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Critique • Quotes

Cstch-22 first editionFirst edition
By Joseph Heller
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication

Literature form

Literary, satire

Writing language

Author's country
United States

Approx. 174,500 words

Notable lines

It was love at first sight.
The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.

— First lines

Men went mad and were rewarded with medals.


He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive.

Yossarian owed his good health to exercise, fresh air, teamwork and good sportsmanship; it was to get away from them all that he had first discovered the hospital. When the physical-education officer at Lowery Field ordered everyone to fall out for calisthenics one afternoon, Yossarian, the private, reported instead at the dispensary with what he said was a pain in his right side.


"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on...."


The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.


"How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?"


Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three.


"You put so much stock in winning wars," the grubby iniquitous old man scoffed. "The real trick lies in losing wars, in knowing which wars can be lost. Italy has been losing wars for centuries, and just see how splendidly we've done nonetheless. France wins wars and is in a continual state of crisis. Germany loses and prospers. Look at our own recent history. Italy won a war in Ethiopia and promptly stumbled into serious trouble. Victory gave us such insane delusions of grandeur that we helped start a world war we hadn’t a chance of winning. But now that we are losing again, everything has taken a turn for the better, and we will certainly come out on top again if we succeed in being defeated."


"You've probably been dead all this time and we just didn't detect it."




The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.


Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


Yossarian jumped. Nately's whore was hiding just outside the door. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes