The Insanity Of War Exposed In Joseph Heller's Catch-22

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Joseph Heller’s classic novel Catch-22 deals with the eternal issues of the morality of war and the value of a human life. This novel, influenced by his life, has been called one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century by some. The story focuses on a nonlinear series of events in an American air force squadron on an Italian island in World War II. With biting humor and sarcasm, he shows the insanity of the military bureaucracy and of war in general. Although ostensibly protesting the uselessness of war, Catch-22 is really a commentary on the insanity of modern American society. Catch-22 uses an air force squadron during World War II as a microcosm of that society, with many similar absurdities and problems between them. Heller’s childhood experiences shaped him into becoming…show more content…
The release of Catch-22 in 1961 received lukewarm reviews. After the British release, it sold extremely well and became critically acclaimed. Many adaptations have been made for the novel, including a play and a movie. Something Happened, his second novel, was generally well received by the public and dealt with similar themes about bureaucracy. Picture This, a minor novel of his, juxtaposes great figures in Western history, such as Plato or Rembrandt, with modern Western society, essentially boiling down to the clashes between genius and power in that society. A sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, was also published by Heller, reuniting the characters in New York City much later in life. His final novel, Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man, which he had been working on at the time of his death, was about an artist attempting to regain the success of his youth, and was published posthumously. While almost all of his major works were well received by critics, Heller’s early works gained much more public attention and sales

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