Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


Joseph Heller set a strong precedent for the postmodern war narrative with his classic Catch-22. Utilizing the key rhetorical tools of the nonlinear narrative structure, dark humor, and blunt diction to portray the chaos of war and coping strategies of the soldiers, his story became transcendent to readers and war writers beyond the World War II era. Tim O' Brien in his narrative If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home emulates these same rhetorical tools Heller made famous to describe own experience in Vietnam. Though writers of vastly different wars, both masterfully manipulate these tools tell a similar message: the true enemy is not who they were sent to fight, but the corrupt military entities forcing them to be there.