" In order to be grounded you must be crazy, but if you ask to be grounded, you must not be crazy anymore, so you have to continue flying" (Heller 40). This is the justification of what a catch-22 is. Insane behavior and the fight for freedom are both acts, which transpire in Catch 22. Yossarian, a squadron captain is in World War II flying a plane and fighting for his country.
Though trying to get out, he knows there is only one way, and that would only get him "away" from all of the terror. This brings the reader to the theme of the play, escape. "Insanity is the only sane way to deal with an insane situation" (Heller 78). Joseph Heller's Catch-22 explains an insight of which a paradox providing no way out of conflict is overcome and in the end, defeated. Throughout the novel several passages express the idea of escape and the eagerness to do so.
With almost no way to get out of the war completely, Yossarian knew of a temporary way out. Pretending he still had liver problems, he was able to stay in a ward along with truly insane people. Yossarian is aware this is not the best place to be, nor does it have the most caring people there to help you, or even any sane people around, but it is away from the war. "I'm dead, serious about those other wards; M.P.'s won't protect you, because they " re craziest of all.
I'd go with you myself, but I'm scared stiff. Insanity is contagious. This is the only sane ward in the whole hospital. Everybody is crazy but us.
This is probably the only sane ward in the whole world for that matter" (Heller 8). Other examples of escape also showed up in several different characters. From a man named Hungrey Joe, who completed his 50 missions and was ready to go home, to a Doctor who did not want to be there in the first place but had to. No one was happy. Doctor Dane eka states", I had it made, I tell you.
Fifty grand a year I was knocking down, and almost all of it tax-free, since I made my customers pay me in cash. I had the strongest trade association in the world backing me up. And look what happened. Just when I was all set to really start stashing it away they had to manufacture fascism and start a war horrible enough to affect me. I gotta laugh when I hear someone like Hungrey Joe screaming his brains out every night" (Heller 46). The previous statement shows how much everyone just wants "out".
Not only in books and stories are characters stuck in somewhere they do not want to be but also in real life. It is somewhat like being in jail, an individual got there because of something they did, as does going to war, by enlisting. Being stuck there with both, no way out until being told by some one of a higher rank. Personally speaking, I am currently employed at a job making only a small weekly sum of money. Moreover I am not experienced enough to work somewhere making a larger amount of money. My education is limited at the moment, so I must stick with my current job (or one like it) or have no job at all.
The whole idea of escape can be applied to most any aspect of life. To an extent the thought of escape can be universal. People will go great lengths to get out of the situation they are in. Not always getting out of the situation though, and sometimes becoming emotionally distressed or even leading to their insanity. Troubles plague all, be they small or large.
Some troubles have an open route for escape and some do not. Doctor Dance ka explains. "He thinks he's got troubles? What about me? Oh, I'm not complaining I know there's a war on. I know a lot of people are going to have to suffer for us to win it.
But why must I be one of them? Why don't they draft some of these old doctors who keep shooting their kissers off in public about what big sacrifices the medical game stands ready to make? I don't want to make sacrifices. I want to make dough" (Heller 26). That is the way it is in real life and how people perceive / approach problems.
Hypothetically speaking, there is a poor woman with a child living in a home in a bad part of town. The only thing this woman wants is to live as happily as possible providing for herself and her child. The other individuals in the neighborhood like to pick at, and steal from this poor woman and child, not willing to work for what they want. This woman wants to escape but it would not be possible under her circumstances. In my experience I would enjoy being on my own, in my own home. Knowing that I am not even close to being stable, it would make things extremely difficult and unrealistic (unless help was provided).
I am imprisoned in this home, with these rules, with no choice but to stay. Relating to the motives of the characters in Catch-22, is a single man in the movie Full Metal Jacket. This man named Leonard Lawrence is in the Vietnam War with no means of escape. Leonard is taunted so much that he finds only one other way of escape other then waiting his time out. He is so stressed and scared that he practically goes insane, and kills himself, ending the pain and freeing his body. "You " ve only got four more to fly", stated Major Major (Heller 99).
The truth being, there will be more. Just like Leonard and all the upcoming obstacles he would have had to face and was facing before his death". He didn't wash ashore to Sweden. He rowed there, Chaplain, he rowed there" (Heller 451). This illustrates a lesson in life that the author may or may not have been trying to get across to the reader.
This is the point at which Yossarian figures out it is possible to "get out", and plans on trying it himself. This may be a lesson to many in that if a person really, truly wants out, there are possibilities and cracks they can fall through to get to their desired destination. People need to learn to care less about others and be somewhat selfish at times. "Let the bastards thrive, for all I care, since I can't do a thing to stop them but embarrass them by running away. I've got responsibilities of my own now" (Heller 454). In society today you can be trapped in almost anything including a relationship.
Unlike the circumstances of a war someone may be forced to stay with their significant other, afraid of the consequences for their thought about actions. Hopefully growing strong and overpowering the weakness in their life. Similar circumstances also occur in other aspects of life. For example I myself would like to go to a specific university, though I was not excepted. With this I must attend a near by community college for two years increasing my chances of getting into the university. It is hard to escape not going to the community college if I know my chances will be better attending the community college.
The idea of "escape" can be portrayed in several different ways. "Catch-22 defies the maddening, paradoxical thought processes by which the military runs its soldiers lives, anytime Yossarian spies a potential way out of war, there is a catch" (Sparknotes). "The alternating play of humor and horror creates a dramatic tension throughout that allows the book to be labeled as a classic both of humor and of war. With the humor in Catch-22 we are forced to conclude is only secondary.
Where Heller comes through in un alleviated horror is where the message lies. The books humor does not alleviate the horror it heightens it by contrast". (Riley, Carolyn & Phyllis Carmel Mendelson).