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The Burden of Morality- Joseph Heller

             In Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22, it is difficult to point out any particular character that consistently shows moral fortitude. Almost all of the characters in the novel act with primarily self-centered motives and are willing to engage in less than honorable activities as long they serve the primary goal of looking out for number one. However, the degree of selfishness varies greatly from character to character, and in rare instances some less selfish characters will even opt for the moral high ground at their own expense. Characters that do partake in actions that border on altruism consistently end up achieving less material success (i.e. outward forms success that can be measured in forms such as wealth or status, rather than success through a sense of personal satisfaction) than characters that are more wholly immoral and inconsiderate of others. By repeatedly displaying selfish, immoral characters achieving greater material success than their less self-involved counterparts, the novel Catch-22 implies that acting in the interest of others requires one to sacrifice opportunities for material self-advancement .
             The chaplain is perhaps the most moral and conscientious character in the novel, and because of this, the other members of the squadron are able to take advantage of him. The chaplain's relative innocence and concern for others comes into sharp contrast with the blatantly egocentric attitudes of other characters. This contrast becomes apparent during a conversation with Colonel Cathcart about the possibility of pre-mission prayer sessions: .
             The chaplain felt his face flush. "I'm sorry, sir. I just assumed you would want the enlisted men to be present, since they would be going along on the same mission."".
             "Well, I don't. They've got a God and a chaplain of their own, haven't they?.
             "No, sir."".
             "What are you talking about? You mean to say that they pray to the same God we do?-.

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