Essay on Historical Significance Of The Novel ' The Vietnam War '

1838 Words Sep 29th, 2015 8 Pages
The novel gained its historical significance because of the time period in which it became popular. During the Vietnam War, the novel inspired and eventually became a symbol of the anti-war movement in the United States. Although mostly made up, the novel showed the horror of World War II to draftees, and forced them and the country to seriously reconsider the traditional way of American society and war. As critic Norman Podhoretz states in his reflection on the critical views of the novel, “In Webb 's judgment, Heller thereby performed a salutary exorcism on the ‘national mindset that was nothing short: of adamant in its insistence on the fatalistic bravado with which our soldiers had faced death’” (Podhoretz). The radical nature of the novel itself inspired an admiration and feeling of joy about Catch-22 among the critics of the time. Podhoretz, although criticizing those critical views, notes that he himself had views similar to that in the 1960’s. Catch-22 is still significant today in its message of anti-authoritarianism and the overall, masterful quality of the work itself.
The novel is a microcosm of American society using general insanity of the bureaucracy present in Catch-22. The dilemma of the Catch-22 itself exemplifies that insanity within the army. Heller’s original description of the paradox was,
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one 's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the…

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