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Overview

Catch-22


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A comic, satirical, surreal, and apocalyptic novel by J. Heller, published in 1961, which describes the ordeals and exploits of a group of American airmen based on a small Mediterranean island during the Italian campaign of the Second World War, and in particular the reactions of Captain Yossarian, the protagonist. The title of the novel has passed into the language to describe a situation of deadlock, composed of two mutually exclusive sets of conditions: the original instance in the novel of ‘Catch‐22’, defined in ch. 5, concerns pilot Orr, Yossarian's room‐mate. According to Doc Daneeka, ‘Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.’


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Authors

Joseph Heller (1923—1999) American novelist