Catch-22 - Research Article from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

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Catch-22

Hailed as "a classic of our era," "an apocalyptic masterpiece," and the best war story ever told, Joseph Heller's blockbuster first novel, Catch-22 (1961), not only exposed the hypocrisy of the military, but it also introduced a catchphrase to describe the illogic inherent in all bureaucracies, from education to religion, into the popular lexicon. The "Catch-22" of the novel's title is a perverse, protean principle that covers any absurd situation; it is the unwritten loophole in every written law, a frustratingly elliptical paradox that defies solution. As Heller demonstrates in his novel, Catch-22 has many clauses, the most memorable of which allows only crazy men to be excused from flying the life-threatening missions ordered by their military superiors. To be excused from flying, a man needs only to ask for release; but by asking, he proves that he is sane and therefore he must continue flying. "That's some catch...

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This section contains 1,214 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Catch-22 Encyclopedia Article
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Catch-22 from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.