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Research Papers that Summarize Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

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Joseph Heller’s anti-war novel Catch-22 tells the story of Army Air Corps Captain John Yossarian trapped in a comic dilemma. He believes that he is mentally unfit to pilot any more bombing missions over Europe, yet his ability to articulate that difficulty means that he is quite fit. This is his catch 22.

Some facts about the novel are as follows:Catch 22 Summary

  • Set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Pianosa
  • The novel opens in early 1994
  • The story begins in Yossarian in the hospital
  • The main character is Captain John Yssarian, who is faking illness to escape flying.
  • While in the hospital, Yossarian’s job is to censor letters from soldiers. At times, his censorship is random and inexplicable.

The early part of the novel details the absurdity of war, which includes Yossarian being able to delay a bombing mission by simply moving the line on a map, causing his superiors to believe that the target has been captured by American forces. Later chapters flashback to earlier in the war, showing an eager Yossarian’s actions leading to the death of an airman, a death that comes to haunt him. Absurdities abound, including Milo Minderbinder’s arrangement of an air raid on the squadron’s own base for his personal profit.

Many of the later chapters detail Yossarian’s grief over the death of Nately, who was so in love with a prostitute that he volunteers for more missions simply to be near her. This volunteerism eventually gets him killed, leading Yossarian to refuse to fly more missions himself. It is only in escaping the madness of war that Yossarian can hope to find his own humanity.

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