Absolute Power Of Bureaucracy In Catch 22

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Adam Rokicki Mrs. Zarnas English Honors 9th 2 October 2015 Summer Reading: Essay #2 There are several themes seen throughout the novel Catch-22, the most prominent one being the absolute power of bureaucracy and how it creates many difficulties for the characters in the book. The administrators or highly ranked officials such as Major Major, Major Metcalf, Lieutenant Scheisskopf, General Peckem, Doc Daneeka, and others create most of the issues as they have so much power they don’t know what to do with it. The main issues they cause are not allowing to soldiers to go home because of Catch-22, interrogating people at the military base for no reason, and constantly sending out the soldiers on perilous but pointless missions. The power of the…show more content…
Lieutenant Scheisskopf, Major Metcalf, and the colonel all interrogate Clevinger but while doing so they constantly correct his speech which causes them to not even hear him and then get off track. Part of the passage which shows what happens goes as is: “ ‘And you think it’s a big fat joke.’ ‘I don’t think it’s a joke, sir,’ Clevinger replied. ‘Don’t interrupt.’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘And say ‘sir’ when you do,’ ordered Major Metcalf. ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Weren’t you just ordered not to interrupt?’ Major Metcalf inquired coldly. ‘But I didn’t interrupt, sir,’ Clevinger answered. ‘No. And you didn’t say ‘sir,’ either. Add that to the charges against him,’ Major Metcalf directed the corporal’ “(84). This passage shows how it is difficult to speak back against administrators because they have enough power to demand you to be silent. Similarly, something like this happens again in another scene to the chaplain. The chaplain is taken down to a cellar by several men and is then accused of a crime but the men do not know what crime they are accusing him of. A part of the chaplain’s argument with the men goes like this: “The officer in front swung his head around swiftly with a quarrelsome expression, ‘You’ve never been in heaven either, have you? But you know there’s a heaven, don’t you?’ ‘Or do you?’ said the colonel. ‘That’s a very serious crime you’ve committed, Father,’ said the major. ‘What crime?’ ‘We don’t know yet,’ said the colonel. ‘But we’re going to find out. And we sure know it’s very serious’ “ (391). During the whole dialogue the chaplain constantly defends himself saying that he did not do anything and the men repeatedly accuse him of committing a crime. This shows how the bureaucracy in the book could accuse anyone of anything in the book and then try to make them admit to doing it even if they did

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