Saturday, April 16, 2011
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is a satirical war novel that takes place in World War Two. The main character is Yossarian; a pilot stationed on an island near the coast of Italy. Yossarian and his friends in his squad are sent on suicidal tasks by the higher ranked officers. The officers use Yossarian and his friends as they please. They tell Yossarian and his squad that it is more important for them to take good photographs of when the bombs hit rather than to hit the actual targets. The high ranking officers use the photographs to boost their popularity and rank in the army, without regard for the lives that they are risking. The officers keep raising the number of flights that the squad has to make before they can go home so that they're in the high ranking officer's control forever, or basically until they are dead. Yossarian is the only one that says that there is a war going on; everyone thinks that he is crazy and disregards his opinions. Yossarian is scared by the war and fakes illness many times to escape having to do another bombing raid. His paranoia has his hiding under his bed sheets. Yossarian is haunted by the memory of his beloved friend dying in his arms when he refused to fight in the war. He becomes more insane as all of his friends in his squad either die of disappear and the high ranking officials volunteering to send his squad into more and more bombings for their own personal glory. Yossarian is so traumatized by the war that he finds out that you could be discharged from the army if you were declared insane. Yossarian had taken too much of the war and declared himself insane, only to realize that only a sane person would declare them-self insane and an insane person would deny facts and call them-self sane. Tricked by this loop-hole, Yossarian becomes even more crazy. Many sub-stories evolve around the main one of Yossarian and his friend dies. Yossarian loses his mind and leaves the army base to walk around Rome where he witnesses death, rape, disease, any every horror in the world. Yossarian is arrested for not having a passport and his officers find him. They give him the option of being tried in court, or returning home with an honorable discharge. However, to be discharged, he must say that he approves of the good job his officers do and that would require the next squads to fly 80 missions. Yossarian, having always taken the easy way out, decides to be tried for deserting the army and to save the lives of others.
1. Would you have said that the officers were good people in order to return home honorably and try to forget all of the horrors that have happened to you? If so, would the lie and the knowledge of other lives being lost to unfair treatment bother you when you returned home?
2. Would you continue to fight orders given by your superiors alone, would you try to contact someone in higher power than your officers, or would you just give in and accept your orders even though you knew that they were wrong. How would your choice affect your thoughts throughout life and what might you be constantly thinking about? Would your choice be worth it, or is there not really a right answer?