Joseph Heller and Catch-22
War has been around for many years; there have been many famous that have fought in war. Many of them have written novels that have reflected their experiences in war whether it was good or bad. Joseph Heller a war veteran, who fought in WW2, wrote a novel that would go on and changed his life and also went on to add a word on the dictionary. Catch-22 made Joseph Heller famous, but it made it a lot more famous. It was a book so big it broke free of its author, and then flattened him like a boulder. Joseph Heller wrote one of the breakthrough novels of the twentieth century. “Catch-22 not only became an international bestseller but also revolutionized the publishing industry that produced it; the paperback edition of the novel was successful beyond all expectations, and its millions of copies sold brought the novel into the mainstream. Catch-22 helped to usher in the decade of the 1960s that so changed America, in the process becoming one of the most beloved works of the generation that transformed the country’s culture.” (Peck)
Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 1, 1923. He was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants that came to the United States. Heller was the youngest of three children; Heller spent his childhood in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, an area of lower-and middle-class Jewish families. Both his family and his teachers recognized Heller as a
bright but bored student; he tinkered with writing short stories while still in high school (Fine). In 1942, Heller joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. “He spent his years in the army flying sixty missions as a wing bombardier in a squadron of B-25’s stationed on Corsica in the Mediterranean” (Fine). When Heller was discharge from the air corps he married Shirley Held and registered at the University of Southern California under the G.I. Bill. With all his experience in war, Heller was able to imitate his major work Catch-22. “Moreover, his sixty missions, many of them brutal and bloody (including the series of raids on Bologna that form the core of Catch-22), profoundly affected the attitude toward death that informs all of his work” (Fine). Catch-22 involved an occasion between two proposals where the conditions of one contradict or disable the other. Insanity was the reason many of the soldiers went and fought in this war, but when the soldiers pled insanity to the officials they could not leave the war. The result of this double predicament was to trick the soldiers and to give them no choice but to go on the missions. Most of the action in Catch-22 is based on Joseph Heller's experiences as a young officer and bombardier stationed on Corsica, an island off the west coast of Italy, with the Army Air Forces in 1944.As the novel went on more and more Catch-22 examples occur in the novel.
“Catch-22, a darkly comical allegory about a flyer’s struggle to survive the insanity of modern warfare, was unlike any of the realistic-naturalistic...