The Best Parody of War Ever Written Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
This book is funny. This book is the greatest parody of war ever written. This book is a work of genius. I am amazed every time I read this book at how apropos the title is and how Heller manages to weave his main point, the absurdity of war, throughout every story in this book. There is the classic scene in which the phrase Catch-22 is coined. You can only leave the war if you are crazy, but if you have the mental capacity to want to leave the war then you must be sane. An impossible situation for Yossarian, but what character does not live his life in accordance with absurdity? Major Major tells his secretary that no one is allowed in to his office to see him while he is in his office. Chief White Halfcoat can not settle down anywhere because men searching for oil will uproot him to dig for crude wherever he sets down. The man in Yossarian's tent can not be removed because he never signed in, but he can never sign in because he died before he was able to. Milo strafes the men of his own division for money because the money he is making is for the men. And all this time Snowden lays dying in the back.
Throughout all this absurdity this haunting little story line continues to appear about Snowden lying in the sunlight at the back of the plane shivering to death. This is the most crucial moment in the book, for it is when Snowden spills his guts (literally) to Yossarian that the war becomes all too real. People are dying, real people, people that Yossarian knows, and he is powerless to stop it or explain it. It is during Snowden's death that Yossarian subscribes to this code of absurdity as all the other characters have in order to somehow cope with the concept of war. There is a brilliant scene in which some new recruits come in to camp. They are young and innocent. They set up their stuff in Yossarian's tent. They light Orr's wood, which was never to be used, and warm themselves over it. They take the nameless man's belongings and simply chuck them outside, ignoring the logic trap which has kept this dead man alive for so long. They are oblivious to the way things have been working in the world of this book because the war is still only a concept to them. There is no need for them to buy into absurdity fully, for they have yet to come across something they cannot cope with. Their Snowden is still alive, and their world still makes sense. Catch-22 is not merely a funny book with quirky characters. It is a testament to the only sort of mindset in which a war can make sense, the mindset of absurdity.