Closing Time Summary
Joseph Heller

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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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Study Pack

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Closing Time Short Guide

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