Catch 22, By Joseph Heller Essay

1793 words - 7 pages

Catch 22 is a story about the different personalities that can be involved in a war. Out of all the different archetypes, the three I’ve chosen are John Yossarian, Albert Tappman, and Milo Minderbinder, although, not in that order. The first character being analyzed is Yossarian, the unwilling hero of this book. Although the book labels Yossarian as the main character, he constantly tries to coward out of going to battle. The second character that will be described is Milo Minderbinder, the archetypical business person of Catch 22.He runs the camp mess hall and controls what everyone in the camp is buying, selling, and eating. Milo is constantly trying to control or manipulate the economies around him, and after he gets a large commission from Germany to bomb his own camp. This gets him in trouble with every economy he’s dealt with, and in order to “help the syndicate”, he has to give up all of his profit. The last character that will be discussed is Albert Tappman, the Chaplain, who is best known as the corrupted innocence. Although he is one of the main characters, Al is the most neglected and, the least noticed. He receives the most trouble from the other characters in the book such as the daily verbal abuse from Corporal Whitcomb, and the confusing conversations with Colonel Cathcart. By the end of the book, he also begins to question his own faith and starts bringing lies and violence into his life after the death of Nately. Every character has their own story, and by describing three of the most differential archetypes in the story, the main story is explained better.
There are many ways to describe Yossarian, but the best characterization was by Colonel Cathcart:
“Yossarian – the very sight of the name made him shudder. There were so many esses in it. It just had to be subversive. It was like the word subversive itself. It was like seditious and insidious too, and like socialist, suspicious, fascist and Communist. It was an odious, alien, distasteful name, a name that just did not inspire confidence. It was not at all like such clean, crisp, honest, American names such as Catchcart, Peckem and Dreedle.”
(Heller 210)
The quote above describes the relationship with Colonel Cathcart, in which Cathcart has a worrying doubt about Yossarian and his role in the squadron. Yossarian complains to Doc Daneeka about Colonel Cathcart’s dictum regarding the mission count during every visit to the medical tent. Cathcart’s opinion about Yossarian also dawns upon the other men who start to wonder about the man with that name and who he actually is. One of the main points within the story is when the soldiers question Yossarian during the death of Lt. Mudd, whom the men continuously call “the dead man in Yossarian’s tent” (Heller 166). A character that changes Yossarian completely about war is Snowden. After Snowden’s death, Yossarian is given a medal of honor for fighting through that battle, but unlike the other men, Yossarian shows up in a...

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