Summary of Catch 22 - by Joseph Heller - A Comprehensive Summary #633831

di Alexander Cooper

Ben Business Group LLC

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Catch 22 - A Comprehensive Summary

This novel is set during the second half of World War II. Yossarian, a soldier, is stationed on the island of Pianosa, with his Air Force squadron. He is near the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea. Yossarian and his friends have an absurd existence that seems out of a nightmare. Their lives are defined by violence and bureaucracy. They aren’t seen as fully human but rather resources by their ruthlessly ambitious superior officers. The squadron is pushed thoughtlessly into violent combat situations and bombing expeditions in which it is seen of more importance to the squadron to get high-quality aerial photographs of explosions than to actually hit their targets. The colonels continue to increase the number of missions that the men need to fly before they will be sent home. This means that no one is ever given the chance to go home. Yet there seems to be no one other than Yossarian who seems to understand there is a war occurring. People think he is insane when he declares that there are millions of people who want to kill him.
Yossarian’s story comprises the novel’s core. This is why most of the story’s events are refracted through his own point of view. Yossarian sees the whole war in a personal way. He is not swayed in any way by any sort of national ideal or abstract principle. He is angry that his life is always being put in danger when he hasn’t done anything wrong. He has an intense desire to live and shows his determination to somehow be immortal or die trying to be so. A result of this is that a great deal of his time is spent in the hospital, feigning a variety of illnesses in an attempt to avoid the war. The novel progresses by way of its loosely linked series of recurring anecdotes and stories. Yossarian is clearly always disturbed by his memory of Snowden. Snowden was a soldier who passed away in his arms on a mission when Yossarian ceased to feel any wish to take part in the war. Yossarian is placed in circumstances that are desperate, absurd, ridiculous, and tragic at all once. He witnesses the death and disappearance of friends, his squadron be attacked by bombs by its own mess officer, and colonels and generals volunteer their men to take part in the most perilous battle in order to aggrandize their own reputations.

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Alexander Cooper