsey, Vance. "From Here t o A b s u r d i t y : H e l l e r ' s C a t c h - 2 2 . " S e v e n C o n t e m p o r a r y A u t h o r s , e d . Thomas B. W h i t b r e a d , pp. 99-118. A u s t i n : Univ. o f Texas Press, 1966.  160 R o b e r t s , James L . The R o l e o f S o c i e t y i n t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd," L i t e r a t u r e and S o c i e t y , ed.Bernice S l o a t , pp. 2 2 9 - 2 4 0 . , L i n c o l n , Neb: U n i v . o f N e b . P r e s s , 1964. Styron, William. SetThis S i g n e t B o o k s , 1968.  House  on F i r e . .  Toronto:  Wain, John. " L o w r y ' s S u b j e c t i v e E q u i p m e n t , " T h e New R e p u b l i c . J a n u a r y 15, 1966, p p . 23-24. . »A N e w N o v e l a b o u t O l d T r o u b l e s , " Quarterly.  V : l i (Summer  1963),  The C r i t i c a l  168-173.  

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