Catch 22The book is set in the end of World War II on the small Italian island of Pianosa.
The time period is significant because it is around the time of D-Day, when the United States had stormed the beach at Normandy, and Italy was allied with the Axis powers ( they were on Hitler’s side)The exposition of the novel simply introduces some of the key characters in the novel. It also introduces the setting and provides some context. The key conflict is between Yossarian and the war itself. It is apparent from the beginning that he does not particularly want to fight in the war,but after the death of Nately, he decides he is actually done, and then does everything he can to get away from the war. He goes on a walk through the streets of rome seeing the harsh realities of poverty, rape , and murder, and is repulsed by the idea of having anything to do with the people of Italy. Yossarian resolves to desert the army and escape to the neutral country of Sweden.
The novel is told in limited 3rd person, the narrator doesn’t know everything, but also somehow knows the thoughts of other characters. The narrator has a pretty far emotional distance from the events that unfold, because they in no way affect them. The main character of this novel is Yossarian, a young pilot in the army. His sole purpose is to stay alive.
He is extremely paranoid, and takes the war personally. Thinking the opposing army wants to kill him specifically, by no fault of his own. Because of this his mission is to stay alive, even immortal. An important secondary character is Snowden, who is never actually present in the novel. He dies before the start of the novel in Yossarian’s arms, with his guts falling out. He influences Yossarian’s overall disdain and fear of the war thereafter.The first symbol is the ‘Man in White’.
He is covered in bandages, presumably a burn victim. After his death, some time passes and another ‘Man in white’ shows up, bandages and all. However, the men believe that it’s still the same man as before. It shows how dispensable people are to the military- a man died, and even though he was gone for months, they still couldn’t tell the difference between him and his successor. Another is the hospital, which the men use to hide from their duty to fight. In this way, it represents refuge and safety from the war going on around them.
I also saw Milo, he mess officer as a symbol. He runs a large trade network, stretching through multiple countries. However, in every territory he trades in, he holds a significant position of power, showing that even in the midst of war and division, money still makes the world go round.The most prevalent theme in the novel is that of hypocrisy brought on by the concept of Catch-22. The most obvious is example is Yossarian’s desperate need to stop flying missions. In order to achieve this he has to ask to be kept on the ground by reason of insanity.
The Catch-22 is that if he asks to be kept on the ground, then it just proves that he’s sane. It’s this illogical logic that keeps the men trapped because there is no way to outsmart it, and no way out of it. I would not recommend this book simply because it’s confusing. I found it difficult to understand at times. It was also boring. Unnaturally boring.
So I mean, if you’re into that, then I’d say this is the book for you.