General Dreedle's Cruelty In Catch-22

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Joseph Heller’s classic novel, Catch-22, follows the wartime life of Captain John Yossarian of the United States 256th squadron of bombardiers during the second world war. Yossarian and his squadron friends find themselves in a unique situation, a Catch-22. They are helplessly stuck fighting in a war they no longer wish to be fighting in. Their commanding officer, Colonel Cathcart, continually forces them fly more and more missions in the Italian theatre of the war. Yossarian and the other men and the squadron have to deal with Cathcart’s cruel, looping cycle in addition to other cruelties such as General Dreedle’s threats of murder and the multitude of rules under the Catch-22, which reveal Heller’s true purpose behind writing this novel:…show more content…
While in the briefing room, General Dreedle orders all of the men to never moan again, but a preoccupied Major Danby did not hear him. When Danby realized none of the men in the room had been paying attention to him, he let out a moan in exasperation. General Dreedle immediately reacted by ordering that the men in the room grab Major Danby and “take him out and shoot him” (Heller 232). Dreedle has no regard for the situation Danby was in, and contained no sympathy for human life in that moment. He is the definition of a bureaucrat, someone who seeks only power for themselves, and contains nothing but apathy towards those below him. This is not the only instance in the novel either where the bureaucracy sees removing those that threaten it from the picture. The chaplain is threatened by his bureaucratic partner, Sergeant Whitcomb, who frames him as Washington Irving in order to get the chaplain’s job. Additionally, Dunbar, who is the most well-known member of his squadron and well known as a dissenter against the Colonel, is mysteriously “disappeared” by unknown men and never heard from again (Heller 378). At the end of the novel, Cathcart and Korn even make a deal with Yossarian in order to stop his refusal of flying missions and remove him as a nuisance in their campaigns for power. They agree to stop making him fly missions, but in…show more content…
It is an unwritten rule used to have infinite, never-ending, just like a circle, control over the people falling within the bureaucracy. Yossarian and his squad members are stuck flying the missions Cathcart continually assigns to them because of the Catch-22. Yossarian is eligible to leave combat, because he is generally believed to be insane. However, because of the Catch-22 rule, he has to ask to be removed from combat, but by asking to be removed, he is no longer considered insane, because only a sane person would ask to not fly more missions. Yossarian also comes across Catch-22 when the MP’s throw out all the girls of the brothel in Rome with complete disregard for their well-being and safety. The old lady who ran it informs Yossarian that the MP’s claimed the right to throw everyone because "Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can 't stop them from doing" (Heller 417). Yossarian finds this explanation absurd and begins to question if Catch-22 is even a written rule, or just something the bureaucrats use as an excuse to garner control. Yossarian’s questioning highlights a concern that bureaucrats can be controlling in questionable and mysterious ways, almost like a shadow
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