Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


Joseph Heller's novel, Catch-22 (1961) provides a unique perspective on war. Instead of celebrating the heroism of the soldier and glorifying the combatants, Heller’s novel paints an absurd portrait of war with selfish commanding officers, administrative confusion, and a protagonist who is only concerned with his own survival. Reading the novel through a Literary Darwinist perspective explains this portrait of war as an adaptive function created over the process of intense competition during human evolution. Surrounded by war, Yossarian - the novel's protagonist- is constantly trying to avoid combat. In the process, he is trying to escape a war and, paradoxically, the Catch-22 of his own evolution.