"Catch 22" by Joseph Heller

Essay by TooTJunior High, 8th gradeB-, June 2007

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

1. Various themes are The Absolute Power of BureaucracyLoss of Religious FaithThe inevitability of DeathAnd Catch 22.

2. The Absolute Power of BureaucracyOne of the most terrifying aspects of Catch-22 is the fact that the lives and deaths of the men in Yossarian’s squadron are governed not by their own decisions concerning dangerous risks but by the decisions of bureaucracy. The men must risk their lives even when they know that their missions are useless, as when they are forced to keep flying combat missions. Also, the bureaucrats are taking every opportunity to defy logic. Major Major, for example, will see people in his office only when he is not there, and Doc Daneeka won’t ground Yossarian for insanity because Yossarian’s desire to be grounded reveals that he must be sane.

Loss of Religious FaithEven the chaplain begins to doubt his faith in God by the end of Catch-22 It is mainly because he was influenced by Colonel Cathcart’s ways of manipulating religion to fulfill his ambition.

Heller’s treatment of the subject of God is most focused in the Thanksgiving discussion between Yossarian and Scheisskopf’s wife. Both are atheists: Mrs. Scheisskopf does not believe in a just and loving God, and the God Yossarian does not believe is a clumsy fool. Yossarian points out that no truly good, God would create human suffering. Yossarian has experienced so many terrible things that he cannot believe in a God who would create such a wide options when it comes to pain and death.

The Inevitability of DeathYossarian’s one goal—to stay alive or die trying—is based on the assumption that he must eventually fail. He believes that Snowden’s gory death revealed a secret: that man is, ultimately, worthless. The vision of death haunts Yossarian constantly, in forms ranging from the dead man...