Catch-22 Power of BeauracracyPaper Rating: Word Count: 299 Approx Pages: 1
Catch-22's Power of Bureaucracy
In his novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller captures the hypocrisy of freedom in the army. All aspects of the lives and deaths of the men in Yossarian's squadron are controlled by the bureaucracy, which refuses to listen to the men that it controls. When Scheisskopf is interrogating Clevinger, he never allows Clevinger to say he is innocent because he is so busy correcting Clevinger's manner of speaking. Similarly, when Yossarian has flown the required number of combat missions, Colonel Cathcart, a bureaucrat, raises the number just because he has the authority to do so. The main characteristic of a bureaucrat in Catch-22 is the ability to defy logic. Doc Daneeka best represents this ability when he refuses to ground Yossarian for insanity, since Yossarian's plea to be grounded proves that he is in reality, sane.
It is hard for Yossarian's squadron to be faced with an authority that refuses to recognize its subject's reasoning. The bureaucracy is so far removed that it must not realize how truly illogical and hypocritical it is being. The best example of this illogical thinking is when the chaplain is accused of a crime and then interrogated by officials who do not know what the crime is but are trying to figure out through interrogation.
Yossarian is attempting to escape from a world of contradiction. He has been trapped by the illogical laws framed by the military bureaucracy and is struggling to free himself. I believe that Yossarian will escape the absurd world of the military bureaucracy, however, his fellow squadron members will not be as successful. They will be trapped in the web of contradiction long after the war is over because they lack the audacity to defy the authority figures who have been defying logic.