Study Guide

Catch-22 Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 95 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Catch-22.
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In an interview with George Plimpton published in the Paris Review, Heller contends that "Catch-22 is concerned with physical survival against exterior forces or institutions that want to destroy life or moral self." Graphic reminders of man's mortality pervade the novel, as Heller traces the desperate attempts of his protagonist, bombardier John Yossarian, to escape death. Although not, according to Heller, a war novel, Catch-22 nevertheless reflects its author's experiences as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force during the Second World War. In scenes reminiscent of Randall Jarrell's "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," Heller hauntingly depicts B-25s dodging flak, the claustrophobic womb/tomb environment of the bombardier's compartment, and Yossarian's horrifying discovery that "[t]he spirit gone, man is garbage," as he watches his wounded gunner's entrails spill out on the floor.

The obscene loss of lives of promising young men that...

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This section contains 812 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Catch-22 Study Guide
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Catch-22 from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.