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Catch-22 A Study in Post-War AttitudesIn 1961 Joseph Heller published Catch-22 his first novel Based on his own war experiences the novel wickedly satirized bureaucracy patriotism and all manner of traditional American ideals This was reflective of the increasing disdain for traditional viewpoints that was growing in America at that time Potts p 13 The book soon became championed as another voice in the antiwar movement of the 1960s However Heller himself claimed that his novel was less about World War II or war at all than it was an allegory for the Cold War and the materialistic Establishment attitudes of the Eisenhower era Kiley pp 318-321 Thus Catch-22 represents a rebellion against the standards of the Eisenhower era Catch-22 follows the experiences of Yossarian a bombardier stationed near Italy during World War II Yossarian is clearly representative of Heller indeed he could be considered an everyman Kiley p 336 Because of a traumatic experience which is revealed bit by bit throughout the novel Yossarian is terrified of flying Yet Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly Yossarians attempts to avoid flying are met with the Armys Catch number 22 which is a sort of mythical stumbling block to free will and reason In the end Yossarian defects and takes a stand against his situation by running away from it The moral of the story seems to be that nothing is truly worth dying for but there is plenty worth fighting forYossarian is an antihero the reader sympathizes with him despite or perhaps because of his unsavory beliefs and actions Potts p 84 It is easy to sympathize with him he seems to be the only sane person in a crazy world which may be why everyone keeps telling him hes crazy Yossarian does battle with bureaucratic authority as personified by Colonels Cathcart and Korn General Dreedle and ex-PFC Wintergreen He goes up against ruthless capitalism in the form of
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