The quest for immortality is a common theme throughout literature. However, in Catch 22, death is the reccurring theme. Joseph Heller illustrates how precious he values life through his main character's obsession with death. After experiencing many tragedies, Yossarian becomes obsessed with the concept of his own mortality, fighting harder to stay alive. Heller’s explicit descriptions of horrific events come together to form one overall picture of death itself. With Yossarian’s obsession and Heller’s explicit descriptions, Heller reveals his own thought on the preciousness of life.
One of the biggest reasons Yossarian is so aware of his own mortality, is the fact that he goes through many terrible tragedies. From going to war, to seeing his own friends die brutally, Yossarian has had a close experience with death. These experiences turn into paranoia. Yossarian becomes so much more aware of his own life that he expectantly waits for signs of death. Heller writes, "[Yossarian] wondered often how he would ever recognize the first chill, flush, twinge, ache, belch, sneeze, stain, lethargy, vocal slip, loss of balance or lapse of memory that would signal the inevitable beginning of the inevitable end" (Chapter 17). Yossarian is constantly aware of his own mortality. He consciously looks for signs of his inevitable oncoming death. He becomes paranoid with the fact that he may die at any moment. It scares him that there are numerous things that could kill him. Heller writes, " There were billions of conscientious body cells oxidating away day and night like dumb animals at their complicated job of keeping him alive and healthy, and everyone...
... middle of paper ...
...he can highlight the fact that life is a beautiful thing. Throughout the whole entire novel Heller shows how easily a human can die. This aids him in his idea that human life is a miraculous precious gift.
The theme of death in Joseph Milton’s Catch-22 is one many can relate. War veterans from all around the world can relate with Yossarian and his obsession with death. After so many tragedies, one realizes that death can come any time. Joseph Milton explicitly shows this. That is the reason why Milton deems life so precious. This novel is deserving of high literary merit because it has a theme applicable to many different people from many different times. Whether it is a revolutionary war veteran, or a World War II survivor, they could all relate to Yossarian’s fear of his own mortality.
Heller, Joseph. Catch 22. Paris: B. Grasset, 1985. Print.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Catch 22 America has been involved in the cold war for years. The fear of communism is ruining lives. The country moves closer and closer to the Korean war. Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 is published. 1963- College students are seen wearing army fatigues with “Yossarian” name tags. Reports are being made about a “Heller Cult”. Bumper stickers are manufactured which read, “Better Yossarian then Rotarian”. The phrase “Catch 22” has surfaced meaning a “no win situation” it is now an excepted word in the English dictionary.... [tags: Joseph Heller’s Catch 22]
860 words (2.5 pages)
- Literary Analysis of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 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.... [tags: Heller Joseph Catch 22 Analysis]
1786 words (5.1 pages)
- Essay #2: Classical Argument People fear what they do not know or understand. Madness, or insanity can be defined as severe mental illness or abnormal behavior. It can mean that one cannot conform to society or is simply foolish. Every definition of the word, however, pertains to some deficiency in one 's relationship with oneself or the world. If a man cannot get along with people in the world because he does not operate by the same set of logical principles, moral precepts, or social graces that the society around him accepts, that society might consider him insane.... [tags: Mental disorder, Mental illness]
1228 words (3.5 pages)
- There was dead silence in his office, the kind of silence that should never be disturbed. The look of determination on his face was uncanny. Every single move he made was precise and delicate. Colonel Cathcart slowly rolled a few inches away from his desk in his chair, just enough so he could stand up. At a snail's pace, he stood up never taking his eyes off his masterpiece. Cathcart's hand was shaking immensely as he lifted the playing card up to complete his beloved tower. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK' Cathcart's body jumped in surprise, causing his hand to jolt at the sound of the noise.... [tags: Joseph Heller Catch 22]
1891 words (5.4 pages)
- Catch 22 is a story about the different personalities that can be involved in a war. Out of all the different archetypes, the three I’ve chosen are John Yossarian, Albert Tappman, and Milo Minderbinder, although, not in that order. The first character being analyzed is Yossarian, the unwilling hero of this book. Although the book labels Yossarian as the main character, he constantly tries to coward out of going to battle. The second character that will be described is Milo Minderbinder, the archetypical business person of Catch 22.He runs the camp mess hall and controls what everyone in the camp is buying, selling, and eating.... [tags: Personalities of War]
830 words (2.4 pages)
- Joseph Heller's Catch 22 Catch 22 is a satirical novel written by Joseph Heller. It is a story about American army pilots on an island near Italy in the end of World War II in 1944. Catch 22 is a story about how the main character John Yossarian wants to get out of the army and how he tries to act insane so he can be declared unfit to fly any more missions. It is a satirical antiwar novel. It was considered very unusual and was critisised by reviewers when it was first published in 1961. It contains “black humour” because it makes fun out of the horror of war and shows how stupid some of the rules of the army are.... [tags: Heller Book Review]
1078 words (3.1 pages)
- Irony in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller According to The Merriam - Webster Dictionary "Irony is 1.) the use of words to express the opposite of what one really means 2.) incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected result" (380) In Catch-22 the type of irony that Heller uses is the second definition "incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected results" (Merriam - Webster Dictionary 380). For example in Catch-22 Heller writes "Actually, there were many officers clubs that Yossarian had not helped build, but he was proudest of the one on Pianosa" (18).... [tags: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller]
855 words (2.4 pages)
- Satire, Sarcasm, and Irony in Catch-22 Joseph Heller's narration, dialogue, and characterization in Catch-22 all create a unique perspective of war and our society's bureaucracy. The satire, sarcasm, irony, and general absurdity of the novel provide a view of the irrationality of man's behavior. The horror that is portrayed in Catch-22 is intensified by the humorous way in which it is portrayed. Distortion and exaggeration highlight the characters and scenario while magnifying the confusion.... [tags: Catch-22 Catch 22 Joseph Heller]
700 words (2 pages)
- The Quandary Explored by Yossarian in Catch 22 Heller's principle emphasis is on the internal struggle with conflicting values and the characters' evolution. He creates a quandary that Yossarian explores throughout the novel, and establishes Yossarian's world as one turned upside down by war. After exploring this chaotic condition and the mess it creates on people's values, Yossarian finally arrives at his decision to withdraw from the conflict. In the first half of the war, Yossarian runs.... [tags: Catch 22 Joseph Heller Literature Essays]
1179 words (3.4 pages)
- Themes of Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt vonnegut and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller In the books, Slaughter House 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller there are many themes that at first don’t appear to be related but once given a closer look have striking similarities. Both books are about one mans experience through World War II, one being a fighter pilot and another being a soldier. Each man is known as an anti-war hero. They do not agree with the war and do not find it appropriate to fight for it.... [tags: Slaughterhouse 5 Catch 22 Literature Essays]
1423 words (4.1 pages)