By H. Bloom (ed.)
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Extra resources for Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
He stopped three more times at bars on the way in, to see his mother-in-law, his best friend and his old police captain, returning with a larger smile and a livelier step from each brief visit. 44 Joseph Heller François was whistling, and we were limp with exhaustion, by the time we arrived in the city, where the heat was unbearable. Add humidity to Hell, and you have the climate of Bastia in early July. François and I went to the nearest bar for a farewell drink. He was jaunty and conﬁdent again.
To expect more from them, even from Yossarian, is to accept their folly as truth. ” Once glorious, Rome is now a “dilapidated shell,” as though modern Goths and Vandals had destroyed everything in their path; or as if a modern God had visited his wrath upon it. The monuments are shattered, the streets contain surrealistic nightmares, the people seem the husks and shards of humanity. All values are overturned, all hopes and dreams made valueless; sanity itself becomes a meaningless term. Everything visible—an emblem of what lies beneath—is oﬀ balance, out of key.
He is more Sancho than Don. The comedy of Yossarian is the comedy of a romantic, Rousseauistic natural man forced to do the dirty work of the world. Yet this twentieth-century natural man is “with it,” not against it. He is able to adapt to the forces that would otherwise destroy. He retains his naturalness (integrity, sexual balance, coolness) in situations that have frustrated and smashed men more rebellious and aﬃrmative than he. What both impresses and dismays us is Yossarian’s adaptability; his views do not cause rigidity, and without rigidity there can be only personal comedy.