The Surprising Aspect Of Sex I

947 words - 4 pages

The Surprising Aspect of Sex in Heller's Catch-22 Joseph Heller's humorist-war novel, Catch-22, has many surprising passages and themes. The part that is most surprising to me in Catch-22 is the amount of sexual connotation in a novel based around World War II. The question which has to be raised is, Is Catch-22 really about World War II? While this book is a fictious war novel, you get a different look into the lives of the soldiers. Their lives are filled with sex, whether it is a quick stop at a whorehouse in Italy or putting a hand up Nurse Duckett's thighs. Catch-22 is about something deeper than the war. It is about personal experiences of soldiers in the eyes of Joseph Heller which brings this book to a different level than what is expected. One example of heavy sexual content in Catch-22, is when Heller describes General Dreedle's nurse in great detail. Descriptions like "nubile breasts", "ripened" and "He drank her in insatiably from head to pointed toenail" (230), Or "He licked his parched, thirsting lips with a sticky tongue and moaned in misery again…" (230), make this Catch-22 dirty. It brought this book to whole other level which when I first opened it was not expecting. This level is almost in a way more humanistic than the level I thought it would reach. The typical war story of courage and bravery seem to have disappeared from Heller's depiction. It shows that while there is a traumatic World War, and these soldiers are fighting for their country and more importantly to them, their lives, these soldiers have a life outside of the war to which they want to keep. Most of the soldiers are not there by choice. To be considered sane is to save your life and prevent yourself from having to fight. In a way, the excess of sex takes their minds off the war and also takes the reader's mind off the war as well. How and why are they allowed to get away with their appalling actions? For some reason no one punishes Yossarian and the rest of the soldiers after going to Italian whore houses and acting like sex-crazed dirty men. Another example of sex in Catch-22, is in the chapter Nately's Old Man, where the chapter takes place in an "amazing place" with a "seething cornucopia of female nipples and navels" (251). This chapter is filled with lush, vivid descriptions of nude women flocking to all the soldiers, including Nately's old man, or rather his "father". Nipples and navels are the only standout things in the room, everything else...

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