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Study Guide

Catch-22 Essay | Critical Essay #3

This Study Guide consists of approximately 127 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Catch-22.
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Critical Essay #3

In the following excerpt, McDonald places Yossarian's character within the tradition of "American rebels" such as Huck Finn, Hester Prynne, and Ike McCaslin.

Yossarian of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 has been called a coward, an amoralist, a cop-out, a traitor. Others see him as a casualty, an individualist, a prophet of love, the last soul true to himself. The first readers object primarily because he "takes off," claiming this is artistically, patriotically, or morally no way to end the book..

Yet Yossarian gives up safety, rewards, and a hero's homecoming when he flees. He is in fact following an American tradition-escaping, or trying to escape, in order to save himself from absurdity, compromise, or despair. In what Hemingway called the source of modern American literature, Huckleberry Finn, Twain's puckish hero (after surviving a river's length of encounters with man's hideous inhumanity to man) also "lights out" for the Indian...

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This section contains 1,967 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Catch-22 Study Guide
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Catch-22 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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