Journal Entry 3 and 4:
Motive of the Novel and Intended Messages:
• I found there to be numerous motives that Heller was striving to achieve. The first being to slander the name of war and those involved, this on its’ own is not a difficult thing to do, however he did it in a way that really diminished on the intelligence of those involved high up; Cornel Cathcart is made out to be a neurotic who constantly doubted his own command and was constantly getting “black eyes” from his superiors as a result of raising the mission but raise them again he did, Major Major wouldn’t talk to anyone and was uniformly hated by people who didn’t know him, and Scheisskopf was obsessed with marching to no avail.
• It was also likely to be an “exposé” on the life of a bomber during WWII. To give people insight into what was likely to happen to you if you partook in a war. At the end Yossarian is faced with the sobering reality of most of his friends being dead or at least removed from him, having either gone crazy (Aarfy and McWatt), being killed in action (Dobbs, Natley and Clevenger) or disappeared (Dunbar). It shows a slow process of mental deterioration over the course of the novel.
• Heller was also making a mockery of bureaucracy that can be best summed up by the example of Yossarian moving the bomb line in the middle of the night and the days it took than to get it straightened out. It can, however be personified by Lieutenant Colonel Korn, Colonel Cathcart and General Dreedle. As the ranks get higher, they seem to get more and more incompetent, each being totally lost in their decision making without the other.
• The last of Heller’s’ motives were to show what having a conscience would do to you in the military. The two examples that stand out in my mind are McWatt and Aarfy. McWatt who was established as an honest, kind person, was unable to live with the death of kid Sampson on his mind so he flew his plane into a mountain whereas Aarfy, who was established to be a sociopath and who enjoyed to see others suffer raped and murdered a girl and thought nothing of it until he was threatened with arrest. It implies that the only way you’ll live through the war is if you kill your conscience.
All and all I’m happy I read this novel, it’s a book that everyone is expected to read. The past few years of book club have been really dry but I felt that this year had some good choices, Catch-22 in particular was always fast paced and witty. It kept you guessing what was going to happen next by giving short flashbacks or flash-forwards but never gave enough to ruin it’s pacing. It created a lot of intimacy with each character by giving them a chapter of their own in which I was able to connect and, unlike in most novels I read, I was actually able to sympathize with characters loses and felt genuinely saddened at some characters deaths for no other reason than “Heller just made them feel real and relatable.
• Joseph Heller, throughout the...