There are a lot of jokes in the book so far – some are so quick they’re easy to miss. My favourite is the Dunbar joke pg9 ‘Dunbar was working so hard on extending his lifespan that Yossarian though he was dead.’ – ‘The Texan wanted everybody in the ward to be happy but Yossarian and Dunbar. He was really very sick.’ The dead man who according to Sergeant Towser, ‘doesn’t exist’ on page 25. Yossarian will be thwarted at every turn, I’m guessing.
Can I make the following suggestions before you start reading Catch-22… familiarize yourself with Allen Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’ which we can add into the discussion. This will set you up for what Howard Jacobson describes as the ‘formlessness’ of Heller – which is a bit of a 60s thing. Walt Whitman wrote ‘the sound of belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind.’ Think of this when you’re reading as it may help you get to grips with the style bit. Have a listen to Ginsberg’s poem at the link below.