The Essay Is About Yossarian's (Main Character Of J. Heller's Book Catch 22) Heroic Features. The Topic Is: "Yossarian Is Not A Typical Hero" Discuss.

1146 words - 5 pages

"I need a hero 'til the end of the night and he's gotta be strong and he's gotta be tuff" - thus defines ... a hero in her song "I need a hero." In addition to those features a traditional hero is also respected by the majority, ready to sacrifice him- or herself for the sake of the safety of a neighbor and is ultimately good. On the other hand, one can also understand the term "hero" as "protagonist", but this meaning of the word is hereby irrelevant, since due to uniqueness of every novel one can hardly formulate a typical main character.However the first condition for the typical hero to come about is the typical setting. For example one needs clearly distinguished good and evil forces, a problem to solve etc. "Catch 22" is not a typical novel - there are no clearly distinguished opposite forces: everybody can be justified - Americans are emancipating the country, Germans enlightening and "setting world in order", Italians trying to found the means to survive. Variety of small problems to solve and abundance of a clearly distinct major one, make this novel even more different from a typical one. Hence there is no space for a typical character - it is unable to fit in. However the relations between John Yossarian, the main character of the novel, and a typical notion of heroism is still present.Devotion to the oppressed is an essential feature of a hero. Yossarian however betrays his squadron-mates and the innocent people. He agrees to fly Milo Minderbinder on his trade trips (chapter 22, page 263) and thus makes his impact into the growing of the M&M Syndicate. The organization established by Milo Minderbinder was controlling a big part of world's black and legal markets. Due to the favorable conditions Milo was in - availability of military resources and sympathy of colonels, he had a chance to manipulate the prices and cut the highest profit. As the syndicate grew bigger, it was harder and harder for the smaller companies to compete with it. Complicating of the conditions of other sellers and thus making a certain social layer even poorer, Milo's activities could sometimes have consequences even on the squadron. For example he agreed to let the Germans to the base and provided conditions for bombing it. As one can see, the syndicate was harmful and a person helping it grow is far from doing a favor to society. One can of course argue that the noble intentions were present and the overall idea of Yossarian was to crash it, but the response to it could be that then Yossarian should have tried to persuade Milo to stop trading or at least be more careful and considerate while stepping into a deal. However Yossarian does not seem to be bothered, which is not appropriate for a typical hero.Another example of Yossarian being ignorant towards other's troubles and thus not fulfilling the criterion of a hero is his behavior in Rome, which is described in the chapter 35. While walking around the streets the character sees a helplessly convulsing...

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