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___________________________Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

Catch-22

 

The novel, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, is a war story about a small group of flyers in the Mediterranean in 1944.. When the book originally appeared, the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s was just beginning and the war setting of this novel was already one generation removed. American ideals and thoughts, regarding war and the consequences were being challenged and taken into new directions by people. Catch-22 appeared at the right time to give voice to this generation. In the end, critics consider Catch-22 a literary masterpiece that significantly contributed to the direction later authors of American and 20th century literature took in the use of black humor and satire.

Set in the World War II Italian theater of operations, it covers the exploits of a bomber squadron, based on the fictional island of Pianosa. The primary protagonist linking the "snap-shots’ of the story together is the character of Yossarian, who has flown his quota missions to get out of World War II but can't because the number of missions needed for discharge keeps getting raised. He has had enough, but his motivations go much further. The other characters and situations of the story all end up influencing his final decision and the reader ends up understanding the author’s message, Yossarian, and the other players in the drama.

The phrase, "Catch 22," has become part of our lexicon. But it was Joseph Heller who coined it, when he entitled his absurdist satire of war Catch-22, and lent meaning to a paradox where alternatives cancel each other out, making escape a virtually impossible dilemma. The book, written some 40 years ago, is a classic because its message has never gone out of style, and probably never will, as long as there's a little human foible around called war. Heller put his finger on the insane, dehumanizing pulse of mankind's lust for battle and came away with a diagnosis that continues to ring true: war is one of the human race's most barbaric, nonsensical rites, yet making it vanish is a problem for which we've yet to find a solution.

 

 

  • Biography of Joseph Heller

  • About Catch-22

  • Character List

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Short Analysis

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 1-7

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 8-14

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 15-21

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 22-28

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 29-35

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 36-42

  • Studyworld Essay Search on Catch-22



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