What’s the Catch?


Catch-22 turns 50 today. What better way to celebrate than perusing this article. It discusses why the novel has inspired such “divergent” reactions.

In teasing out the reasons, the article takes us back into the intricacies of Heller’s work and argues that the principal flaw comes from a clash between the novel’s satirical intention and its setting.

Despite the dissonance, Catch-22 succeeds—and perhaps most importantly in what it provides us:

“Catch-22 is a tool to think with, to press into service whenever the cause of political perspicuity demands it. Heller has given us a concept, and a language, with which to lampoon obfuscation. In that sense, the novel does hit its target and will go on hitting it for centuries to come. For if there’s one thing the powerful cannot abide, it’s the feeling that they are not taken seriously.”

(Via Book Bench)

Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →