Thematic Concerns

The novel uses the theme of death as encompassed in Billy’s personal story to explain the Tralfamadorian philosophy of death. According to the novel, Billy’s life has been that of indignity such that he has no real fear of death thereby making him “suited” to accept death if it comes. The fact that Billy develops the idea of uttering words “so it goes” whenever he witnesses someone dying gives an impression that he sees it as a perfect normal occurrence that should bring no surprises. This attitude arises perhaps from his personal experiences with death over his entire life. For instance, his father succumbs to death in a hunting accident shortly before Billy goes to military combat and he says “so it goes”. This becomes the trend especially with the death of a former hobo in his railway car, the tragic death of one hundred and thirty innocent civilians in Dresden and the accidental suicide of Valencia Pilgrim with carbon monoxide. These tragic experiences give him the courage to calmly wait for his death as he has predicted without a shred of fear. In the end, Billy is shown to have gained control over his dignity as well as destiny (Vonnegut, 1982). On the other hand, the tough question of catch 22 has been explained properly in the novel “Catch 22” simply by the nature of the themes included. For instance, the characters used are variously portrayed as really trapped in the military system. This is the catch 22 situation that is meant in the novel. However, how each character responds to their situations give a thorough explanation in itself. For example, Flume is forced to retreat back to woods when he cannot cope with the eminent danger. On the other hand, McWatt loosely buzzes tents as he attempts to expose himself to the bullet so that he can be shot dead. Ideally, the authors at no instance take their time to explain the two ideas behind Tralfamadorian philosophy of death and catch 22. Instead, they include themes and conflicts that clearly unravel the two ideas (Heller, 1941).

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The two novels clearly create a distinctive departure from the modern approaches to literary works. The plots of both novels are incomparable to any other literary work in the modern society as they are both jumbled up in an indefinite chronological order. In addition, the characterization in the two novels take a rather very unique dimension in as far as modern literature is concerned. The author typically focuses on a third party or in certain instances the life situations faced by the characters to reveal their traits. Further, the themes contained in the novels are quite hard to decipher but clearly come out as the stories unfold.

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