Character Names in Joseph Heler's Catch-22
Many characters in Joseph Heler’s Catch-22 do not have proper names. Like the Texan, the soldier in white, and the soldier who saw everything twice, Nately’s whore’s kid sister does not have a specific birth name. This namelesnes forces the reader to question her identity, her characteristics, and her role in the work in relation to other characters. As Nately’s whore’s kid sister, she is at least two degres of separation away from a real name, a true identity. The reader is forced to consider this character first in relation to Nately and then as the kid sister of a whore who also lacks a proper name. Every formulation of the kid sister’s identity must be filtered through these other…show more content… While trying to help her sister 1 J. Turner, paper #2 kil Yosarian, the kid sister is said to brandish a bread knife as if playing with a toy. Her innocence makes her incapable of violence. She is not yet able to control such womanly, domestic weapons.
As a “kid” she is not an adult, not a woman, not a man. She is a twelve-year-old virgin who cannot be identified by her sexuality. Her “sapling body” (259) is twig-like in comparison to the voluptuous women in the bordelo. She is outgrowing her childhood but has not yet reached adulthood. She is caught betwen the world of innocence and the world of guilt. As a virgin she is pure and unadulterated in the most basic sense of the word. She is not contaminated by the sordid ways of the world and maintains an innate innocence. Yosarian wants to rescue her before she fals into the trappings of adulthood, into the footsteps of her older sister. The purgatorial state in which Heler presents the kid sister can be viewed as similar to the moral limbo in which Yosarian finds himself. Diagnosed with “a morbid aversion to dying” and having “depseated survival anxieties” (313), Yosarian’s main objective throughout the book is to avoid being kiled. However, his instinct for self-preservation is moderated, in the end, by loyalty to his friends and a sense of optimism and hopefulnes that he asociates with Nately’s whore’s kid sister.
The second part of this character’s cognomen brings