preview

Essay on The Quandary Explored by Yossarian in Catch 22

Good Essays
The Quandary Explored by Yossarian in Catch 22 Heller's principle emphasis is on the internal struggle with conflicting values and the characters' evolution. He creates a quandary that Yossarian explores throughout the novel, and establishes Yossarian's world as one turned upside down by war. After exploring this chaotic condition and the mess it creates on people's values, Yossarian finally arrives at his decision to withdraw from the conflict. In the first half of the war, Yossarian runs. As he comes to terms with himself, he takes responsibility and explores life beyond himself.

Identifying his adversary after careful reasoning, Yossarian names the enemy as
"'anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side
…show more content…
(Later in the book we see him feel guilty for the actions of others.)

Yossarian emerges as a selfish rebel, who opposes war and anything to do with it. Major Major's dilemma in handling Yossarian is reflected in his thought, "What could you do with a man who looked you squarely in the eye and said he would rather die than be killed in combat, a man who was at least as mature and intelligent as you were and who you had to pretend was not?" (113). In exploring the idea of sanity in war, Heller points out that only crazy men are going to go "out to be killed" (315). The structure of the novel puts the blame on Yossarian by making him seemingly responsible for almost everything in the book. Yossarian is the only one flying missions, who fully understands the absurdity, danger, and irony of doing so. Yossarian's reaction, in which he makes a conscious decision to stop participating , leads to the accusation that "'...the men were perfectly content to fly as many missions as we asked as long as they thought they had no alternative. Now you've given them hope, and they're unhappy. So the blame is all yours'" (Heller 423). By issuing blame, Heller shows that the individual is still stronger than the establishment, and in the end, the individual is responsible for himself. To eliminate the threat to conformity found in Yossarian's rebellion, his superiors decide to agree to his demands, conditionally. Another evolution takes place, as
    Get Access