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Uploaded by Nategrey on Aug 05, 2005

Character Analysis
Captain John Yossarian is the main character of Joseph Heller’s 1961 satirical war novel, Catch-22. He’s a bombardier in the Army Air Corp’s 256th bomber squadron and he suffers from an intense fear of death. Catch-22 is a mysterious regulation that traps its victims in a web of circular reason. Basically, if there’s a rule then there’s always an exception to it. For instance, Catch-22 says that no one is allowed to read Catch-22. It always creates circumstances where, when things look fine, Catch-22 appears and ruins everything. Catch-22 keeps Yossarian in the war because his Colonel continues raising the number of missions he has to fly before he can be rotated Stateside. From the beginning of the book, Yossarian stands out as beeing different from the others, he doesn’t care about the war, and he’s not interested in risking his life. In addition, his contemporaries think he’s insane and they do not understand why he believes that people are trying to kill him.

Yossarian is both a member of his squadron and alienated by it (Sparknotes). Throughout the novel he carries with him the badge of being different. Though he lives and flies with his fellow airmen, he is constantly identified as an outsider. His Assyrian name strikes people as out of the ordinary because no one’s ever heard of it before. For instance, the egomaniacal Colonel Cathcart becomes distressed every time he hears the name. Heller writes:
Yossarian─ the very sight of the name made him shudder. There were so many esses in it. It just had to be subversive. It was like the word subversive itself. It was like seditious and insidious too, and like socialist, suspicious, fascist and Communist. It was an odious, alien, distasteful name (220).
Adding to Yossarian’s difference is the fact that he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about the war, or the enemy, or his “duty,” or parades. When he becomes fed up with the war, he simply invents a medical problem such as liver pain, or “seeing everything twice,” and retreats into the hospital. He says that, “All he was expected to do in the hospital was to die or get better, and since he was perfectly all right to begin with, getting better was easy. (175)” As...

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Uploaded by:   Nategrey

Date:   08/05/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,192 words)

Views:   2343

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