Free Essays - Human Fears in Catch-22

Free Essays - Human Fears in Catch-22

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Catch-22 Human Fears


The satirical and sympathetic tones in Catch-22 create bizarre situations and tragedy that describe war without the false glory and honor. It exposes human fears and needs in a time of pressure.


The diction of Catch-22 displaces the irrational ideas that the military upholds regarding death. The "clause of Catch-22" has no consideration for the "rational mind," or "concern for one's own safety." Catch-22 is a logical infallibility that makes one follow in endless circles of nonsense. Anyone sensible is lost in this swamp of incomprehensibility. Sane becomes arguable and life becomes a joke when regarded through a catch-22. There was a "grim secret...over the messy floor," like "garbage," it was the "inevitable end." Death was so often and close and real that it became like a secret between soldiers that if it wasn't told maybe it would never be true. When they were dead they were like garbage, they could be burned, dropped and buried. For everyone in the war, death could be at any time. It was coming but they didn't know when. Death was treated like it was impersonal, almost a joke; a horrible joke that no individual had control over.


In Catch-22 the detail portrays the actions leading Yossarian to become an Atheist. "Shivering uncontrollably," he kept thinking "everyone is trying to kill me."


Physical pain isn't uncommon in war. It can create fear and cause anger toward everything, no matter what the cause. The thought that so many people are coming with guns forward and that they all could potential end his life; this paranoia kept running through the mind of Yossarian. With something like "Catch-22" it must be a "mean and stupid God." Catch-22 keeps a soldier in the fight with the fear and anger and danger. When you seem hopelessly lost and in peril all the time, one will begin to question the meaning of it all. Why am I still here? Why me? These questions and situations without an answer created a loss in faith.


    The organization of the plot moves from confusion to argument and finally to refutation. In the beginning Yossarian tries to reason with the officers to let him stop flying missions.

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He can't go anywhere because they are using illogical laws and rules. The author wants to emphasize the problem with the ineffectiveness of words. They are becoming meaningless because they are irrational. In the middle he begins to use Catch-22 and other irrational reasoning to work for him. It doesn't work because the officers just come up with more. This shows the bureaucracy of the military and how little sense it makes. In the end of the novel Yossarian rejects the entire system, by refusing to fly anymore missions and is given the choice to support Catch-22 and get an honorable discharge or face a court-martial. Yossarian decides that he needs to make up his own morals and laws and he goes to Sweden. Joseph Heller does this to illustrate the loss of faith in military views of what is right. Bucking the system, Yossarian goes to create his own ethics, simple and sensible.


    The point of view moves from comedic and zooms into the sympathetic to take the reader toward the characters. "That's some Catch, that Catch-22." This facetious tone covers much of the novel creating a façade of laughs and humor that covers the truth. "As he gazed down despondently." Then when the book centers around a character and rides through tough times there is a sympathetic feeling that is brought out.


    War is shown in this novel in its true form. It isn't built up or glorified. The horrors are shown with a vivid realism. War will always be death, chaos, fear and anger.

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