Study Guide

Writing Techniques in Catch-22

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The techniques of Catch-22 have generated much critical discussion and disagreement. One topic of debate has been the genre to which the work belongs. Given the fragmented chronology, episodic structure, and caricatured characterizations, some critics have objected to labeling Catch-22 as a novel.

Instead they have observed that the book's mockery of political and social institutions and comic exaggeration are that of the satire, whereas Yossarian's series of misadventures echo the picaresque tradition. Furthermore, a number of commentators have noted affinities with the epic in the work's in medias res opening, the huge cast of characters, and the descent-into-the-underworld motif of "The Eternal City" chapter. Constance Denniston contends that the book is a "romance-parody," while John J. Murray calls it "a series of Overburyean character sketches."

The most inclusive appellation is Jessie Ritter's "social surrealist novel," which Ritter defines as "a mixture of picaresque, romance-parody, and anatomy (or Menippean...

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This section contains 731 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Catch-22 Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Catch-22 from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.