Joseph Heller's Catch 22 Essay

Joseph Heller's Catch 22 Essay

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Catch 22 Comparison Paper

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is a complex and intricate novel. Heller uses many themes, does not have the story line in chronological order and often uses irony in his descriptions. Many of the themes can be compared to other literature. One of the themes that can be compared is fear in war. The idea is that the evils and cruelty of war can make a grown man go back into a "fetal" state. This can be seen in The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell and can be compared to the metaphor used in chapter five of Catch 22. In this chapter Yossarian talks about the tight crawl space which led to the plexiglass bombardier’s compartment.

This can be looked at as the passageway to fear. Every time Yossarian climbs down he is entering a womb. Yossarian is depicted as being scared and that is why he goes down in the "womb" to feel secure. There, he is nothing but a scared child in a mother’s womb wanting to come out but he can’t. This can also be said for the character in the Ball Turret Gunner. The first lines the speaker says that he has had no choice but to be in this position of being in the belly of the bombardiers compartment. There he too feels as if he is nothing but a small child in his mother womb. He describes his helplessness when he says that he is "six miles form earth and loosed from the dream of life". However, the speaker in Ball Turret gunner goes to a further extent when he says that after the "nightmare", and he is killed and washed out of the compartment with a hose.

Another theme addressed in Catch 22 was religion. In Catch 22 the characters questioned whether or not God was real. Many points are brought out by this question. One question is if God loves us so much, why are human lives va...


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... kill.

So no matter how patriotic Clevingers tear filled speech was death is death and nobody wants that fate. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest McMurphy tries to make the outside world seem so good which is true to the reader because of the reader’s knowledge of the evil plans that Nurse Ratchet has in store. However, the characters are not mentally ready for the outside world. They have been locked up for so long in the "prison" that they could not handle the evils presented to them by other people. Nurse Ratchet has taken away their self-confidence and they can not deal with other people criticism. In the part of the novel when McMurphy takes them on a fishing trip, it is seen how fragile they are. In the bait shop they are torn down buy the loafers there and they really loose confidence. The prison has impacted them and will leave a permanent scar mentally.

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