This essay has a total of 1156 words and 7 pages.
A cult classic, Catch-22 is also considered a classic
in American literature. It tells the story of Captain
John Yossarian, bombardier in the U.S. Army Air
Force in the Second World War. Yossarian sees
himself as one powerless man in an overpoweringly
Heller himself was a bombardier for the U.S. Army in
the Second World War, flying in combat over Italy.
He flew 60 missions before he was discharged as a
lieutenant at the end of the war.
After the war, Heller took a job as a copywriter for a
small New York advertising agency. In 1953 he started
working on Catch-22 --which he didn't complete until
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that
were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask;
and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more
missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he
didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22
and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
One of the most important qualities of Catch-22 is its experimentation
with the experience of time; by presenting a linear narrative in a mixed-up
order, the novel both deprioritizes development toward an end as a feature of
its plot and conveys the impression that, as Yossarian is afraid to confront a
life that ends in death, the novel itself is skittish about the idea of the passing of
time, which leads toward death. Breaking up the time flow is, in a sense, an
attempt to defy mortality. In these early chapters, Dunbar presents an
important alternative to this approach: he knows he is trapped in linear time,
but he hopes to live as long as possible in it by making time move more slowly
in his perception. So he courts boredom and discomfort, because time seems
to pass more slowly when he is bored or uncomfortable. The separation of
the actual passage of time from the experience of that passage is, for Dunbar,
an attempt to regain control of a life constantly threatened by the violence of
The first time Yossarian ever goes to the hospital, he is still a private.
He feigns an abdominal pain, then mimics the mysterious ailment of the soldier
who saw everything twice. He spends Thanksgiving in the hospital, and vows
to spend all future Thanksgivings there; but he spends the next Thanksgiving in
bed with Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife, arguing about God. Once Yossarian
is "cured" of seeing everything twice, he is asked to pretend to be a dying
soldier for a mother and father who have traveled to see their son, who died
that morning. Yossarian allows them to bandage his face, and pretends to be
A fifteen year-old pilot; the pil
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