Catch 22 Literary Analysis

Decent Essays

Ever since the novel Catch 22 was published in 1961, the phrase “Catch 22” has became ingrained in the english language. In Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, the main character (Yossarian) is a twenty eight year old bombardier in the United States Air Force, during world war 2. Yossarian is stationed in Pianosa, Italy and hates the war. He finds the war pointless and miserable, while he is also scared because, “Every one of them” (Heller 17) is trying to kill him. On Yossarian's journey to escape the war he faces many obstacles and dilemmas. The consistent presence of dilemmas build characterization and assist in the overall development of the plot.
Early in the novel Yossarian’s ambitions to exit the war are met with a strong paradoxical rule which involves him in a dilemma. Yossarian enters Doc Daneeka’s tent pleading to be grounded (removed from flights) based on the grounds that he is crazy. Doc Daneeka sees his point but counters with a catch, “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own 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”(46). Doc Daneeka’s explanation of the Catch 22 rule certifies that Yossarian cannot be removed from combat based on the fact that he believes he is crazy. The paradoxical dilemma behind the rule is that

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