About the Author

Joseph Heller was born on May 1, 1923, in New York City, and grew up near the Coney Island amusement park. His parents, recent Russian […]


Catch-22 is a product of intense private and public concerns. Heller based the novel’s plot on his memories of World War II bombing missions; he […]


The novel’s Setting is the mythical island of Pianosa, modeled closely on Corsica and located off the coast of Rome, eight miles south of Elba. […]

Themes and Characters

The protagonist of Catch-22, Captain John Yossarian, is motivated by two closely related impulses: to subvert the repressive military establishment and to survive. His desperate […]

Literary Qualities

Catch-22 both absorbs and parodies a variety of literary genres. Given the book’s fragmented chronology, episodic structure, and caricatured characterizations, some critics have objected to […]

Social Sensitivity

Readers desensitized to the indifference and brutality of society as chronicled every evening on television may not find Catch-22 as horrifying as did readers in […]

Topics for Discussion

1. Catch-22 is an allegory; that is, each character represents some human quality. List the major Characters and their allegorical characteristics. 2. Yossarian’s nickname is […]