The postwar novel as postmodern : revisiting Catch-22 & Slaughterhouse-five Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/g445cj51j

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  • This thesis is an exploration of Catch-22 (1961) and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), two early documents of American postmodern literature. In particular, this thesis attempts to present the critical discussions surrounding each novel as parallel to the broader theoretical discussions surrounding the concept of postmodernism. My contention is that, in both of these discussions, due in part to the natural teleological and linear tendencies of literary criticism, and despite the professed openness of postmodern thought to paradox, diligent efforts must be made to periodically reassert collapsed possibilities in literature. With this in mind, I approach Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse-Five in an effort to, first, demonstrate how critics have diminished the potential meaning of each novel in imposing their own notions of a literary-historical trajectory, and, second, how readings of marginalized characters in each novel can reveal untapped potential for further exploration of the broadest definitions of the project of postmodernism.
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