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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

Yossarian is a bombardier of the 256th squadron stationed on the island of Pianosa. Through the novel, he struggles to survive in the nightmarish world of war with its stupidity, illogic, violence, and death.

Antagonist

The military bureaucracy in Yossarian’s squadron, represented by Colonel Cathcart and other commanding officers, who constantly jeopardize the lives of the men under their command by raising the number of missions they have to fly before going home. They frame the unwritten rules of Catch-22, an illogical law which leaves the airmen in a no-win situation. The law is maddening and devastating in its effect on the morale of the enlisted men.


Climax

Following the deaths of Dobbs and Nately in the mission to La Spezia (Chapter 35), Yossarian refuses to fly any more missions. He finally comes out in open (peaceful) revolt against his commanding officers.

Resolution

On hearing of Orr’s escape to Sweden (Chapter 42), Yossarian finally decides to desert. Like Huckleberry Finn, Yossarian takes a decisive step in his quest for personal freedom, sanity, and salvation by trying to escape to Sweden.

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