Closing Time Summary
Through the carefully chosen title of his sixth novel, the punning references to the bus terminal, the allusions to such works as Wagner's Gotterdammerung (1874), the last drama of The Ring of the Nibelung (1852-1897), Mann's Death in Venice (1912), and Leverkuhn's oratorio Apocalypse, Heller underscores his principal thematic concerns. Closing Time is about the aging process and death of individuals, the passing away of the World War II generation, and, ultimately, the demise of the world.
In Closing Time, Heller bravely confronts through the monologues of Sammy Singer and Lew Rabinowitz what it is to grow old: the fears and realities of cancer and strokes; the losses of sexual vitality, memory, bladder control, hearing; the death of one's spouse; loneliness. He also confronts the inescapability of death. Although John Yossarian is still the affirmer of life, in this novel he completes his recognition of human mortality initiated by the...
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Closing Time Short Guide
Joseph Heller Biographies (5)
9,017 words, approx. 31 pages
Joseph Heller (1923-1999) was a popular and respected writer whose first and best-known novel, Catch-22 (1961), is considered a classic of the post-World War II era. Presenting human existence as absu...
5,394 words, approx. 18 pages
When Joseph Heller learned that the New York Times Book Review's response to his first novel was negative, he and his family were terribly depressed. "Waiting for that review to come out," he later to...
3,058 words, approx. 11 pages
Jospeh Heller was born 1 May 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. His father died in 1927. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller joined the Twelfth Air Force. He was stationed in Co...
3,265 words, approx. 11 pages
Despite his relatively small output, Joseph Heller is considered a major contemporary author. His reputation rests principally on his first book, the experimental antiwar novel Catch-22, one of the mo...
12,613 words, approx. 43 pages
Joseph Heller has established himself as a major satirist in the field of contemporary American fiction. A new phrase was added to the American lexicon from the title of his first novel Catch-22 (1961...
Essays & Analysis (1)
1,002 words, approx. 4 pages