Catch 22 Yossarian Character Analysis

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The concept of Heroism is viewed in the character of Yossarian who portrays aspects of an anti-hero through his cowardice and his selfish desire to stay alive. In Catch-22 Yossarian is constantly criticized for avoiding dangerous situations because he only cares about saving his own life. However, this interpretation fails to explain the true purpose of his role being the anti-hero and the significance of his obsession to staying alive. As the novel continues the true purpose of Yossarian being the anti-hero is exposed as well as the meaning behind his constant battle to stay alive. An anti-hero is the central character of a story or drama that lacks conventional heroic attributes like courage and honesty(Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, pg.1). This anti-hero often is characterized as selfish due to his desire to preserve his safety and the lives of others around him. The absence of these heroic attributes reflects a man’s indecision to customary social ideals. Robert Brustein states the following: “ Yossarian is animated solely be a desperate determination to stay alive”(p.489,2011). Yossarian fits into the definition of an anti-hero since in the whole novel he constantly finds a loophole to get himself out of a dangerous situation in which likely…show more content…
In order for Heller to do this, he begins by first criticizing heroism through the character of Yossarian. As presented earlier Yossarian is an anti-hero and he is not like the typical traditional hero. However, Heller does ridicule some more traditional heroes in the novel like Nately to explain to the reader that instead of being brave or courageous your actions and reaction should of a coward. The lack of respect for war that Heller portrays through Yossarian, who lacks the courage and is a coward, helps the reader understand the meaning and reaction to war in Heller’s point of
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