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Language In Catch-22

Essay by 24  •  May 7, 2011  •  734 Words (3 Pages)  •  751 Views

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Language In Catch-22

Catch-22 is a witty novel written by Joseph Heller that covers many aspects of World War II that usually go untouched. Unlike most war novels, Catch-22 shows the irrationality of war and its negative affects felt by soldiers. It is not the usual novel where hero's are marked by rank and kill counts. Two themes that Heller covers are that of capitalism and free enterprise. He does so by using language, style and the character Milo Minderbinder.

In the novel, Milo assumes the low rank of a mess officer. However he is different from most mess officers. Milo is described as the most incredible mess officer who unlike the other soldiers in the novel benefits from the war. Early in the novel, Milo is seen providing the soldiers with wonderful meals that are not the military norm. The reader's view of Milo as a dedicated mess officer who wants to serve his soldiers soon changes. He is often seen trading military material for worthless material objects. He even trades his fellow comrades parachutes for cotton that serves of no purpose to the company. One can even see that the meals he provides are not out of sincerity for his comrades but rather to get in with the higher ranking officers. Later, Milo even goes as far as bombing his own squadron. People eventually find Milo as ridiculous and are left asking why he would do such a thing as bomb his own soldiers.

Milo's madness is seen again in chapter seven. Milo shows admiration for fellow soldier Yossarian when he persuades a military doctor to write a letter stating that, due to a liver condition that he fakes having; he can have all the fruit he wants. However, Milo is soon appalled by the fact that Yossarian is giving the fruit away. Giving things away is not an option to Milo. He is a savvy business man who makes money off of everything he can. Milo tries to Yossarian the absurdness of giving things away. His reasoning clearly displays Heller's distrust in the power and complexity of capitalism. Heller's use of language shows that Milo has a screwed up point of view. It shows that although Milo is very business savvy, he hardly knows what is truly important in life.

Milo continues to prosper through manipulation and without the thought that by helping himself he is hurting others. All his thoughts revolve around money and the deals he can make. He is soon seen telling people about his wildly popular business that covers many different countries. It is when Milo is named the mayor of cities that we see the true power that Milo has achieved. Heller is

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