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  This novel shows people at war. What is Heller's tone, or attitude, toward that...

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mangastream | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted March 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM via web

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This novel shows people at war. What is Heller's tone, or attitude, toward that topic in Catch-22?

 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:31 PM (Answer #1)

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Joseph Heller clearly has a point of view about war, and he demonstrates that perspective best in the names and actions of those in leadership in his novel Catch-22.

The characters in leadership all have names which reflect their particular ineptitudes and egocentricities. For example, General Scheisskopf is consumed with parades and other equally useless displays; in German, his name means "shithead." General Peckem gives the ridiculous command that all military tents must be pitched with their tents facing the Washington monument. He is obsessed with rank and pecking order (as his name implies); his name is also a loose equivalent to a male organ. The mess officer, Milo Minderbinder, is determined that capitalism (making money) will persevere despite the war--even at the expense of soldiers' lives. In contrast, the dead man in Yossarian's tent is named Mudd, which is an apt depiction of the enlisted men, according to Heller. 

Perhaps the most obvious example of Heller's view of war comes from the title and the supposedly non-existent law known as Catch-22. Winning is not the goal and everyone loses. This is, presumably, Heller's view of war. 

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