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Essay/Term paper: The atrocity of war

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Cliff Notes

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The Atrocity of War More than an end to war, we want an

end to the beginning of all wars - yes, an end to this brutal,

inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the

differences between governments (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

In some people"s minds, war is glorified. The romanticized

perspective that society bases war on is reversed in the

book Catch-22. The Vietnam War established the book as

an anti-war classic because of the war"s paradoxical nature.

Heller perceives war as a no win situation. The book

elaborates on the sane and the insane ways of the nation.

The question is who is to determine the insane? It all comes

back to the paradox that 'Catch-22' delivers. The trauma

this book illustrates threatens the government"s ideal of

peace. There was a time when Heller"s classic satire on the

murderous insanity of war was nothing less than a rite of

passage. Throughout the book it reveals a portrait of war

that is the reality. The sarcasm and structure of this novel is

Heller"s way to show the actuality of war"s dispair. The

author exemplifies war as trivial; his characters are not

fighting the enemy, but they are fighting within themselves.

The world has known war ever since the beginning of time,

but time has to change if the nation is going to prosper in a

positive direction. In Catch-22 most of the sane characters

put all of their time and energy into getting home. Yossarian,

the main character in the book, was the most determined to

stay alive. "The enemy," retorted Yossarian, "is anybody

who"s going to get you killed, no matter which side he"s on"

(120). All around him he felt people were trying to kill him.

His main fear was everyone, including his troops, were

shooting at him. Yossarian informs, "They"re trying to kill

me" (11). Everywhere he turned he thought people were

after him. Even in the dining hall, he sensed the cooks

wanted to poison him. With the trauma he went through

nobody can blame him for being paranoid. Anything he

could do to get out of missions he tried. The goal that he set

was to go home alive, and he would do anything to achieve

it. Never did he think twice about what duty he had to

accomplish for his government. The whole objective in war

is for innocent people to die. Not only did Yossarian fight to

go home, but also he fought with the guilt he had to

encounter for his lack of bravery. Nothing that he faced

could stop him from leaving the war. Not only did he have to

battle the constant fear of death, he also had to fight the

inner trauma that was killing him inside. Another character in

the story who struggles against his own internal conflicts with

reality is Doc Daneeka. His character represents many of

the soldiers who go to war. All Daneeka was worried about

was his own welfare. His patients would approach him in

much more of a terrible condition than he was, but he would

only be concerned about himself. Not only did he hate

participating in the war, but also hated flying in airplanes.

Doc stated in his own words, "I don"t have to go looking for

trouble in an airplane" (28). He felt that troubles come after

him so there is no reason to take any actions that might get

him involved in more trouble. Instead of taking the initiative

to help the injured he opted to save his own life. The last

thing he was worried about was his American pride. Nothing

was more important to him than getting out of the war

predicament. The status of his men were not of a significance

to him. Doc was interested in the economic, social, and

political conditions of his own benefit. Just as many soldiers

do in war, Daneeka didn"t understand why this was

happening to him. He pointed out, "You think you have

something to be afraid about" (171)? The Doc lost

everything he had and all of the potential because of the war.

He left at the end of the novel as a dead man that is really

alive, which just is an example of a catch-22. War was not

an option to him; it was something he had to do. The

magnified viewpoint that the government perceives war as is

altered as soon as a solider steps on the battlefield. Doc

never had the outlook of a brave man. His soul was

concealed in cowardliness. It all comes down to the same

concept of war; people stop fighting for their country, and

they start fighting for their lives. The question of "is he crazy"

is asked throughout the book. The answer is sometimes

hidden deep inside a person. It is often unrecognizable. A

misinterpreted character in the book is Orr. He is

Yossarian"s "playful" roommate. He comes across as being

a little crazy. He faced the terror of being in war along with

all of the others. Though Orr was different; he reacted to his

fear. Out of all of the characters he was the smartest. All of

the shock he experienced drove him away from the war. His

plan to leave the base worked! When he disappeared he

was determined as dead, when actually he was hiding. His

timid outlook of war came out in his actions, but that shows

his heartache of the experiences he encounters in the war.

His character was misunderstood from the very beginning. It

all started with his "apple cheeks". Orr told Yossarian a

story about his apple cheeks; "When I was a kid I used to

walk around with crab apples in my cheeks. One in each

cheek," (16). The intelligence that Orr had, actually had

saved his life. He never intended to save his country, but

only to go home alive. What is the purpose of war if virtuous

men with no intentions in helping the country are only fighting

for their own lives? Orr is another example of someone

trying to live for the joy of life. In his eyes life comes first

then his country comes second. The book Catch-22 uses

many tactics to make a mockery of war, and it shows the

men fighting are not fighting for their county, but only for

their lives. Heeler is trying to get a strong point across. Life

is much more important than a fight between governments.

No matter how it is looked at, war is murder. The term

"catch 22" pictures war perfectly. In war winning is not an

option. Even if the country pulls out a victory thousands of

people are then dead. Not to forget the thousands of broken

hearts around the world because their loved ones are dead.

The only thing benefiting from war is the government, and a

lot of times it does not always come out on top. Catch-22

catches war in the eyes of the men fighting, and it does not

disguise the true terror that it brings. The characters in the

story who were the most sane were the ones who fought for

their lives, and not for their country. "War does not decide

who is right, only who is left," (Lao Tse).  

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