Catch 22 is told in unchronological order from a third person limited omniscient point of view, mainly focused on the protagonist Captain John Yossarian. The novel follows Yossarian in his adventures as a bombardier in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Nevertheless, Catch-22 is not the typical World War II novel. Yossarian is convinced everyone is trying to kill him, including his own superiors. The plot unfolds as Yossarian attempts to avoid flying any more combat missions, while fettered by the paradox of Catch-22. The novel takes place on Pianosa, a tiny, fictitious island off the coast of Rome. The novel can be partitioned into five major parts: the narrative present, the Great Big Siege of Bologna, additional narrative present, Milo’s actions, and lastly on Yossarian’s escape from the military. By writing in erratic order, Heller effectively develops and emphasizes the novel’s satire and paradox.
The narrative present begins with Yossarian in the hospital with a fake liver ailment attempting to avoid flying more missions. The narrator goes on to introduce the comprehensive cast of characters, including Doc Daneeka, a hypochondriac doctor and Yossarian’s antithesis; Orr, Yossarian’s eccentric tent-mate and ultimately his life saver; Clevinger, a Harvard-educated man whose plan later disappears into thin air; Mcwatt, a daredevil who constantly whizzes around the camp with his plane; Nately, the son of a wealthy businessman, who is in love with a prostitute and instigates all kinds of debauchery; Chief White Halfoat, a Native American intending to die of pneumonia and not in war; Milo Minderbinder, the mysterious omnipotent syndicate leader who serves as the living representation of capitalism; ...
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...ders are more apt to engage with the novel.
Possibly the most interesting character in the novel is the mysterious Milo Minderbinder. Milo serves as a seemingly omnipotent power due to his syndicate, M&M Enterprises. Milo is Yossarian’s best friend, yet Milo is every character’s best friend. Milo epitomizes cleverness and acts extremely sly. Subsequently, Milo serves as a foil to the other characters due to how different he is. Milo is also incredibly intelligent and witty about the way he does business. The paradox of everyone benefitting from the syndicate despite the negative repercussions serves as comic relief throughout the novel. However, despite Milo’s comic relief, he is a confidant to Yossarian, which allows readers to believe Milo is authentic. In closing, by implementing such an authentic and mysterious character, readers are further stimulated to read.
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