September 12th, 2007
Catch-22; Merits and Flaws
Catch-22, a novel by Joseph Heller, was written out of Heller's own experiences as a U.S bombardier during World War II. It centers around the character of Yossarian, also a U.S bombardier, as he is stationed off the coast of Italy during World War II. Catch-22 gets its name by an idea (called Catch-22) of Yossarian's that any sane person wouldn't be fighting a war where they could be killed at any moment, yet in order to be released, a person must be proven to be insane. Basically, Catch-22 is the idea of being trapped in a situation by an almost paradoxical set of rules. Written in 1961, this novel is generally seen as either brilliant or a total waste of ink. Catch-22 has very strong ideas and characters, which is what makes it such a good read, but it can also be very confusing, which leads to its rather slight downside.
First of all, I really liked the characters in this book and the way that Heller sets them up. My favorite character had to be Yossarian, possibly just because he is the one that is seen the most and his thoughts and actions are the ones that are predominant in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed many of the views of Yossarian because I found them to be something that I would think and that made the story funny. Also, the character descriptions were very unique and, therefore, the characters were easy to remember and follow. This made the book more enjoyable because it wasn't hard to picture what was going on in the book in my mind. Heller writes things such as "a grinning pygmy with pilot’s wings" to describe Yossarian's roommate, Orr.
Some things in the novel got really confusing, which makes Catch-22 hard to follow along with. Parts such as when Yossarian is talking about the dead man in his tent or when he starts remembering Snowden, the gunner in his plane who died, are confusing because there isn't much backround given. I would stop reading at confusing parts...