Joseph Heller's Catch 22 Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

When he went to tell ex-PFC Wintergreen his theory though, he was pushed away. It was if he didn’t care to think about the situation. This shows the lack of respect for another human life. This can also be seen in SlaughterHouse V. One of the things Billy thinks about is the value of human life. The question he asks is how can God not value the life of people and let them be slaughtered. What he was referring too was the concentration camps that he was in and saw people die at and the bombing of Dresden where many people lost their lives. Billy Pilgrim felt that if God loved his people that he wouldn’t allow this to happen. So therefore there would be no God because the God that people have learned about, loves everyone and would certainly not allow harm to anyone. This definitely takes aim at religion and basically sees how much faith a person might have in God despite the evil he sees around him. Another take on it is that why does God want people to be miserable. This is seen by Doc Daneeka constantly asking "Why Me". She talks about Hungry Joe and how Yossarian is constantly worries about Hungry Joe. She starts out by sarcastically saying that she has no stress. She says that she knows there is a war and there are people suffering. She can’t figure out why she has to be one of them. Another theme and imagery used in Catch 22 is the prison imagery. The hospital seems to be prison at first but a good prison if there was ever such a thing. In the beginning of the novel it is made clear that the world has tow parts, life in the hospital and life outside fighting in the war. Many see the hospital as a safe haven where they get to eat what they want and don’t have to worry about being killed. This is the perspective that Yossarian has. Clevinger and many others in the hospital have another idea of this. They thought that Yossarian and Dunbar, the other person that shared the same perspective as Yossarian, were crazy. Yossarian brought up the point...

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