An Analysis of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Topics: Catch-22, Yossarian, Closing Time Pages: 4 (1302 words) Published: October 8, 1999
An Analysis of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Catch 22, by Joseph Heller, is a critique of the society that we live in. Whoever is proud of what we have advanced to, and is unwilling to look at it in a negative light, would find this book very subversive. It threatens and criticizes the way of living of most who pride themselves in living a modern life. Heller shows through the ridiculousness of war how misguided much of modern society has become, in spite of all our so called civilized advancement. Some will find this interesting, thought provoking and enjoy this book. Others will take it as a direct threat and insult to all the work they have done.

From the very beginning, Heller shows some of the most popular ideas and values of the day in a negative, questioning light. In particular, he shows the negative consequences of conformity and highlights individuality as a way to survive. He wants us to recognize how one is controlled and stifled by society.

The leading character in this novel, addressing what has gone wrong with society, is Yossarian. He is the only one who recognizes the full craziness of what everyone is living for: wealth, false happiness, society's approval, etc. He is one of the few who tries to fight the power and elitism that have become so sought after in America. Throughout the novel, he tries to find a way to live a fuller life as a real human individual. He looks to many of the other characters in the book for help but only finds unsatisfactory answers.

Each of the characters in Yossarian's life at the base shows the reader one more example of how bad society has become. Clavinger tries to live life by reasoning. He looks for a reason in everything. In constantly looking for a reason why, he never enjoys life to it fullest. As further proof that this life leads nowhere, he is shot down and killed, certainly not an event with a rational explanation. Major Major is the person who obeys everyone, always trying to be perfect. He does...
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