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Individuality as a way to survive

            As society advances through modernization, aspects of humanity have been lost. A steady decline in individuality, decay of human ethics, and a loss of awareness of personal action has erupted within the persons of the society. In his novel, Catch-22, Joseph Heller critiques and criticizes using the ridiculousness of war to show how misguided much of modern society has become, in spite of our so-called civilized advancement. Heller begins by accentuating individuality as a way to survive, emphasizing the capability of society to asphyxiate and dominate one's principles, morals, beliefs, and opinions.
             Catch-22 places a particular strain on the importance on individuality, and the danger of losing that individualism during war. Although the book begins with a variety of characters that take part in different activities that enrich their community, it also shows a pattern of slowly diminishing individuality among them. This trend become more apparent as the book progresses, and eventually fosters situations that can be characterized as simply farce. One such incident is clearly portrayed in Scheisskopf's parade strategies. At first strict, wanting all soldiers to march in formation, he later wishes to string together all participants to create a perfect march. "Lieutenant Scheisskopf's preparations were elaborate and clandestine. All the cadets in his squadron were sworn to secrecy and rehearsed in the dead of night on the auxiliary paradeground Lieutenant Scheisskopf's first thought had been to have a friend on his in the sheet metal shop sink pegs of nickel alloy into each man's thighbones and link them to the wrists by strands of copper wire with exactly three inches of play, but there wasn't time-there was never enough time-and good copper wire was hard to come by in wartime." (page 83) His parades represent the soldiers" overwhelming acceptance of ridiculous rules and the entire trend towards becoming robot-like figures of the army.

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