Colonel Cathcart Analysis

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Pages: 6

Colonel Cathcart, though in the military, shares many traits with any executive in the business world. As Miller puts it, “Cathcart’s values are those of many clean-cut, well-dressed commuters who funnel in and out of our cities and manage America’s industries” (Miller 388-389). His only apparent reason to exist is to be better than his peers. “He could measure his own progress only in relationship to others, and his idea of excellence was to do something at least as well as all the men his own age who were doing the same thing even better,” and “Colonel Cathcart was conceited because he was a full colonel with a combat command at the age of only thirty-six; and Colonel Cathcart was dejected because although he was already thirty-six he was still only a full …show more content…
Just as McCarthy turned the House Un-American Activities Committee, a body which was initially created to find American citizens with ties to the Nazis, into a communist witch hunt, Captain Black twisted his own investigatory board to attack “subversives.” His board’s methodology was similarly questionable, relying mostly on Captain Black’s personal opinions of people. In one poor corporal’s case, “Captain Black knew he was a subversive because he wore eyeglasses and used words like panacea and utopia, and because he disapproved of Adolf Hitler, who had done such a great job of combating un-American activities in Germany.” This tremendous irony of Hitler himself being more American than a corporal in the United States Army––and less subject to a committee initially intended to root out Nazis––goes unnoticed by the characters amid the constant contradictions of the world around them, but it stands out starkly to readers in the American culture who, in 1961 when Catch-22 first was released, were less than a decade removed from McCarthy’s mayhem (Heller