Comparison Of Bureaucracy In Catch-22 And Apocalypse Now

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How is the futility and hypocrisy of war and bureaucracy explored by Joseph Heller and Francis Ford Coppola in Catch-22 and Apocalypse Now respectively?
Catch-22 authored by Joseph Heller and Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola are critically considered two of the finest examples of contemporary anti-war literature and cinema, despite neither being explicitly against the concept of combat as such, but rather, both opposing the bureaucratic absurdity that war inevitably entails. Catch-22 follows the incongruous struggle of Bomber Captain John Yossarian as he attempts to escape the tyrannical irrationality of bureaucracy in the US air force during World War II, ultimately to achieve his objective to “live forever or die in the attempt”.
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His greed leads him to betray his own country, men, and duty to maximise profits. He has no qualms with attacking his own base with its aeroplanes or exorbitantly raising the price of mess hall food, essentially impoverishing his fellow comrades. Milo’s selling of chocolate-covered cotton is furthermore an example of the artificialness of bureaucracy. The chocolate is utterly worthless, financially and nutritionally, and is masking something that is additionally utterly worthless. The chocolate hides the lack of substance beneath an enticing exterior, demonstrating the way in which bureaucracy can appear genuine, however it is impuissant in measuring actual substance or real merit, demonstrated through the promotion of Major Major due entirely to the easier paperwork resulting. This concept is compounded in Apocalypse Now when compared to the Do Lung Bridge scene in which Coppola creates a chaotic atmosphere through the utilisation of non-diegetic sound and dark lighting interrupted only by a solitary spotlight and explosions. As Chief (Albert Hall) describes, "We [The Americans] build it every night, Charlie [The Vietcong] blows it right back up again. Just so the Generals can say the road 's open” This example is emblematic of the war, as even though the administration was zealous in attempting to sell the importance of the war to the public, the soldiers on the ground were chaotically engaged in this daily futile exercise. The sisyphean task of rebuilding a bridge only to see it destroyed again is an expression of the madness of bureaucracy, reiterating the superficial nature in which bureaucracy is more concerned with the façade of success rather than any form of genuine

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