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Catch-22: Themes and Symbols

H. English 4
by

Sarah Elwert

on 5 March 2012

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Transcript of Catch-22: Themes and Symbols

Themes,
Motifs, & Symbols Themes Catch-22 This theme is important because it shows that no matter what the men go through, they're always going to be influenced by the bureaucracy.
The men cannot make their own decisions.
The bureaucracy makes decisions for them, even if it puts them in danger, like missions after they know that the Allies have already won the war. This theme is important because not many people believe in God or in a merciful God throughout the novel.
The chaplain questions whether there is a God or not.
Mrs. Sheisskopf does not believe in a just and loving God.
Yossarian believes that if there is a God, he's a bumbling fool.
This means that each man should create their own morals. Yossarian is found censoring the letters from the men to home. It is thought of as a terrible act, at first, but then we find that the bureaucracy has taken the meaning out of words.
As Snowden dies in the back of the plane, Yossarian can only say "there, there". He knows that his words can't comfort Snowden.
Language is used, however, as a tool to keep Yossarian flying and to avoid logic. The Absolute Power of Bureaucracy Loss of Religious Faith Impotence of Language The Inevitability of
Death Yossarian's belief is that he will try to stay alive or die trying. It shows the paradox of his situation. There's no way to avoid it.
Snowden's gory death symbolizes that man is garbage.
Yossarian finds himself thinking about his death and is surprised to realize how many ways he could die.
It still gives him a sense of value for the preciousness of life and he tries to stay alive for as long as possible.
He lives life to the fullest, falling in love constantly and passionately.
He gets upset when he cannot spend his time enjoying the good things. Motifs Symbols Catch-22 Number of Missions Washington Irving Chocolate-Covered Cotton The Soldier in White Aerial Photographs Symbolizes the idea that people can be replaced.
The soldier isn't given a name or a huge role, he's just there.
People assume that when another man takes his place, it's the same soldier. The aerial photographs symbolize the meaninglessness of what men do in war.
They are told to go on bombing missions, when they're really just getting pictures of the explosion or clearing foliage for future photography. The chocolate-covered cotton comes into existence when Milo finds out he has a surplus of cotton.
Yossarian comes up with the idea of covering the cotton with chocolate and selling it to the bureaucracy.
It symbolizes how something can look beautiful or good on the outside, but really has no purpose, substance, or sustenance Yossarian is told to go on many missions and asks to be grounded for insanity, but if he asks, he must be sane.
Yossarian is trapped in a paradox.
"They have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing." - Italian woman in ruined brothel. Colonel Cathcart must keep raising the number of missions so that he can be promoted to general.
Whenever anyone gets close to the amount of missions they need before they can leave, it is raised again.
Gives Orr and Yossarian the idea of escape. Signed as a forgery by Yossarian, but quickly becomes Major Major's nickname.
Figment of the imagination.
Perfect person to deal with the bureaucracy, because he does not exist.
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