Essay by 2hvy4grvty December 2007

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This catch, although indirectly, brings selfishness. The bureaucratic hierarchy combined with Catch-22 makes the greed and selfish desires of authorities possible. This is blatantly depicted through Cathcart’s actions. He is driven by his ambition and his ambition alone. Cathcart would risk the lives of his men in an attempt to make himself look good in the authority’s eyes, while in essence, he is being irresponsible and unjust. Cathcart is risking the lives of his entire squadron to benefit one person, himself. He continuously raises the number of missions required to be relieved of their services, however none ever are; they either remain in service or are killed. Cathcart assumes that he would receive appraisal for he and his men’s constant display of bravery on the battlefield. He does not stop at anything to achieve his dream of becoming General, even if it means the lives of his men.

Another importance of this catch is the way it is presented, pure illogic.

The catch states that only a crazy person may be grounded, but if a person asks to be grounded, that person is instantly not crazy because he cares about his own safety and thus, may not be grounded. It is illegal to read Catch-22, but the only place where this stated, is in Catch-22 itself. This clause in Catch-22 convinces Yossarian of its true credibility, none. He knew that the catch did not really exist, but since people usually do not question the laws under which they are governed, believe it to be so.

While insanity is caused by bureaucracy, sometimes it is the only sane way to cope with an insane situation. In the beginning, Yossarian believes the world is insane and everyone had set out to kill him. It is not until later would he realize that he too, is insane. With this acceptance, Yossarian discovers that war itself is useless and swears escape. Alone, he challenges the illogic of Catch-22, which is demonstrated in Yossarian’s refusal to fly missions, for if he did, he would be no different than the thousands of men who conceded to the unjustified law. Yossarian understands the purpose Catch-22: to control military personnel and citizens to an un-matched degree, and is unwilling to submit to it. This practice of civil disobedience helps the reader understand that Yossarian is truly sane.

While at first glance, Clevinger may seem the sanest person in the novel, the reader soon learns that this is not at all true. Clevinger is one officer who fully trusts his superiors and believes they want nothing more than to help him. Yossarian explains to Clevinger that there are no two distinct sides and that an enemy is anyone that wants to harm him; it does not matter which side that person is on. Clevinger dismisses Yossarian’s claim and is soon found dead, caused only by his trust and faith in his superiors.