The meaning of the book “Amendment-22” by Heller or how a pilot tries to survive at the front

The novel Catch-22 is extremely popular in the English-speaking world. Many perceive the work as a comedy and anti-war pathos, but few people analyze it as a drama.

So today we will analyze the deep meaning of the novel, as well as the plot. Get comfortable, it will be interesting.


The events in the novel unfold in 1944 on the territory of the Italian island of Pianosa, which is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea. There has recently been an Allied air base. The main plot is built around the pilot Yossarian, who is trying with all his might to survive in the war and return to his native land as soon as possible.

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However, it is becoming more and more difficult to do this every day, because the authorities are constantly increasing the rate of pilot departures, and at such an intensity it is almost impossible to survive.

It remains only to pretend to be a psycho in order to file a report about his madness.

In the law of war and the charter there is the famous Amendment-22. According to it, those who admit they are insane must prove that they are of sound mind.

However, our Yossarian is not one of the timid, so he comes up with a plan to leave the military.

The meaning of the novel

At first glance, it seems that we have a comedy and an anti-war march, where the main characters are trying with all their might to end their participation in senseless bloodshed. However, it seems so only on a superficial reading of the novel.

In fact, we see Yossarian, who, up to a certain point, fulfills all combat missions with honor and according to the charter. However, on one of the sorties, his crew did not count the gunner, and after that the helmsman.


Capital understands that soon the same fate will await it, if not from anti-aircraft guns, then due to equipment malfunctions, even higher sortie rates and criminal orders from superiors.

Before us is a drama about a man who wants to be free and not depend on orders from outside. Yossarian desires most of all to return home from this smoky and bloody battlefield, and for this he is ready to completely change his worldview. Now for him, everything that prevents him from achieving his goal is opponents. For example, a poorly maintained aircraft that can fail in flight, a boss who sends his department into the thick of hell to curry favor with his superiors, and so on.

In the most simplified sense, freedom is the opportunity and ability to do whatever you see fit. So, in war, the knot of orders and subordination completely deprives even some semblance of one’s own opinion, and only the animal survival instinct remains, which often dictates its own conditions.

Roman Amendment-22Photo:

So our Yossarian is trying with all his might to survive, ready to go against the system, but to achieve his goal by returning home.

Before us is a drama about the struggle of man for his primordial right to choose and enjoy the fruits of freedom. One single person is trying to resist a huge machine, which, without sparing bloody lubricant, grinds human souls and bodies.

And it is not surprising that capital uses all the opportunities available to it in order to realize its goal as quickly as possible and break out of the vicious circle.

This concludes our analysis. If you have any questions or suggestions, be sure to write in the comments. And we have prepared other reviews for you. Here they are:

How did the novel “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie end or how the genius of the detective succumbed to collective responsibility

The meaning of “Diamond Chariot” by Boris Akunin or how to convey the philosophy of Kogojo to the Russian

The meaning of the book “The Spark of Life” by Remarque or how nationality becomes not a boon, but a punishment in a society of crazy people

Analysis of the meaning of the novel “The Burden of Human Passions” by Maugham or the biography of an ordinary person

Now that’s all for sure. So have a peaceful sky over your head and see you soon on the pages of new articles!

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