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Book Review: Catch 22 Essay, Research Paper

Name of Book: Catch 22

Author: Joseph Heller

Number of Pages: 417

Summary Of Book:

It s wartime, and we hear the comical tale of the American army and life on the front. The story centers around Yossarian, an outspoken and paranoid man who s greatest fear is death. In fact, throughout the whole novel, he claims that someone is trying to murder him. It s hilarious to hear the keen wit and antics of Yossarian; he always is ready with a comeback.

Response to the Book:

Like Hemingway s Farewell to Arms, this novel provides us with a vivid picture of life on the front. It was anything but glamorous, people were killed, people got sick, men lost their minds. Unlike Hemingway though, Joseph Heller gives us a laid-back and informal view of the war. With the use of good dialogue and great descriptions, we get a first-hand glimpse of the men of an American Army.

Yossarian was definitely my favorite character. He is so unpredictable and so ludicrous. He lives with the constant fear of dying- he despises the war. In fact, many times we hear of him purposely faking illness to get to a hospital off of the front. I can relate to him though. Could you imagine knowing that you re putting your life on the line every day? It had to have been hard.

Many times during the novel, I questioned the morality and patriotism of the Generals in the Army. We hear Colonel Cathcart saying the sooner we get casualties, the sooner we can make progress on this matter. I d like to get in the Christmas issue. He wanted some of his men to die so he could get a lousy story in The Saturday Evening Post! This is truly disgraceful of a colonel, or any military personnel for that matter. Other times, I noticed that the men rarely had any love for their country. They could care less about winning the war- instead they worried about getting home.

Like I noticed in A Farewell To Arms, prostitutes were very common on the front. The men are often talking about them. Unlike in America today, it appears prostitutes were quite respected and common back then. As one man put it: It gives her an opportunity to meet people. It provides fresh air and wholesome exercise, and it keeps her out of trouble. I thought that was hilarious.

Heller is an ingenious author. His use of excellent and humorous dialogue is quite effective. He makes you hang on to every word. He brings the character of Yossarian to life and paints quite a vivid portrait of him.

This book was certainly enjoyable. Although it was long, it kept my attention most of the time. It gave me a better understanding of war, patriotism, and life, and it made me laugh often. I recommend this book to anyone and look forward to reading more by Joseph Heller in the future.


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