"Catch-22" Study Notes

Essay by anto257High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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1. Heller introduces to the reader the irony of the situations the characters are going through. He satirizes the idea of war, and how all the soldiers don't really know what they are fighting for. Ideals such as patriotism are looked down upon by the characters: for example, the Texan is a very friendly and patriotic man who is hated by everyone in the hospital and causes everyone to leave the hospital in just a few days. The generals are also a source of humor, since they are only preoccupied with getting a "raise" in their status. The characters in the book are also very troubled, for example Hungry Joe is an American soldier who cannot sleep peacefully at night, and wakes up everyone in his squadron since he screams throughout the night. He always has nightmares whenever he does not have to fly missions the very next day, which shows the terror the soldiers have to fight for their country.

The meaning of Catch-22 is presented in these chapters; this paradox proves the irrational circumstances of war and how there is no way out of it. The soldiers need to do a certain number of missions to go back home, but the missions' just increase when a solider is getting close to the total mission count.

2) In the first chapter, Yossarian is accusing everyone of being insane and even tells the chaplain that insanity is contagious. Yossarian thinks everyone is crazy because it seems as though no one realizes there is a war going on except for him. On the other hand, Clevinger thinks Yossarian is crazy because he thinks everyone is going to kill him and is paranoid about everything that goes on around him. Catch-22 itself is an insane paradox. For example, a soldier cannot be...