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Catch-22

Catch-22

by Joseph Heller

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Catch-22 was influenced largely by Heller's own experiences as a bombardier in WWII. (Source)

Catch-22 went through several title changes before Heller decided on the number 22. It was originally "Catch-18" but Heller changed it when Leon Uris's novel Mila 18 came out. Heller later rejected "Catch-14" because 14 simply wasn't a "funny number." He settled on 22 because of its repeating numbers echo the repetition of certain phrases and scenes in the book. (Source)

Yossarian's character may be loosely based on Achilles from Homer's Iliad. Then again, he may be an anti-Achilles. (Source: Reilly, Charlie. "An Interview with Joseph Heller." Contemporary Literature, Vol. 39, No. 4. 1998. p. 507-522)

Lieutenant Schiesskopf's name literally means "s--- head" in German. (Source)

Want more? There' s a sequel. Check out Closing Time, Heller's sixth novel. (Source)

According to Heller, he never wrote novels unless he had the whole story in his head before he started writing. To help him form his ideas, he jots lines down on 3 x 5 notecards. For Catch-22, these notecards filled a whole shoebox. (Source)

Heller got many of his ideas for Catch-22 while brushing his teeth. (Source)

Heller didn't realize that Catch-22 was funny until he heard a friend, who was reading the novel next door, laugh out loud. (Source)

Heller missed his deadline for completing Catch-22 by several years. He accounts for this by saying he is "a mysteriously slow writer." (Source)

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