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Date

5-5-2020

Description

As a prisoner in fascist Italy, Antonio Gramsci delineated his concept of the "philosophy of praxis," which emphasized the power of individualism and promoted freedom from the obscure, hegemonic influences that may lead individuals to consider themselves as constituents of groups before anything else. This paper will apply Gramsci's social insights from the Prison Notebooks to Joseph Heller's 1953 modernist American war novel, Catch-22, to demonstrate their meaning in the context of WWII and bring deeper consideration to their value today. It will also argue that Heller's character Yossarian warrants praise as the quintessential "philosopher of praxis." As opposed to his contemporaries within the squadron, Yossarian exemplified what it means to stand up for what one believes in by refusing to allow unjust practices and the behavior of the majority to dictate his own actions. Furthermore, Gramsci's work regarding socialization and conformity will be discussed to encourage an individualistic mentality during an age in which hostility often dissuades us from expressing our unique perspectives on social media and among others. Finally, the essay will utilize the extreme, adverse consequences of socialization depicted by Heller to underline the proposition that the conventions that surround us everyday may restrict us from realizing our true autonomy as individuals.

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May 5th, 12:00 AM

Bringing the Shadows of Hegemony to Light: Social Insights from an Italian Philosopher and American Author

As a prisoner in fascist Italy, Antonio Gramsci delineated his concept of the "philosophy of praxis," which emphasized the power of individualism and promoted freedom from the obscure, hegemonic influences that may lead individuals to consider themselves as constituents of groups before anything else. This paper will apply Gramsci's social insights from the Prison Notebooks to Joseph Heller's 1953 modernist American war novel, Catch-22, to demonstrate their meaning in the context of WWII and bring deeper consideration to their value today. It will also argue that Heller's character Yossarian warrants praise as the quintessential "philosopher of praxis." As opposed to his contemporaries within the squadron, Yossarian exemplified what it means to stand up for what one believes in by refusing to allow unjust practices and the behavior of the majority to dictate his own actions. Furthermore, Gramsci's work regarding socialization and conformity will be discussed to encourage an individualistic mentality during an age in which hostility often dissuades us from expressing our unique perspectives on social media and among others. Finally, the essay will utilize the extreme, adverse consequences of socialization depicted by Heller to underline the proposition that the conventions that surround us everyday may restrict us from realizing our true autonomy as individuals.