Throughout the novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller uses a great deal of dark humor and irony. These elements exist in situations ranging from petty quarrels to the deaths of fellow soldiers. No matter how big or small the conflict, irony and dark humor serve an important purpose. Heller uses these devices to illuminate the manners in which soldiers choose to deal with the hostility and confusion of war.
Though it may seem somewhat crazy and illogical at first, but deep within its pages exists the keys to understanding the rationale of a soldier in combat. Most of the soldiers get by on drawing humor from situations that would otherwise be grim or fearful. Men nearly go crazy trying to replace the emotions of fear and anger with the dulled silver lining on the black cloud of war.
A great deal of stress is put on the human mind when inserted into an unfamiliar place and forced to fight for a cause you might not agree with or completely understand.
One can more fully understand the character because of analyzing the way they deal with the mental drain of war. Its fairly easy to see the differences between the two characters Yossarian and Doc Daneeka. Yossarian sits in the hospital and goes a little insane over questions about war and his value as a person. But he is not without compassion, he truly cares for his men and their wellbeing. But on the other hand, Doc Daneeka falls into a state of loathing and self pity in which he refuses to see anyone. He is to busy worrying about his own fate and not considering the lives of others.
War in this book helps one thing become more apparent. There is usually a difference between what is said and what is actually meant. In this story irony helps to expose the paradoxes and blunders of society and government. Paradoxes, or catch-22?s in this book are helpful in concluding that war, for the most part is useless and ineffective.
Irony and dark humor both work together to expose the dangers of human vice. They also help us understand how a person reacts to the stresses of combat. Though they may seem somewhat insane, the characters in this book also appear to be human. This means that they may deal with conflict in a sometimes irrational manner.