Literary Analysis Catch 22

1011 words - 4 pages

Christian EckmairLiterary Analysis from the excerpt of " Catch 22 " by Joseph Heller.Catch 22 is a satirical war novel that was written in the 1950´s, and was published in 1961. Joseph Heller was known for his works representing a comic vision of modern society with interconnected moral thoughts. The major critical passive theme in Catch 22 is the conflict that occurs when individuals interact with institutions such as the military, or government. It was written during the 1950´s when the Korean war was about to begin, and World War II just had ended. All those events seem to had an influence on Heller as he was writing Catch 22 about Yossarian, WWII bombardier and the attempt of staying mentally sane during such periods of time fulfilled with immoral logic. Heller establishes a world where suffering and death are without meaning, and without end. After the first sections of the novel, death becomes the real subject of the book and about what all structure is surrounded. In the passage from Catch 22, Joseph Heller uses setting, theme, and characters in order to convey the struggle during times of war.The geographical setting of Catch 22 is on a fictitious American Air Force base on the island of Pianosa which lies eight miles south of Elba, off the Italian coast. The passage for analysis is set in the army hospital at Pianosa where soldiers falsely admit themselves to seek escape from the madness and fear of war, which later develops to a symbol of refuge, although it is reflective of the military due to institutional routine and formality. Yossarian has the courage to confront the confines of the institutional order, and fakes his illness to admit himself to the hospital. At the hospital, he fights boredom by censoring the enlisted men´s letters. "One day, he blocks out all adverbs and adjectives. Another, he takes out every mention of the articles a, an, and the…" The madness that pervades the rest of the base or war is found again in the hospital, in the censoring of letter, the white soldier (which symbolizes the inhumanity of bureaucracies, and that soldiers are no more than interchangeable objects.No name/no face ), etc. Once Yossarian has found out about the Catch 22 which basically makes him another part of the military machine without hope to escape, various themes are repeated several times.The most important themes represented in this passage are the absolute power of bureaucracy, and the destruction of communication which is clearly symbolized when Yossarian actually cuts the only way of communication by editing those letters. An act which the protagonist takes as seeing himself in a prison created by words which decide over the lives of the soldiers, and others. The military bureaucracy has taken the communicative power out of the language. And Catch 22, a piece of paper he is not allowed to read, even though those words determine if he lives or dies, is the reason that keeps him flying missions after...

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