Catch-22 Part 3: Paradoxes

LiteratureCatch-22

Transcript

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They all have positions or attributes or characteristics

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that should benefit them,

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but instead, these are the exact characteristics that

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crush them or at least make them struggle.

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Can you give us a few examples?

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How and why do these good things turn so sour

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for the poor cast of the novel?

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One of the first examples comes right at the beginning of the novel.

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There's this character, he's a Texan man from Texas,

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and he's described as good-natured and lovable.

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And then Heller says, "In three days, no one could stand him."

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So that kind of sets the tone

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of the nicest, best person here

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is just gonna get treated like crap and no one likes him.

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So that sets the tone for us.

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But then we get more essential characters

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having the same issue where

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something that should be good for them --

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For example, Major Major

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is a Major and he keeps getting promoted.

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And he really doesn't want to be promoted.

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He doesn't want power,

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but he keeps getting promoted.

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So this power ends up being

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bad for him.

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Sometimes he's promoted because people wanna get rid of him,

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sometimes it's like hilarious errors made by machines.

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[ mechanical voice ] You've been promoted.

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But his status as Major Major Major Major in the end,

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really isolates him,

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and all he wants to do is be one of the men

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in the Air Force.

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But his status really isolates him.

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And the purpose of all this is

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that we see, again,

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coming back to the title, the catch-22, we see

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the paradoxical nature and the

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just complete lack of logic, the total nonsense of war.

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What should be good is bad,

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what should be bad is good.

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What should be sane is insane,

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what should be insane is sane.

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And this is a thread that just runs throughout the entire book.

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And this is one way of looking at it.

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Got it. Okay. Makes sense.

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[ ding ]

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How does Heller use paradoxes in Catch-22

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to provide a political point?

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[ vocalization ]