Use of Symbolism in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 Essay example

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Use of Symbolism in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 The clerk sneezed three times in rapid succession and looked at me through watery eyes. "What did you say your name was?" I told him my name and he turned to a towering file cabinet overflowing with papers and brown manila envelopes. After sneezing three times and searching through a drawer, he pulled out a thin folder and laid it on the counter. "Ah," he said in a nasal voice laden with condescension and impatience. "I see you have no experience in our particular area of expertise. Come back when you get some experience." I explained that I was there to get experience. "Well, I don't see how you can find any work with your experience," the clerk groused, peering at me through a pair of…show more content…
He spends extensive time in the squadron hospital with various contrived maladies. He tries acting insane to be grounded and sent home, but in this encounters Catch-22, a shady rule that prevents Yossarian from going home throughout the novel. If Yossarian only asks to be grounded for insanity, he will be. However, showing that he knows he is insane makes him sane, and he will be cleared for the next mission. As his friends die one by one and the insanity and confusion of everyone in the squadron become overwhelming, Yossarian finally decides that Catch-22 does not exist and that the only way to escape is to quit and flee to Sweden. Throughout the novel, Heller uses his characters to symbolize various wrongs found in society that Heller sees. For instance, the insensitivity and dehumanization of the officers shows what Heller perceives as the loss of morality and compassion in the modern world. In what seems to be one of the main themes of the book, the mess officer Milo Minderbender seems to symbolize the military-industrial complex that dominated the Cold War. Following World War II, President Eisenhower coined the term "military-industrial complex" to describe the relationship between private arms manufacturers, the armed forces and the government. This coalition collaborated to bloat the American military budget in order to make money for the companies. Corruption in the government contributed to allowing this. The

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