Friday, January 9, 2015

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

by Alisha Ukani

 “'You mean there's a catch?'
'Sure there's a catch', Doc Daneeka replied. 'Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy.'

'There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to.'"

Catch-22 is a satire that explores the lives and relationships of U.S. pilots stationed in Italy as they fight in WWII. Stuck in bureaucracy, the number of missions the men need to fly before leaving keeps increasing, due to a colonel that's obsessed with being the best. The story follows Yossarian, one of the bombardiers, who's goal is to not get killed in combat. It also explores the other characters, letting the reader see their histories and how that affects their actions.

The novel is like The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, as it shows what war is like from the soldiers' point of view, and is non-linear; the story jumps around and revisits scenes with more information, a parallel to how characters revisit important memories. The best part of the book is the character development, and while each character has a unique situation, they all share similar goals. This is a good book for those who like exploring the effects of war on soldiers and human nature.

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