Yossarian is the main character of Catch-22, and one of just a few characters that get fleshed out during the story. Yossarian represents many of the themes and ideas of Catch-22, and provides a character that most people can sympathize with. Yossarian is continually worried about dying but at the same time continues to fly his missions so someone else doesn’t have to fly his for him. Yossarian thinks he is sane while everyone else is crazy; however everyone else thinks the exact opposite. He is also seen as different because of name, as nobody has heard it before. The battles of life versus death and sanity versus insanity are some of the things that define Yossarian while he himself represents the psyche of a soldier during war.
Yossarian is described as a big burley Assyrian man. His appearance makes him markedly different from the rest of the people in his squadron and is one of the ways that he is seen as an outsider by the rest of the squadron. In addition to his appearance, his name also makes him stand out, as it is completely different from everyone else's and no one has ever heard it before Yossarian himself. These differences alienate him from the rest of the squadron, save for a few of Yossarian's close friends, and make it seem like Yossarian is special in some way, even though it is revealed that he is not really much different than the rest of the squadron.
Even though Yossarian is different in physical appearance and name then the rest of the squadron, it is his psyche that really sets him apart. Throughout the story, Yossarian fights an internal battle between sanity and insanity. He is seen as crazy by everyone else, while he himself thinks he is quite sane and it is everyone else who is crazy. The catalyst for this battle is the actual Catch-22 clause. Catch-22 is a clause of fictional military rule that continually puts Yossarian in a paradox. Catch-22 is not even real in the book, it exists purely because everyone says it does, in a sense a paradox itself. Many of the instances of Catch-22 that Yossarian is in are matters of life and death. Most of these matters are not issues of immediate life and death, but of inevitable life and death. The best example of Catch-22 is whey Yossarian goes to ask Doc Daneeka if he can be grounded from flying because he is crazy. Doc Daneeka tells Yossarian that because of Catch-22, he can't ground him because of him being crazy. Doc Daneeka explains that Yossarian can't be crazy because by asking to be grounded he expressed feelings of self-preservation and therefore must be sane, even though anyone who continued to fly missions must be crazy. It is this level of circular logic and reasoning that Yossarian has to deal with and keep from going insane. The lack of logic slowly breaks him down to where the only logical think he can do anymore is try to keep himself alive.
Yossarian's feelings of self-preservation are one of his major character traits. By being broken down by the illogical world...