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Catch 22 Essay

1495 words - 6 pages

Catch-22 Essay Jackie Yang 12BPrompt: some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Examine the particular attitudes or traditions that Heller apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques Heller uses to influence the reader's views. Avoid plot summary.Great literatures always speak for the authors. Throughout the history, literary works that have been created were so often accompanied by the writers' deep down intention to achieve a form of self-expression, to voice their opinions on social or political issues or beliefs to the general public. "Catch-22", the renowned American anti-war novel written in 1961, serves the similar purpose. In this novel, the author Joseph Heller employs various kinds of literary techniques, such as satire, surrealism, exaggeration and irony, apart from his brilliantly crafted plots, in order to satirize the corrupted political bureaucracy, the dominant profiteer social capitalism and the tradition of blindly obeying orders among soldiers. Throughout his narration, Heller expresses his disgust towards such social and political attitudes and tradition, with an evidently strong wish to advocate changes to our whole society.To begin with, writing the novel in the military context, the author has put an emphasis in his narration on the corruption and the absurdity of bureaucracy. Two of the most important points the author has highlighted when ridiculing the government institution were the pursuit of power and the blindness of people who stiffly follows the prescript instructions.Firstly, the depiction of the character Colonel Cathcart, a greedy, power-hungry and ambitious officer, serves as a great example to illustrate the deep corruption within the military ruling class. Without a trace of compassion or sympathy towards his men, Colonel Cathcart cares only about his promotion to become a General. He keeps increasing the number of missions of his soldier to keep them flying: "The colonel keeps raising them every time I get close" (174) moans Yossarian, the protagonist of the novel. Apparently the rule of flying mission was only a hideous scheme crafted by the authority, which has no intention to send the soldiers back home at all. Moreover, "Colonel Cathcart had courage and never hesitate to volunteer his men for any target available" (55), just to demonstrate his ability and "loyalty" to the country, without caring to the slightest whether his soldiers are going to come out of those mission alive. His complete ignorance towards human life strongly demonstrates the dehumanization of the absurdly corrupted government institution. War is not about war at all, but about fulfilling the personal interests of those with power. As for the soldiers, they serve as nothing more than chess pieces for the huge power play. The author has thrown a pungent irony through his depiction of the military officers in order to appeal to his reader's attention and...

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