Serious presentations of anti-war themes provide us with truly great drama in which modern day society can find truly relevant. As well as providing a source to reflect on those tragic realities associated with war. However, the capabilities of serious presentations of anti-war themes can be over shadowed by the sharp nature of satire when addressing similar ideas of anti-war themes. Satire can have such an affect through its ability to diminish the emotion of serious anti-war presentations as the film Gallipoli.
There have been many diverse forms of satirical literature with powerful anti-war motives such as the novel Catch-22 that focused on the reaction of people when faced with the daily likelihood of annihilation. In addition, the more dubious likes of Play Little Victims that pursue a more comical approach to present its anti-war themes. Finally, a cartoon by Roger Matthew’s that presents a very critical opinion on important issues currently concerning the American community. These three sources of satire address similar themes of war, as does the more serious presentation Gallipoli. The themes were: the negative reaction of those individuals when involved in the war, the serving of self-interests in the face of war and the unjustifiable death of thousands of individuals at the hands of war.
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Firstly, the acclaimed novel Catch-22 written by Joseph Heller has established itself as one of the most recognized satirical literature of the modern era. Catch-22 is about death and the reactions of people when faced with the daily likelihood of annihilation. For the most part what they do is try to survive in anyway they can. The reaction of those characters in these circumstances is to erect individual and institutional defenses against the anxieties engineered by unconscious fantasies of the threat of annihilation. These defenses are extreme, utterly selfish and survivalistic in nature. These reactions are observed throughout the novel by the behavior of numerous characters; however the character most notably affected is the main character Yossarin. Yossarin has made it clear he no longer cares about the outcomes of the war and wants as limited as possible to do with the war effort. It’s via this anti-war transformation that Yossarin becomes overwhelmed by the survivalist instinct and becomes apparent in his behavior and mind state. This is supported by the narrative statements "Yossarin was a lead bombardier who had been demoted because he no longer gave a damn whether he missed or not".. "Yossarin had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive".
The increasingly corporate nature of American society is also a large satirized feature of Catch-22. This is primarily represented by the endeavors of M&M Enterprises led by Milo Minderbinder, the acting mess hall officer which is involved in various trade deals with surrounding islands and lastly the enemy. M&M Enterprises opens their black-market transactions in the selling of the squadron’s silk parachutes in exchange for cotton. Later business transactions included the sale of some of the military’s most vital supplies as diesel engines, shoes and morphine for items that represent no value to the base.
M&M Enterprise’s final trade was however the worst judgement of all as in order to rid the army of the masses of worthless cotton earlier purchased, Milo made a deal that risked the safety of his own base. The deal involved that the GermanТs would buy the cotton from the army providing they would agree to drop explosives on their own base.
The audience can relate to Milo Minderbinder as a terrifying but accurate symbol of immoral international business practices because of his practice of twisting the military system to satisfy his own purposes.
In conclusion, the use of satire was a major contributor in the creation of such a masterpiece as Catch-22. Catch-22 presented very powerful anti-war messages as the negative reaction upon those individuals when involved in the war, which was initiated by the main character Yossarin.
Yossarin expressed this by his strong survivalist instincts that were supported by his non-interest in the war effort. Secondly, the serving of self-interests portrayed by the lucrative entrepreneur Milo Minderbinder in the form of M&M enterprises as he served, as a symbol of immoral business transactions because of his practice of twisting the military system to satisfy his own purposes.
Secondly, the novel Play Little Victims by Kennith Cook is a very intelligent piece of satirical literature in its ability to confront various issues concerning modern history and transfer them into a very simplistic form. The novel has an ability to do this through the creation of a dynamic fairytale existence of a civilization of mice that draws numerous parallels to that of modern day society.
The chapter concerning war however serves most relevant to the topic and is very intriguing in the way the writer portrays the civilizations interpretation of the major objective of war. This interpretation of war is that it’s a tool to control factors of over population according to their understanding of modern history involving war. It’s through this interpretation of war the writer is able to raises many issues concerning war and as satire does, best ridicule those elements involving war and bring out the blanketed realities of war.
The major anti-war theme confronted was the unrealistic amounts of power that those military leaders had, which in the novel were portrayed by the war council. This is strongly supported in their reaction to the problem of over population the board paid no courtesy to those individuals that they were prepared to personally sacrifice for self- benefits. This sacrifice came in the face of war when the board assembled two sides of half a million each to battle in reaction to the problem of over population. This aspect of Play Little Victims is supported by the statement by Adamus when addressing the events of their first war. "This is only our first war and I regard it as a great success" "We’ll do better next time and we can have a battle once a week if we want to." This shows that the board had no compassion towards the hundreds of innocent victims as a direct result of their planning and execution and rather regards those individuals corpses laying in the valley a signal of success on their part.
The novel Play Little Victims also sees Kenneith Cook launch another satirical attack on the justification by governing parties for their declarations of war. The satire associated comes with the selection of sides by the War Council to depend on the participants prominent hand. This simplistic division of two sides is designed to ridicule the justification given by Political and Military leaders in modern times for their given reasons of war being based on international boarders and religious beliefs.
The third anti-war theme presented in the novel that also used the civilisations interpretation of war was the unjustifiable death of thousands of individuals at the hands of war. As it was according to the War Council that wars were a simple tool to control factors of overpopulation in the modern world and death is the sole outcome and purpose of War. This statement is supported by the optomistic remark from the war council "The theory is this one battle should reduce our population of around three million by at least half a million". This aspect of the novel is a very serious criticism of modern society and especially those past and present political leaders that have engaged in war. Despite this format of the novel as being seen as a laughable aspect on the surface. It’s through this ability of Satire Kennith Cook’s Play Little Victims is able to address such serious issues as war and be able to raise questions over the handling by authorities that otherwise would be never have been presented.
In conclusion, the novel Play Little Victims can be regarded as one of the greats of satirical literature in its ability to confront serious topics of modern history then transform them into a simplistic form as to question their meanings. The novel addresses various themes of war as the serving of self-interests in the face of war, which is strongly supported by the leaders of the War Council. The War Council in Play Little Victims can be represented as modern political and military leaders acting in self-interest by the declaration of war resulting in countless deaths of citizens. In addition, the unjust reasons for the countless deaths throughout history which is cleverly presented by the interpretation of the mice civilization as the main reason for war is as a tool to control population. The novel Play Little Victims has the ability to do this through the creation of a dynamic fairytale existence of a civilization of mice. The novel through its satirical aspect is better able to broadcast these themes then more serious presentations through its more comical and easy reading approach, yet amplifies very serious points increasing community awareness.
Thirdly, a cartoon by Roger Matthew’s that makes a very subtle point about the naivety of the reactions of individuals and communities when emotionally fueled over war. The cartoon primarily focuses on the United States and its reactions to the September 11 attacks on the twin towers although can be extended towards all parties contemplating or involved in war. The cartoon initiates the perspective’s of a particular individual during different periods of time the first being in 1969 during the Vietnam War and the second being after the September 11 attacks.
The artist draws on the similarities of "the war on terror" and the Vietnam War and how opinions can be transformed when observed from a different perspective. This is aspect is presented by two frames the first showing the individual in his twenties dressed as a stereotyped sixties "yipee" and the second presenting him thirty years later attired as a professional member of society.
The artist in the first frame attempts to focus on the individuals vulnerability to be called upon to go off to war. The frame itself is given its direction by the banner which the individual is holding which says "American troops out now!" This is a reaction to the acquired survivalist instinct and as he feels under threat by the direction of the war his perspective’s are very ant-war. The second frame is of the same individual in similar circumstances of the threat of war. However, the individual has changed his perspective’s on the issue of war, as he is no longer vulnerable to the impacts of war being an older and more professional member of the community. Satire comes into effect when he again presents a similar banner, however reverses the banner to say "American troops in now". This shows that because of ones position in society there can be a complete reversal of perspectiveТs by an individual.
The artist by the use of satire makes very strong allegations against the Americans of letting their emotions control their actions and aren’t able to put the issue of war into perspective. By the use of such an event as the Vietnam War, he projects the obvious outcomes and risks that are an unfortunate part of war. These unfortunate outcomes of war referred to are as discussed in the two pieces of satirical literature previously analyzed in the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and the novel Play Little Victims by Kennith Cook, that looked at the negative implications on those individuals when involved in war, the serving of self-interest in the face of war; and the unjustifiable death of thousands of individuals at the hands of war.
In conclusion, the cartoon by Roger Mathew’s presents a very strong allegation primarily focused on the American community and their emotionally fueled reactions to the September 11 attacks. These pro war reactions are according to the cartoon failing to take the ordeal into perspective and don’t show an understanding of those negative outcomes associated with war. The cartoon however can also can be extended towards other nations or groups that are currently involved in war or contemplating the declaration of war.
Finally, the film Gallipoli, which is truly a captivating modern day drama, is superbly directed by Peter Weir in the presentation of a very serious piece of anti- war literature. It follows the epic journey of two young Australians, who join the ill-fated ANZAC expedition. The movie is a very moving film in its ability to bring out the reality of the "Gallipoli" campaign, which has been deemed one of the great disasters in Australian military planning and execution.
The film Gallipoli is aimed at the emotions of the audience through its moving portrayal of the events of Gallipoli. ItТs importance as a film is to give an accurate insight into those tragic realities that unfolded on the beaches of Gallipoli during the First World War. The Movie has a large impact on the emotions of the audience by it’s focus on such a devastating event as Gallipoli, however in comparison to that of a finely-crafted piece of satire as Catch-22 and Play Little Victims isn’t able to achieve anywhere near the impact on the audience.
This concept is predominantly because of the structure of serious presentations as Gallipoli that focus on the delivering of an account of an event. Satire unlike those serious presentations doesn’t make such a centralized focus on the issue, it aims are towards the presenting of material that is thought provoking where the audience is pushed towards a reaction. This is an extreme advantage of satire over more serious presentations as it further involves the audience in the material, where they are then able to relate the material to other issues rather than be informed of a specific event.
The second advantage in which Satire has over that of more serious presentations is the ability to attract significantly more attention from the community in turn increasing overall awareness. This ability of satire to attract attention is through its general nature of ridicule and the issues or individuals it does ridicule as Satire is renowned for its often-sensational claims that are designed to devalue individuals and groups of high societal standing. Therefore satire posses this ability of increased awareness through its practices of making sensationalist remarks that attracts a large audience because of its entertainment value. Therefore the increased awareness provided by satire is a distinct advantage over more serious presentations as it moves away from the over exposed forms of serious presentations and to give a more entertaining experience that leaves a greater impact on the audience.
In Conclusion, serious presentations of anti-war themes are able to supply the audience with truly great drama, in which the audience can use as a source to establish an accurate insight into those tragic realities associated with war. However as observed from the earlier analyzed pieces of satirical literature of Catch 22, Play Little Victims and the Cartoon by Roger Matthew’s serious presentations aren’t able to have anywhere near the impact on the audience. The powerful impact which satire has over the emotions of serious presentations are its ability to stimulate the audience through it sensational accusations and ensure a dramatic thought provoking exercise upon the audience as a result of its general.
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