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Transcript of Catch-22
Images from Shutterstock.com The novel takes place during the second half of World War II, on the island of Pianosa, near the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea.
WWII emphasizes the overall power of the Bureaucracy.
A large portion of the novel also takes place in the city of Rome itself, which is meant to represent the state of the actual ancient city of Rome during it's final years, which was predominated by destruction and chaos . Setting and Significance Catch-22 Leah Garland, Alex Webb, John Burns, and Keaton Parr
English 10 Class Text A Paradoxical Box on Fire So, imagine Catch-22 as a box... on fire. Main Plot Description Protagonist: Yossarian John Yossarian is the self-preserving, atypical protagonist. His primary goal throughout the novel is to avoid taking risks whenever possible. But within the skewed system of values and illogical bureaucratic military, this is the only truly moral stance he can take. This idea of self-preservation crates a conflict for Yossarian. Although he is determined to save his own life, he cares deeply for the other members of his squadron. In the end, when offered a choice between his own safety and the safety of his squadron, he is unable to choose himself over the others, and ultimately escapes by literally walking away from the war. Antagonist: Bureaucracy The antagonist of Catch-22 is not one person, but the Bureaucracy* that heads over the soldiers of the army. From raising the number of missions indefinitely to sacrificing their men for nothing more that capturing good aerial photos (rather than actually hitting the targets), the soldiers are simply inhuman tools in the eyes of the blindly ambitious superior officers.
Definition: system which controls organization
Synonyms: administration, authority, beadledom, city hall, civil service, directorate, government, management, ministry, officialdom, officials, powers that be, red tape, regulatory commission, the Establishment, the system Supporting Characters: Colonel Cathhart- The ambitious, unintelligent officer in charge of Yossarian's squadron. He wants to be a general, and tries to impress his superior officers by "bravely" volunteering his men for dangerous missions and raising the number of required missions continuously. Orr- Yossarian's gifted fix-it roommate who is always making improvements in their tent. He almost always crashes his plane or is shot down, but always manages to survive. After he goes missing, he is found to have escaped to Sweden and is Yossarian's final push in his decision to desert the army. Snowden- The young gunner who's death shattered Yossarian's courage and caused him to experience the shock of war. Snowden died in Yossarian's arms with his entrails splattered all over Yossarian's uniform, a trauma that is revealed over the course of the novel. Yossarian, an American bombardier, is caught in the complicated paradox known as Catch-22. He and his friends endure a nightmarish, absurd existence defined by Bureaucracy and violence in which the squadron is thrown into brutal combat and their colonels continually raise the number of missions. Still, no one but Yossarian seems to realize that there is a war going on, and, as he struggles to survive, Yossarian must choose between the easy way out (lying to his friends and the people of the United States), or the right way out (Deserting the Air Force). Author's Point of View The author's point of view is third person omniscient. Clues to this are the use of third person nouns and the fact that you get to see the thoughts of multiple people. Irony An example of situational irony is when Aarfy rapes and kills the maid. This is because before this event, he was always dissuading girls from doing bad things.
Another example of situational irony is the news that Orr was found alive in Sweden. One assumes that he had died until this is suddenly announced near the very end of the novel. Symbolism Catch-22- The "Catch-22" represents bureaucracy and its evils.
M&M enterprises- Milo's M&M enterprises represents both the greed and ruthlessness of many businesses and the disloyalty of companies to a certain country when money is involved. Themes The absolute power of the buracracy The bureaucracy is completely deaf when it comes to logic, and they ignore all logic the men have. The inevitability of death As a witness to Snowden's death, Yossarian learns that all people will die, but it gives him a positive outlook- You must take advantage of your life and and live it to the fullest. Form in Relation to Meaning Heller repeats many things. Words, catchphrases , references to events, and important scenes. Because of this, the reader can learn the underlined message, details, and themes about the situaton. Allusions First signed as a forgery by Yossarian in the hospital, the name Washington Irving (or Irving Washington) is soon adopted by Major Major, who signs the name because the paperwork with Irving’s name on it never comes back to him. Washington Irving is an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. Historical and Cultural Clues Mood and Tone in Text Two Literary Elements More Literary Elements Mood The mood of the novel is both funny and sad. The irony and bizarre situations can be outright laughable and insane, but at times it seems as though it's hopeless and everything is pointless in the end. Tone The narrator presents the ridiculous behavior and outrageous arguments in a satirical tone, never stating that matters are funny, but always making the reader aware of how completely insane and bizzare the characters and situations are. Foreshadowing Snowden’s death is heavily foreshadowed. Yossarian remembers the death very briefly many times near the beginning. It is not until the second-to-last chapter that the death is finally described in full Flashback Throughout Catch-22, there is never really a "present" until the very end of the novel. Flashbacks and the storyline are interchangeable. Any moment could be a potential flashback, and the reader never truly knows where in the story they are until it all comes together in the end. Flashbacks are a common occurrence for almost the entire duration of the book. Hyperbole The ridiculous proportions of Milo’s empire shows us a part of Catch-22 that has been rather subtle- the novel’s element of hyperbole. Despite their absurd names, all the men in Yossarian’s squadron might possibly have lived during WWII. However, Milo and his overpowering company is a completely impossible figure. Metaphor A metaphor is used in chapter five of Catch 22. Yossarian talks about the tight crawl space which led to the bombardier’s compartment.
This can be seen as the passageway to fear. Every time Yossarian climbs down he is entering a "womb". Yossarian is seen as being scared, and therefore he feels the need to go down to "womb" to feel safe. There, he is nothing but a scared child in a mother’s womb, wanting to come out but can’t because he is too afraid. "There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can't all be worth dying for.” -Old Man in the Whorehouse
"But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don't make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share." -Milo Minderbinder
I was a fascist when Mussolini was on top. Now that he has been deposed, I am anti-fascist. When the Germans were here, I was fanatically pro-German. Now I'm fanatically pro-American. You'll find no more loyal partisan in all of Italy than myself. -Old Man in the Whorehouse This quote shows the cheap prices of merchandise in years past, unlike today, when everything's prices are inflated. Here the old man speaks of Germans and Americans occupying Italy, which happened during World War II. Here, this shows both that fact that they are fighting in a War, and that it is a rather extensive war, including many countries throughout the larger half of the world.