Catch 22 Novel Study Guide Rachael Stark Block 3
SUMMARY: During the second half of World War II, a soldier named Yossarian is stationed with his Air Force squadron on the island of Pianosa. Everyone thinks Yossarian is crazy when he insists that people are trying to kill him. Most events are refracted through Yossarian’s point of view. Yossarian has a desire to live. He spends a great deal of his time in the hospital, faking illnesses to avoid the war. Catch-22 is a law defined in different ways throughout the novel: first, it is possible to be discharged from military service because of insanity; second, it’s illegal to read; third, the enemy is allowed to do anything that someone can’t stop him from doing. Yossarian claims that he is insane, only to find out that by claiming that he is insane he has proved that he is sane. His friend Nately falls in love with a Roman girl, who is indifferent towards his advances. When she falls for Nately, he is killed on his very next mission. She blames Yossarian for Nately’s death and tries to stab him every time she sees him. Yossarian, troubled by Nately’s death, refuses to fly any more missions. He is arrested for being in Rome without a pass. He is then presented with a choice: face a court-martial or be sent home. There is one condition: in order togo home, he must approve of his superiors, Cathcart and Korn, and their policy, which requires all the men in the squadron to fly eighty missions. He chooses another way out, and fled to Sweden. Major Characters: Yossarian: Promiscuous (sleeping with several girls), Crazy (Clevinger shouted “you’re crazy”), Emotional (chapter one he said he was in love), Apathetic (he bombs whatever until he hits his target), Paranoid (chapter 12 page 17), Selfish (chapter 12 page 123), “Not Crazy” (he choses to live), Observant (When he was talking about the war), Annoying (he crossed out random things in the letters in chapter one), Sensitive (dead guy in his tent, and the crabapples), Opportunist (when he chose another way out of the army and fled to Sweden). Milo Minderbinder: obsessed with expanding mess operations and trading goods for the profits of the syndicate. The Chaplain: he struggles to maintain his faith during the war. Captain Black: Hates Major Major, tall, narrow, moves with crabby listlessness, paranoid.
Doc Daneeka: feels sorry for himself, refuses to listen to other people’s problems, selfish Themes: War/patriotism Sanity/insanity (The Catch 22) Fear (Yossarian’s fear of dying) Bureaucracy (Milo Minderbinder) Faith (The Chaplin)