Basic Life Themes In Joseph Heller's Catch 22

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In my readings of Catch 22, I found some interesting themes that caught my attention. These themes makes one think of basic life principles and the irony of war. These themes are intertwined with moral values and beliefs. The characters in this novel portrait several major beliefs about war that soldiers held during war.
The first theme discussed in this paper is Dunbar’s theory of time and how each soldier wants to live his life. He believes that life becomes longer when a person spends his time in unpleasant situations. Clevinger asks him why anyone would want to exist in such terrible conditions. Dunbar’s response is bone chilling and creates a sense of worthlessness in life. He replies, “What else is there?” (Heller, 39) I’m sure that
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He says that everyone has a “right to live.” (Heller 226) This is contradicting to me because he is in the armed forces and they kill the enemy regularly just to complete their number of missions required to get home. Referring back to my second point, Yossarian told Clevinger that Cathcart is an enemy. These two thoughts seem to be in conflict with each other.
Lastly, while Nately is having a conversation with the old man in chapter 23, Nately makes a statement which the old man opposes saying, “I’m afraid you have it backward. It is better to live on one’s feet than die on one’s knees.” (Heller 247) My understanding of the old man’s statement is that it’s better to live as a slave than die as a hero. I feel that this is completely backward and is opposed to martial value. Nately’s statement is the opposite. He does believe in martial values.
As I’ve read Heller’s Catch 22, I’ve picked up on these and a few other principle based arguments. For most of these arguments, I feel that many these soldiers have the wrong outlook when it comes to fighting a war, but the right perspective when it comes to individual
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