Catch 22 Satire Essay

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Satire and Black Humor in Catch-22

The only thing going on was a war, and no one seemed to notice but Yossarian and Dunbar. Yossarian is one of the few "normal" characters found in the books, or at least he thinks he is. As the story progresses, it appears that no one is "normal." Values either no longer apply, or do in reverse. In this backwards world of Catch-22, where everyone is crazy, Heller uses black humor and satire to make light of an otherwise dismal situation.

Satire in the book mainly attacks three general things: senior military officers, professional and business interests, and society's remarkable reliance on forms, papers, rules and regulations. The senior officers are generally trying to intimidate…show more content…

Professions and businesses are attacked throughout the book. A very humorous example of this is the antics of Gus and Wes, Doc Daneeka's assistants. They are incredibly incompetent, as all they do is bring people to the hospital who have temperatures of 102 and above, painting their gums and toes with a gentian violet solution. The competency of the nurses can also be questioned, and their treatment of a man covered completely in bandages. The only thing the nurses do for him is to switch the bottles of liquid going in and out of his body (Magill 849). The doctors don't know what to do about Yossarian either. He stays to the infirmary for several weeks complaining about his liver. The doctors tell him it's not jaundice but they don't know what it is. Finally they tell him that nothing is wrong with him at all and let him go (Merrill 19).

Another attack of businesses is the story of how Chief White Halfoat and his family were exploited by the American Oil Industry. Wherever they lived, workers found oil underneath, and kicked them off the land. Then they followed them to the next spot they planned to live. Every place they went there was oil. As Chief White Halfoat narrates,

"Every time another White Halfoat was born, the stock market turned bullish. Soon whole drilling crews were

Satire in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Essay

1996 Words8 Pages

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, is a fictitious novel that depicts life on an American bomber squadron on Pianosa, an island off the coast of Italy, during the closing years of World War II. A bombardier by the name of Yossarian, the main character in the story, is joined by many others to create a comic drama unlike any other. But aside from the entertainment, Heller uses Catch-22 to satirize many aspects of everyday life that consist of hypocrisy, corruption, and insanity. From the laziness of policeman to the fake happiness brought about by money, the novel is painted with a great number of points targeted against the faults of modern society. However, along with these smaller targets, a majority of the Heller’s satire in the novel is…show more content…

When Yossarian rebels against this system of injustice commanding over him, the narrator states that Milo is ashamed of Yossarian who is "jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them" (415). According to Milo, it is not fair to fight for your own justice as an American in the military. This statement is foolish and is exactly what Heller satirizes in the book; the fact that during war, the freedom and individuality of lower ranking officers are stripped away from them to satisfy the needs of higher ranking officers. Yossarian later discovers through Major Danby that Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn "can prepare as many official reports as they want and choose whichever ones they need on any given occasion," which is another example of the bureaucracy allowing men to cease liberties in order to incite more power for personal use (452). When continuing his discussion with Major Danby at the end of the book, Yossarian uses an analogy to indicate to the Major just what it is like being controlled by higher powers. After Danby wishes he was a cucumber or some kind of vegetable so he did not have to make important decisions, Yossarian states that if he was a "good one" then "they’d cut you off in your prime and slice you up for a salad" and if he was a "poor

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