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The Lacanian Psychoanalysis of Yossarian in Catch-22

Author GuoLeiLei
Tutor HaoLin
School Shanxi University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Catch-22 The unconscious desire The mirror stage Three orders Yossarian Lacan
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Catch-22is a well-known work of American novelist Joseph Heller who is the representative of black humor. And this novel is also known as the masterpiece of black humor novels. The term "catch-22" even has been listed into the dictionary to depict a situation characterized by absurdity or senselessness.The protagonist of this novel, Yossarian, is widely regarded as the anti-hero who struggles against the authority of bureaucracy. He subverts the image of the archetypal heroes in the traditional war novels. In the novel, Yossarian is depicted as an average person who desires to survive the war rather than a hero who fights against Nazi for the sake of justice with little thought to himself. And a variety of analysis on him from different perspectives has been done by many critics. However, there are few critics applying Lacanian psychoanalysis theory to the analysis of Yossarian.This thesis tries to apply Lacanian theories about the unconscious, the mirror stage and three orders to the analysis of Yossarian in order to get a deeper understanding of the unconscious, the desire and the psychological development of him. And it is divided into six parts. The first part is the introduction which includes the short introduction of Joseph Heller, the plot of Catch-22, the literature review, the research purpose and the structure of this thesis.The second part is Chapter One in which Jacque Lacan and his theory are introduced briefly. The following is Chapter Two. In this chapter, the metaphor, metonymy and metonymical slippage in the dream and illusions of Yossarian will be discussed in three sections. The third part is Chapter Three which focuses on the analysis of Yossarian in the mirror stage including the image identifications, the construction of self-contradiction and the transformation of the object of desire. Then in Chapter Four, Three Orders Theory is applied to the analysis of the psychological structure of Yossarian. Especially catch-22as the Name of the father is discussed. The last part is the conclusion which sums up the main ideas of this thesis and describes the advantages of Lacanian psychoanalysis.

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