Essay about Catch 22

Essay about Catch 22

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“ In order to be grounded you must be crazy, but if you ask to be grounded, you must not be crazy anymore, so you have to continue flying”(Heller 40). This is the justification of what a catch-22 is. Insane behavior and the fight for freedom are both acts, which transpire in Catch 22. Yossarian, a squadron captain is in World War II flying a plane and fighting for his country. Though trying to get out, he knows there is only one way, and that would only get him “away” from all of the terror. This brings the reader to the theme of the play, escape. “Insanity is the only sane way to deal with an insane situation”(Heller 78). Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 explains an insight of which a paradox providing no way out of conflict is overcome and in the end, defeated.

Throughout the novel several passages express the idea of escape and the eagerness to do so. With almost no way to get out of the war completely, Yossarian knew of a temporary way out. Pretending he still had liver problems, he was able to stay in a ward along with truly insane people. Yossarian is aware this is not the best place to be, nor does it have the most caring people there to help you, or even any sane people around, but it is away from the war.
“I’m dead, serious about those other wards; M.P.’s won’t protect you, because they’re craziest of all. I’d go with you myself, but I’m scared stiff. Insanity is contagious. This is the only sane ward in the whole hospital. Everybody is crazy but us. This is probably the only sane ward in the whole world for that matter”(Heller 8).

Other examples of escape also showed up in several different characters. From a man named Hungrey Joe, who completed his 50 missions and was ready to go home, to a Doctor who did not want to be there in the first place but had to. No one was happy. Doctor Daneeka states,
“ I had it made, I tell you. Fifty grand a year I was knocking down, and almost all of it tax-free, since I made my customers pay me in cash. I had the strongest trade association in the world backing me up. And look what happened. Just when I was all set to really start stashing it away they had to manufacture fascism and start a war horrible enough to affect me. I gotta laugh when I hear someone like Hungrey Joe screaming his brains out every night”(Heller 46).

The previous statement shows how much everyone just wants “out”. Not only in books and stories a...


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...nsequences for their thought about actions. Hopefully growing strong and overpowering the weakness in their life. Similar circumstances also occur in other aspects of life. For example I myself would like to go to a specific university, though I was not excepted. With this I must attend a near by community college for two years increasing my chances of getting into the university. It is hard to escape not going to the community college if I know my chances will be better attending the community college. The idea of “escape” can be portrayed in several different ways.

“Catch-22 defies the maddening, paradoxical thought processes by which the military runs its soldiers lives, anytime Yossarian spies a potential way out of war, there is a catch” (Sparknotes).
“The alternating play of humor and horror creates a dramatic tension throughout that allows the book to be labeled as a classic both of humor and of war. With the humor in Catch-22 we are forced to conclude is only secondary. Where Heller comes through in unalleviated horror is where the message lies. The books humor does not alleviate the horror it heightens it by contrast.” (Riley, Carolyn & Phyllis Carmel Mendelson).


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