War is a horrible thing, it only brings destruction and chaos. Although, the end of war declares a winner and a loser, just like in sports, the larger portion of the war is composed of only bloodshed, destruction, ruins, loss and regrets. There are many pieces of writing in English literature that highlight the terrors of war and either condemn it or glorify it. Most of the writings only condemn it. One of the very popular works of literature in this respect is “Catch 22”. Catch 22 is satirical novel that is base upon the wartime, during the time period of World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It is penned down by famous American writer Joseph Heller and was first published in 1961.
The novel is based upon the period of the Second World War and how the United States of America played a role in the ignition of the war. It covers many aspects and genres; farce, satire, gallows humor, irreverence and what not. It takes a lot of strength for a person to stand in the battlefield and fight for or against their homeland, or their objective (Marushiakova). This exact notion can be seen in the story of Catch 22, where a young military officer, Captain John Yossarian, is seen struggling with his duty and his inside voice. Yossarian is a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Forces B-25. The book focuses on the events that took place during the 256th squadron that had been conducted on the island of Pianosa. Although the operation has been shown as a fictional affair, the emotions and the struggles of the military men are real.
The army men try to maintain their sanity while being loyal to their service requirements as they desperately wanted to return to their homes after the termination of the war period. Yossarian meets a number of people during his stay in Italy and observes their struggles and suffering during the time of war (Pinsker). Joseph Heller gives a choice to its readers, whether to take the book in a comical sense and enjoy it as a comedy or read it as a dark chapter of history, it's up to the readers. The dark ye humorous side of the story explains the number of events during the war period. Some of the examples of an excellent piece of dark humor from the writer are
“They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."And what difference does that make?” (Heller)
The book had been equally liked by the readers and critics. There are a number of positive reviews that it has received and a number of magazines, newspapers and webinars still mention it as the best novel regarding war literature. The famous novel also saw a sequel in 1994, titled “Closing Time”. It was also adapted as the story of a movie, with the same name, starring George Clooney, Christopher Abbot, Kyle Chandler, Rafi Gavron and Daniel David Stewart.
In a nutshell, it can be concluded that Catch 22, is a worth reading book with a lot of interest and curiosity. People who are interested in war literature should give it a try. The satirical piece of writing takes its readers into the time period of World War II, where a person can feel in the boots of Captain John Yossarian, struggling with his own emotions and the responsibilities of his duty. The novel also opens many secrets and facts of the Second World War, which were hidden till now.
Heller, Joseph. Catch-22: a novel. Vol. 4. Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Marushiakova-Popova, Elena, and Vesselin Popov. "European policies for social inclusion of Roma: Catch 22?." Social Inclusion (2015).
Pinsker, Sanford. "Reassessing" Catch-22"." The Sewanee Review 108.4 (2000): 602-610.
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