Catch-22 Part 5: Fear

LiteratureCatch-22

Transcript

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especially in Hollywood,

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but it's actually a pretty specific term

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for what we mean by suspense.

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It's all about the anticipation of fear.

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I think that'd be a good textbook definition.

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It's about knowing something's gonna happen,

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not about the unknown.

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Give us some examples

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for how suspense takes place in Catch-22,

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particularly in the context of

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the humorous background and the little hints that we're given

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that there's really bad stuff on the rise.

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Absolutely. So the way

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that Heller structures the novel

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is so disjointed that

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we hear little snippets of things

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before we know what they are.

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And that's what we're talking about when we say

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it's not the fear of the unknown, it's the fear of the known.

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We know something's coming;

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we just don't know what it is.

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For instance, we hear about the siege of Bologna,

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which is this big battle,

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long before it happens.

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And we can kind of feel the tension building up.

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And of course, it's done in a humorous way.

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We can really feel that tension building up

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and we know that something big is about to happen.

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And we get snippets of it,

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but we're just waiting. And, again, it's that word,

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that anticipation that makes us crazy.

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And it inspires a kind of terror in us,

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which is that dark underbelly

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of the humor of the novel.

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Other things -- We see references to the soldier in white,

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who's wrapped in bandages.

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All these things, but just the general disjointed nature of the novel

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makes that happen.

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And clearly that's an intentional choice by Heller.

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He could have just told the novel linearly -

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and we'll get into that a little bit later -

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but instead he chooses to increase the tension and the suspense

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by just giving us a little bit at a time.

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Got it. Okay.

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How does the disjointed structure of Catch-22 increase the sense of fear in the reader?

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