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"Catch 22: Controlling Others" About The Abuse Of Others Through Use Of The English Language. Catch 22 By Joseph Heller.

870 words - 3 pages

The manipulation of the English language in order to control others is a point that Joseph Heller emphasizes in his novel Catch-22. He shows how Wintergreen is in control of everything, the hypocrisy in the military hierarchy, and how Catch-22 itself works.Throughout Catch-22, PFC Wintergreen, though of the lowest rank in the military, is in effect the most powerful person because he controls all communication where the novel takes place. PFC Wintergreen is not really even in Pianosa. Wintergreen is actually stationed Colorado, but all communication must go through him before it can be delivered to the recipient. He bends the rules, as Kennard said "Since the rules do not work, anything may happen. There is no reasonable justice."(Kennard, 77) Wintergreen makes the rules, since he has all real power. A perfect example of how he is really in control is his sabotage of Colonel Cathcart, "Actually, Colonel Cathcart did not have a chance in hell of becoming a general. For one thing, there was ex-PFC Wintergreen, who also wanted to be a general, and who always distorted, destroyed, rejected or misdirected any correspondence by, for, or about Colonel Cathcart that might do him credit."(Heller, 225) This is one of the first instances where the author comes out and tells us that Wintergreen is in control, but during the book, Heller shows us that Wintergreen can't be stopped, and that no matter what he does, he will just go on with his job. "Each time [ex-PFC Wintergreen] went AWOL, he was caught and sentenced to dig up and fill holes six feet deep, wide and long for a specified amount of time. Each time he finished his sentence, he went AWOL again."(Heller, 114) Wintergreen acts like this because he wants to insure that he stays in a position of power, and he can if he keeps the post he has by going AWOL, and then the military gives him this duty as a form of punishment.All through Catch-22, Heller shows, again and again, the corruption, and confusion, in the military chain of command. Confusion is the more evident trait, with officers not knowing who their commanding officer is, or even who they are in command of. One example of this is when Major Major Major Major is unsure if he is in command, or is subordinate to, the imposing Major ------ de Coverly, "Major Major wondered about his relationship to Major ------ de Coverly and about Major ------ de Coverly's relationship to him. He knew Major ------de Coverly was his executive officer, but he did...

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