Laughing in the face of war and death, literally, is one of the things that make the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller such an intriguing and original story. It was written in 1961, a time when, due to the fighting of the Second World War, all war novels were written with a dark and dreary tone, while still trying to continue the pre-conceived romantic notions about war. However, Joseph Heller strips away all of the romantic pretense, and pulling heavily on his own Air Force experience during WWII, presents war in its most raw, un-censored version. It takes away thoughts of being the amazing hero, and winning medals, and replaces them with the screwed up, bureaucratic way that we fight wars. It shows the true paradoxes that arise, and shows the violence of war, in its most un-adulterated form. This book came right after WWII, a war that most American citizens saw as a just and needed war, and shocked all who read it with the truth about war. Then, as if to prove the literary genius of the author, the Vietnam War comes along. It then turns out that the novel Catch-22 was almost prophetic about the war. Almost the entire novel is shown through the eyes of the main character, Captain John Yossarian. He is an Assyrian, who is completely paranoid and always trying to convince people that there are other people out there who are doing their best to make sure he doesn’t return from each mission he flies. He then decides to make it his personal mission to return alive from every flight. Throughout the entire story, the main theme or subject is the craziness of war, and how it is not romantic as it has been previously portrayed, but actually hellish and dangerous.
One of the most interesti...
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...iness of war.
In conclusion, the entire book, while being non-sequential and confusing throughout, still conveys its theme very well. This is mainly thanks to the author’s ability to bend the English language to his will, and the timing that it was released. It came out at a time that all war novels were heroic and romantic, yet do to Heller’s own Air Force experience he knew the truth about war, and by writing about it, he brings it to the foreground. The entire novel centers around and contributes to the theme that true war is not how it has been portrayed in the media of the day. It is actually a self-contained hell that is perpetuated by crazy leaders, death, and violence. This makes this novel one that should be required reading for all peoples in the world, so that we can better understand the truth about war, and maybe, just maybe, we will have fewer wars.
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