Essay on Satire in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Words: 2043
Pages: 9

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, is a fictitious novel that depicts life on an American bomber squadron on Pianosa, an island off the coast of Italy, during the closing years of World War II. A bombardier by the name of Yossarian, the main character in the story, is joined by many others to create a comic drama unlike any other. But aside from the entertainment, Heller uses Catch-22 to satirize many aspects of everyday life that consist of hypocrisy, corruption, and insanity. From the laziness of policeman to the fake happiness brought about by money, the novel is painted with a great number of points targeted against the faults of modern society. However, along with these smaller targets, a majority of the Heller's satire in the novel is aimed …show more content…
Aarfy is seen raping a girl in Rome and throws her out of his apartment window to her death. Yossarian sees this and is appalled by what has happened. When he reaches the apartment room, he begins shouting at Aarfy in a skeptical and accusing manner and asks why he did not just buy off a prostitute if he wanted pleasure. To this Aarfy brags that he "never paid for it in his life" (428). Aarfy is yet another man who has such an excessive pride in his personal accomplishment of not paying for sex that he ends up raping a girl to have sex with him instead. In his mind, he keeps his pride in doing so but it is obvious that rape is a far more ignominious than paying a prostitute for sex. Men generally do make the mistake of holding their pride above all else resulting in a carelessness that makes them look even worse and Heller uses Aarfy to satirize that part of human beings. Finally, Milo represents all that is selfish and greedy in man as he is continuously thinking of only himself. When his stock in Egyptian cotton inflates and he has a surplus of the product, he goes to see Yossarian who is naked in a tree watching the funeral of Snowden from a distance. The whole time, instead of giving any concern to others and paying any respects to the funeral that is going on just a few hundred feet away, he continuously chatters away about himself and his