"Life is always filled with situations that can be difficult to find an escape. Even once in a while, it presents a situation that is well beyond difficult, and totally impossible to escape from." (Beatty, p. 211) These situations are examined and brought to our attention in Joseph Heller's novel, Catch-22. The main character, Yossarian, does not want to fly but is met with a "catch 22", which can be seen as a stumbling block to reason and even free will. In the end, Yossarian takes a stand against his situation by surprisingly running away from it. The novel satirizes bureaucracy, pride for one's country, and many of our traditional American principles. This was reflective of the escalating condescension for habitual viewpoints that were rising in America at that time. (Potts, p. 13) Yossarian refuses to submit to the system but in his efforts to resist it, he becomes perceivable as insane, incapable of adapting to the shared and moral norms of everyone else. In Catch 22 , Heller portrays a situation where a military bureaucracy, impersonal and clearly biased, can seriously affect one's perceptions of sanity and insanity.
Plagued by catch 22, Yossarian becomes the tormented spectator to the ghastly slaughter of his crew members and the obliteration of all his closest friends, until finally .
his fear of fatality becomes so powerful that he refuses to wear a uniform, after his was splattered with the guts of his dying gunner, and receives a medal standing nude. At this point, Yossarian's logic becomes so untainted that everyone thinks he is crazy, the cause is the bureaucracy created by the military. He is committed to keeping himself alive in a world clamoring for his extermination. For while many of his fellow soldiers seem unconcerned with their own survival, and most of his superior officers are clearly threatening to his, Yossarian is active solely because of his frantic determination to stay alive: .