Catch-22 I Can See Clearly Now Essay

Words: 994
Pages: 4

I Can See Clearly Now
Flannery O’Conner argued that “[Distortion] is the only way to make people see”. This famous statement is initially contradictory and incongruous, but in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 it is easy to see the truth of this paradox. The pages of Catch-22 are lined with distortion and each instance provides for a new kind of clarity. Catch-22 is simply a war story illustrated by ridiculous behavior and illogical arguments and told in a flatly satirical tone. Though the book never states outright that matters are funny, the reader is always aware of how outrageously bizarre the characters and situations are. Heller uses out of sequence narration, a confused distinction between appearance and reality, and the irrationally
…show more content…
Everyone can visibly see that Doc Daneeka is alive, in the flesh, and yet he is reported as “killed in action”(344), and Daneeka is treated like he is dead for the remainder of the novel. The reality of the military has been so contorted that they are more willing to accept the truth they read than the truth they can see. This confusion between appearance and reality demonstrates the deteriorated state of the military government and forces readers to give a greater attention to the details of such storyline.
A third kind of distortion are the irrational and paranoid statements and thoughts of the book’s protagonist, Yossarian. Though Yossarian likely entered the army a sane man, he apparently loses his grip on reality as he watches his friends die in the war surrounding him. Yossarian is often referred to as “crazy”(20) and yet there is irony in the fact that every paranoid thought he has is true. Yossarian has a sole goal through the duration of the book: staying alive. He goes up into the sky and finds airplanes shooting at him from all directions, and so he goes as far as to see himself as a potential murder victim. “They’re trying to kill me”(16), he argues to a fellow cadet. Though the other cadet insists that “they” are simply partaking in a war, Yossarian’s paranoia illustrates a sky full of strangers who want him dead. Though Yossarian’s thoughts are irrational, they also prove to be somewhat reasonable. The