How does the following quote from Catch-22 develop the characters, theme, and conflict within the novel? “He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive.”
This quotation can be found in Chapter 3 of Joseph Heller's great anti-war novel, Catch-22, and can be attributed to the main character and protagonist, Yossarian. Yossarian's primary goal is to stay alive during his endless bombing runs during World War II. He often takes the easy way out, dropping his bombs early (sometimes in the open water) or deliberately short of the target in the hope of returning safely without taking unnecessary flak from below or from enemy planes above. However, the maximum number of bombing missions are constantly raised by his superiors, so each time he nears this number, it is increased again--another of the numerous examples of "Catch-22" described in the novel. Therefore, he must continue flying his missions: It is the only way he will eventually reach the maximum number and then be sent home. However, he finally comes to realize that the number will continue to be increased--he may never be sent home--and his chance of survival decreases with each mission. So, he plots other ways to return home--like Orr, who deliberately practices crash landings in the water because he eventually plans to escape via liferaft to Sweden.